Matsuyama Castle is a famous castle located in Ehime Prefecture. It is one of only 12 castles in Japan with a keep built before the dramatic end of the Edo period. Matsuyama Castle is located smack bang in the heart of downtown Matsuyama, and there is no shortage of great sightseeing spots within easy walking distance of the castle!
First of all, when you walk up the pleasant shopping street that begins at the okaido entrance (look for the Starbucks on the corner). , you will find a ropeway stop, and after a 2-minute ride, you will be there in no time, making sightseeing safe for everyone from the kids to Grandma and Granpa!
Matsuyama Castle sits a colossal 132 meters above sea level and is like a beacon perched above downtown Matsuyama. It was built by no other than Yoshiaki Kato, one of the legendary Seven Spears, who gained fame and honor during the Battle of Mount Dokigatake.
The castle is said to be a flat mountain castle with many gates and walls, and a series of towering stonewalls with narrow walls and stone drops, which were skillfully arranged to provide excellent offensive and defensive capabilities!
In 2006 Matsuyama Castel 2006, it was chosen as one of the 100 best castles in Japan, and in 2007, added to the 100 most beautiful historical places in Japan list.
If it’s the Japan Mag team making the list we would put Matsuyama Jo Castel easily in the top 5, and when you consider the whole package with amazing views, great walls, and the stylish keep itself, an argument could be made that it’s the best castle in Japan to visit.
The Japanese do love their “Top” lists and we promise this will be the last one: Along with Dogo Hot Springs, Shiroyama Park which is the site of Matsuyama Castle has also made the all-important list of the 100 best cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan.
There is a ticket for Matsuyama Castle keep, which will set you back 520 yen for adults and 160 yen for kids.
How To Get To Matsuyama Castle
There are three ways to get to the main castle tower on the 132-meter-high summit of Matsuyama Castle, including on foot: a ropeway or lift to the 8th station, and then on foot from there.
The ropeway is 520 yen (260 yen for kids) for the return ticket. But if you have the legs we recommend backing yourself and climbing up on foot. Which will take about 15 minutes. Reward yourself with a mikan flavored ice cream at the top, and then get the chairlift back down while enjoying the views.
A one-way ticket is 270 for adults and 140 yen for children.
The ropeway runs from 8:30 to 17:30 from February to July, from 8:30 to 18:00 in August, from 8:30 to 17:00 from September to November, and from 8:30 to 17:00 from December to January.
As for the lifts, they are open all year round from 8:30 am to 5 pm! Be sure to check the hours!
Also, there are many important cultural properties in Matsuyama Castle, including the castle keep, the Ichinomon Shibatakemon gate, the Nohara turret, the hidden gate, the hidden gate continuation Iwakura, the Tonashimon gate, and many other historically valuable items! The scenic view from the main castle tower is great, and the ropeway and chairlift also offer great views of the city.
It’s not only for history buffs but also for those who don’t get to experience it very often, so please do go!
Overview Of Matsuyama Castle
Matsuyama Castle is a flat mountain castle located in Katsuyama, in the heart of Matsuyama City. It is the biggest castle in all of Shikoku and took a staggering 25 years to complete which is the longest construction time of any Japanese castle.
Mammoth tax-payer-funded blowouts aside the castle was worth the wait. The main citadel sits like a jewel on the summit of the mountain, and the second and third citadels sit at the southwestern foot of the mountain.
All up, there were still 40 buildings still standing in the main citadel area in 1933. However, by 1949, 19 of those structures were lost to fire, and now only 21 remain.
The main keep of “Matsuyama Castle rises up 30 meters above the summit and from the top level, visitors can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of Matsuyama city, the surrounding Plain, the ocean, and distant mountains.
On a clear day, you can also see Mt. Ishizuchi, islands in the Seto Sea, and even as far as Cape Sata.
History Of Matsuyama Castle
Yoshiaki Kato, the founder of Matsuyama Castle, is famous for his role in the Battle of Dokigatake in 1583, in which he was one of the Seven Spears.
In 1600, he was on the side of Tokugawa Ieyasu in the “Battle of Sekigahara,” and in recognition of his achievements and early loyalty, he was granted 200,000 koku of land in Iyo Matsuyama, and in 1602, he built a castle in Katsuyama.
In October 1603, Yoshiaki decided it was time for a change of scenery and moved his residence under the new castle and publicly announced the name “Matsuyama” for the first time.
After what must have seemed like an eternity, the construction was finished in 1627, a quarter of a century later. However, Poor old Yoshiaki was then told to pack up his bags and move to the Aizu domain (Fukushima Prefecture) by the powers of the day and he was unable to see “Matsuyama Castle” completed.
Next to move in and put their name above the front door was, young Gamo Tadatomo, a grandson of Gamo Ujisato of Dewa Province (Now Yamagata Prefecture). Once he became the lord and was given the keys to Matsuyama castle young Gamo, decided it was time for a reno and expanded the compound’s second castle. But before he could kick back and enjoy his new crib Tadatomo was sent to meet his maker after suffering an illness and passing away in Kyoto in August 1634. He had no heir.
In 1635, Sadayuki Matsudaira, the lord of Kuwana Castle in Ise, became the new overseer of Matsuyama Domain. Unlike Tadamoto before him, Sadayuki had no problems at all producing kids and 14 generations succeeded him all the way up to the Meiji Restoration. 1923, Matsuyama Castle was given to Matsuyama City and its people by the Matsudaira clan.