Matsumoto Castle English guide
page 2

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

Click the pictures below to see the larger ones.

 Well, now we are in the first floor of the main tower. It's pretty wide, isn't it? If you look at the passage surrounding, you see it is lower than the level of the floor, and wider compare to other ones in the tower. We haven't seen them all yet, though. This floor particularly got the name of or"Samurai running passage". Matsumoto castle have never been attacked since these towers were built. Samurais were running around here in heavy armors with heavy weapons only practice for a battle, I guess.

 This is a log used to fit the shachis, over there in the glass box, on the top of the roof.

 Shachi was a mythical creature of China. They have faces like tigers and bodies like fish. They are believed to live in the ocean, and when they were attacked by some enemy, they drank ocean water and blew the water to the enemy to escape. Guess what is the most dangerous enemy to the wooden structures like castle towers in Japan? Of course a fire, right ! People made them and put them on the roof of the high building wishing they would probably put the fire off blowing water. The shachis in the boxes are old ones replaced at the major renovation in Showa. They always come in couple, male and female. I can't tell which is which when they are display like these. I will explain about it later where we can see them in good position. Shachi on the roof is also called shachihoko and standing on one's head is expressed like sha-chyoko-dachi, dachi means standing, so you can easily understand.

 If you take a look at the glass box next to shachi, This is a sample of the wall of the castle towers. At the major renovation all the walls were rebuilt and this only piece was kept. So, this wall is genuine original parts of 400 years old. As you can see, the walls are made of mud, straw, bamboo, and plaster.

 Inside of the next glass box, there is a piece of aged wood I mentioned before, the tip of one of the original reinforcing pillars from inside the castle base. This is also truly one of the original 400 years old stuffs.

 If you take a look at this triangled board, it is a core board of a gable. Come close to it and see, you'll see a
lot of small holes on it, they are site of mails. To make it, they would first hammer a whole lot of nails into the board. Hemp cord would then be wrapped around the nails, and plaster was put over the nails and cord. By the way, direct translation of the word hahu from Japanese to English is "to break wind" which means something else in English, doesn't it?!
 Well let's go on to the second floor of the main tower. Stairs are getting steeper and steeper, so watch your steps.

First floor of the main tower
passage is called Mushabasiri

core logs in the shachis

Shachi in the box

A piece of sample wall

core board of hahu

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

Click the pictures blow to see the larger ones

 Here we are at the second floor of the main tower. This floor is a kind of museum, a gun museum. Most of the things displayed in the floor were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Akahane, Mr. Akahane was a former resident of Matsumoto City, and he is a member of the Gunnery Historic Academy in Japan. They had been collecting these old weapons and things related to them for over 30 years. And then, finally they decided to donate them to the City of Matsumoto. The City thought of the best place to exhibit them. Finally they chose the Matsumoto Castle tower as the best place to do.
 The first two guns were introduced to Japan by Portuguese in 1543. A big wrecked Chinese junk boat drifted to one of the southern islands off Kyushu island, the name of island is Tanegashima, now the Japanese space ship base is there. Any way, on that ship there were two Portuguese, and they were merchants. They had a lot of things to sell, and among them they had muskets. They demonstrated shooting musket in front of the daimyo of the island. He was so much surprised to see the power of the muskets. He immediately bought two of them paying a lot of gold. The daimyo asked his men to research the muskets and gun powder. It was successful. After several years, I don't know that the same Portuguese came back again or not, but they saw millions of muskets all over Japan. This story reminds me of Japanese technology of copying and mass-producing.
  Although guns were spreading all over Japan quickly, the technique of making them were top secret.Gun smiths had to promise not to tell anyone that skill signing with their own blood. This is an oath, you see the color of their blood has changed, but the prints are there.
  Started with the two guns but they were developed differently from region to region. As the result of that, many kinds of muskets were produced. They were named after the name of the districts. For example the Sakai musket were gorgeous, because the city of Sakai was a merchant city and had a lot of money. The Kunitomo muskets looked simple but accurate, since Kunitomo region was a Ningya's place. You see, Ningyas are the secret service for daimyos and they produced the muskets as such.
  Let's move on.
  Come close to look at the armor. This particular kinds were worn by the chiefs of musketeers. Don't you think the outlook of the armor reminds you some movies? Yes, it's Darth Vader in Star wars. You see, the sash on the body is called obi in Japanese. You know, in the movie there is a man named Obione something. Maybe the director of the movie took the idea of the armor and the sound of obi, didn't he? By the way how much does the armor weigh? It is made from metal, and lacquer, and brocaded silk or cotton, and weighs about 66 pounds. It's pretty heavy isn't it? No wonder the samurai in the picture beside looks tired.
  If you look at this picture, you see only women. Making bullets was the duty of the samurai women.
  If you have a look at this picture. This is a picture of Battle in Nagasino. It shows a particulaarly important battle in the history of guns in Japan. It occured in 1575, about 30 years after the first introduction of the musket to Japan. See the right side of the picture. They are Takeda force, which had a very strong cavalies but didn't have muskets. The Takeda believed that the time of reloading of muskets were enough to complete the battle by his strong cavalies. See the left side of the picture. They are allied forces of Oda and Tokugawa. Oda was one of the greatest warlord of the time, and Tokugawa would finally unify the whole Japan. Any way, they had created the new tactics of three kind. High fences to stop the horses, long spears to attack the warriers on the horsebacks.And finally they devided hole muskateers into several units nad each units into three groups. They were trained to shoot like machine guns, first group shoot, then the second group shoot, and by the time the third group finish shooting the first group is ready to shoot again. So the result of the battle was obvious. The Takeda was beaten up completely. After this battle both tactics and castle construction subsequently underwent radical change. Towers of Matsumoto castle were built 20 years after the battle, so the width of the moats nad thickness of the walls are reflected on the castle construction.
  After Tokugawa unified whole Japan, muskets were developed more like an art than a weapon. See this one, this is said to be the most expencive musket in this floor. Don't ask me how much.
  Well let's move on. Before we go on to the next floor, I have a question. How many floors does the main tower have? It looks like 5 stories building from the outlook. One more floor is hiding in side, the third floor which we call hidden floor, we are coming up. The stairs become both way, so please watch out the people coming down, of course your steps, too.


various kinds of muskets named after the regions

a roll of oath finger printed by their own blood

an armor looks like Darth Vader

how the ammunition was manufactured

picture of Nagasino battle

the most gorgeous musket in the floor