Welcome to around the world with your lovable and witty host, me, Dave. This is the place where I tell you all about the places around the world I hope to one day visit.
Our stop this week takes us to Japan and the country’s oldest wooden castle.
It is of course Matsumoto Castle.
Matsumoto Castle is also known as the ‘Crow Castle’ due to its black walls and because the roof looks like spreading wings. That’s how you make an intimidating castle.
It also gets points for sounding like something out of ‘A Game of Thrones’, like one of the castles along the wall occupied by the Night’s Watch. I wonder if Jon Snow is there.
And yes you did read that right, it’s a wooden castle, the oldest one in Japan. Now I’m no warfare expert, despite my many hours playing Civilization and Total War games and what I like to think, but if you ask me a wooden castle doesn’t sound like the smartest idea. Surely all you need is a couple of flaming arrows and the people inside that castle are in for a really bad day?
However considering the original fort at the site dates back to 1504 and that the castle was used up until the abolition of the feudal system in Japan in 1868 I’m willing to bet I’m wrong.
Matsumoto Castle is a flatland castle, which means it was built on flatland unlike lots of other castles which were built on hilltops or amid rivers etc for protective purposes. It’s all about location, location, location, you don’t want your castles in a place where they can easily be got at or surrounded.
Sadly a lot of the outer castle is gone as part of the Meiji Restoration where the land was reclaimed and the castle was taken down but Japan has gone to great efforts to restore and protect as much as the castle as possible even reconstructing parts of it.
The second floor of the main even has a gun museum, Teppo Gura, with various guns, armour, and other weapons. Not only do you get to see a brilliant castle there’s also a gun museum to double your fun.
I love castles, I love castle architecture, and I love museums basically Matsumoto Castle is a big win all round for me.
Missed a previous stop? Check them out below.