Travel To Ehime Prefecture And See Real Japanese Castles!

Sep 11 2020
Sep 11 2020
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Matsuyama Castle, a Japanese castle in Ehime Prefecture, is one of the most famous castles amongst all of the 200 castles that remain in Japan. Ever since Matsuyama Castle was built in 1603, both the outward and interior appearances have barely changed, so you can feel the atmosphere of the era at its best and most accurate. Also, there are many superb views and a lot of beautiful nature surrounding the castle, perfect for taking photos.

Only 12 Castles Currently Exist In Japan!

Matsuyama Castle

Matsuyama Castle

A castle is a defensive base built for warfare, which often includes a high-rise building set to look out long distances named tenshu (castle tower). Japanese castles were started to be built long ago, but it was not until 1579 that full-scale tenshu began to be constructed. This was when Oda Nobunaga took control of the land, and by his command, the castle Azuchijo was made. Up until then, castles were made of mud, but Azuchijo was the first to introduce stones as building materials.

Forts that are simply surrounded by fences may also be regarded as castles due to their defensive purpose. If these buildings were also added to the number of castles in Japan, over 25 thousand castles once existed in Japan. However, most of the castles were destroyed because of fire caused by bombing, war disasters, and natural disasters. Currently, only 200 castles remain that can be opened for tour to the general public. Out of the 200 remaining, castles with tenshu that remain in their original state are limited to just the following 12 castles:

・Hirosaki Castle (Aomori Prefecture)
・Maruoka Castle (Fukui Prefecture)
・Matsumoto Castle (Nagano Prefecture)
・Inuyama Castle (Aichi Prefecture)
・Hikone Castle (Shiga Prefecture)
・Himeji Castle (Hyogo Prefecture)
・Bichumatsuyama Castle (Okayama Prefecture)
・Matsuyama Castle (Ehime Prefecture)
・Uwajima Castle (Ehime Prefecture)
・Kochi Castle (Kochi Prefecture)
・Marugame Castle (Kagawa Prefecture)
・MatsueCastle (Shimane Prefecture)

Most Japanese castles that can be toured are greatly repaired, but they still leave the same style of construction, so just viewing the castles would let you enjoy the atmosphere of the era. Even better, the 12 castles with the tenshu still remaining are kept in the same condition as of those days, not just the outward appearance but also the inside. If you are going to tour one of these 12 spots, make sure to have a deep look at it, inside and out, to fully satisfy your history-loving minds.

Introduction Of Matsuyama Castle Characteristics And Experiences

Matsuyama Castle

Matsuyama Castle

Matsuyama Castle is a castle in Ehime Prefecture, and one of the 12 castles that still has an existing tenshu. Built in 1603, this castle was ruled by the lord Kato Yoshiaki, who served for Daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Including the tenshu, Matsuyamajo consists of 21 important cultural properties, which create an enormous maze. Both the outward and interior appearances have barely changed from when they were first built. You can feel the atmosphere of the era at its best and most realistic.

Matsuyama Castle

The view from the tenshu

Matsuyama Castle's honmaru (center of castle) is located on the summit of Mt. Katsuyama, its highest peak reaching an altitude of 433 ft. There are 4 routes to go around by foot, each taking around 1-2hours. Every route has different scenery and many superb views. Depending on the season, you can enjoy beautiful nature, perfect for taking photos. For example, April to May is great for cherry blossoms and azalea, around February is ume, and during November they have autumn leaves. Night views are beautiful as well. Honmaru square where the tenshu is built is open until 9PM.

The destination tenshu can be observed from indoors. Going up the castle tower, you can enjoy the great panorama from up high as if you were the lord of the castle. If weather conditions are fine, you may be able to spot Mt. Ishizuchi (6,500ft), the highest mountain in west Japan, and the islands floating upon the inland sea of Japan.

Ride The Botchan Ressha (Botchan Train) And Enjoy Your Journey

Botchan train

Botchan train

To get to Matsuyma Castle, you can take the Botchan Ressha (Botchan Train). Botchan Ressha is a replica of a steam engine railway that was active during the 67 years of the Meiji Era. On your visit to Matsuyama Castle, how about riding Botchan Ressha to enjoy the retro-Japan feeling as you head for the castle? Even traveling to the castle can be an exciting event.

Botchan Ressha stops at each station including Dogo-onsen, Okaido, Matsuyamashi, JR Matsuyamaekimae, and Komachi. Dogo-onsen is known as Japan’s oldest hot spring. After visiting Matsuyamajo, why don't you relax in the hot spring baths before going back to your hotel?

Information

Access:
【Regular Route】Take a flight from Haneda Airport to Matsuyama Airport lasting 1.5 hr. Then take the limousine bus to Okaido Station. (30 min). From there, Matsuyamajo is 5 min by foot.

【Botchan Ressha Route】Take a flight from Haneda Airport to Matsuyama Airport lasting 1.5 hr. Then take the limousine bus to Matsuyamashieki Station. (25 min). Take the Botchan Ressha to Okaido Station (10 min, one train per hour.)

Spot
Matsuyamajo Castle Ehime
Spot
Botchan Ressha Train Ehime

Reference List

https://www.keibun.co.jp/saveimg/kakehashi/0000000193/pdf_sub_3429_20160426101821.pdf

https://japan-web-magazine.com/japanese/castle/index.html#i-14

http://www.matsuyamajo.jp/matsuyamajo/

http://www.iyotetsu.co.jp/botchan/

https://dogo.jp/

http://www.matsuyamajo.jp/matsuyamajo/guide.html

http://www.iyotetsu.co.jp/rosen/

http://www.iyotetsu.co.jp/ticket/toku/matsuyamajo.html

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