Matsumoto castle English guide


A guide in the third floor of the main tower!!
 This is the fourth floor of the main tower. As I explained before, there are six floors in this tower even though it looks like only five from the outside, and this is the hidden floor. It does in fact have one window, which you can see ( the right side of the picture) over there, but you would never notice it from the outside. It looks like a part of gable, and inside is dark, therefore you don't see the existence of the room. Nobody really knows how this floor was used, of course why this was made. Some people say that it might have been used for storing weapons, and some say it was used to keep samurai on standby in case they were needed to support the daimyo , or ambush the enemy. There was a special room for the daimyo upstairs,so...
 Well, let's move on.

the third floor, hidden floor

A guide in the fourth floor of the main tower!!

 Here we are in the fourth floor. As soon as you enter the floor, you probably noticed something different in this room. The ceiling is very high , and the room is very bright, pretty wide and free feeling, isn't it? Look at the area surrounding by the bamboo screen over there. That particular place is called gozasho. The final place for daimyo in case of emergency happened. If the enemy overran the castle, he was expected to acknowledge his defeat,and kill himself by harakiri or disembowelment. ( show his own guts, real guts!, right? ) I told you before that this castle have never been attacked ever since the towers were built. So, it didn't happen here.

 See the stairs in front of us. It is one of the steepest ones of this tower. Each step is very wide and the beam up there is low, so watch your steps and watch your head, too. I myself sometimes hit my head

the fourth floor, gozasho

the steepest stairs of the tower

A guide in the fifth floor of the main tower!!

 This is the fifth floor of the main tower. As you can see, there are windows in every direction. Apparently this room was used as a conference room for discussing tactics in case of emergency happens. But again this castle have never been attacked since it was made, so this room was not used as such, I guess.
 Okay, if you come and look out the window here, you'll see shachi on top of the minor tower. Can you guess which is male and which is female? Do you remember how I told you before that I could tell you once we saw them in the right place? Well, directions are keys to knowing. In Japan, basically houses are built facing east and west, south and north. The sun rises from the east and keeps the position of southern part of the sky. We consider the east and south are warm and bright place, and which are ready for male. I know that it sounds sot so "politically correct", it's a Chinese idea, and no offense to female sex.
 Well, if you have a look at the pillar over here, you see these marks. They were made by a rope, and there is a story to them.
 Late in the 17th century, about 90 years after it was built, the main tower began to lean a little, like a Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. It continued to lean as time went on and by the 20th century it needed to be repaired. At the time, they tried to pull it back with ropes. They tied the rope around this pillar, and then pulled it through this window from the outside. These marks are traces of the rope.
 There is an interesting story why the tower started leaning, which most of people in Matsumoto know. In 1686, farmers were suffered by a famine. Against that the lord of the castle tried to increase taxes on the peasants in the area. They got angry and started to riot. This uprising is known as the " Kasuke Uprising" because the leader of the peasants was a man named Kasuke. A lot of peasants surrounded the castle and demanded that the lord reduce taxes back to the original rate. The lord pretended to accept the demand of the peasants to calm down the riot. The following day, of course, Kasuke and his family, and sub leaders of the peasants were captured and sentenced to death. On the day of the execution, the place is in the middle of that mountain we can see through this window, Kasuke glared at the castle with resentment and all of a sudden the castle began leaning.
 It's an interesting story, isn't it? Well let's go up to the final floor. There is a shrine somewhere in the final room, so please find it

the fifth floor, site of the rope

from the north window, small tower and shachis

A guide in the sixth floor of the main tower!!

 This is the sixth floor of the main tower. Have you found the shrine? Up there, right, the name of the shrine is the 26th night goddess and it's a guardian goddess of the castle. You probably want to say " why the 26th night?" right? There is a story how this shrine began. It happened January the 26th of lunar calendar in 1618, the time was about the moon rising. One of the retainers of the Today clan, at that time the Today family was ruling this area, was on duty in the castle. When he came to the forth floor of the tower, a noble lady dressed in white Kimono and red Havana suddenly appeared in front of him. Handing him a white cotton bag, and she said, " If the lord enshrines the -Night-Goddess with about 500kg ( she was using the old measuring systems of old Japan.) of cooked rice, the castle would be well-off and prosperous" Then she walked up towards the top of the main tower and disappeared. The following morning, he told the whole story to his lord. He took it very seriously and decided to deify that cotton bag and enshrined it on the beam of the ceiling of the final floor, up there!! Since then, the 26th-Night-Goddess has been worshipped on very every 26th night. Come close to this window( facing east ). You can see the lines draw on the grasses by old clay roof tiles.That tells us the site of the big big house for the lord and his family.As I told before, it burn down in 1727. It is so close the the castle towers, but the towers were OK. They say the Goddess protected the tower from the fire, or Shachis really blew the water!!
 Let's take a break here.Take your time and enjoy the view of every directions.
 Please let me know when you are ready.
 OK, Let's go down.Climbing down is more difficult than going up, so watch your steps.



the sixth floor, 26th night goddess

from the east window, the site of honmaru palace

A guide of the Tatsumitukeyagura!!

 Well we came back to the second floor, Let's move on to the second floor of one of the two wings, Tatsumitukeyagura. This wing and the next wings were added to the main tower 35 years after the first construction of the first three. I am not sure why they were added, but they certainly are giving well balanced view to us all.
 Things like gun powder pouches, telescope, helmets, sticks, life jackets, bullets and so on are displayed here.
 OK, let's move on to the last part, Tukimiyagura, moon viewing wing.

gunpowder pouch

A guide of the Tukimiyagura!!
(moon viewing wing)

 Here we are at the Tukimiyagura, moon viewing wing. By the time this wing was added, civil wars were all over. It was built just for entertainment. As the name shows, they had a party here enjoying moon- viewing, drinking sake. In Japan moon-viewing is a kind of traditional pastime. In particular, the full moon in fall has been appreciated a lot by the Japanese people. They say they can enjoy three moons at once, it's grammatical error isn't it?. You see, the real moon in the sky, reflection in the moat, and in sake glass. And when you drink enough sake, you would see a lot of moons!! Then you slip and hit your head, and see stars!! And finally the samurais get drank and enjoy viewing their own mooning. This is the punch line of the castle tour. Could you enjoy the tour?
 More guide of first enclosure will be on other page.

moon viewing wing