community-forum community-penpal community-userReports destinations-admission destinations-beenThere-solid destinations-bookmark-solid destinations-city_outline destinations-city_solid destinations-closedDays destinations-date destinations-getThere destinations-hotels destinations-hoursFees destinations-itineraries-3 destinations-nearbySpots destinations-pin-simple-outline destinations-pin-simple destinations-sortBy-dots destinations-tours destinations-town interests-agriculture interests-amusementParks interests-beaches interests-castles interests-city_solid interests-contemporaryArt interests-events interests-festivals interests-flowers interests-foodDrink interests-gardens interests-hiking interests-historicSites interests-industry interests-koyo-single interests-koyo interests-mangaAnime interests-museums interests-nature interests-onsen interests-parks interests-pottery interests-sakura-single interests-sakura interests-scenicRides interests-shopping interests-shrines interests-skiing interests-snow interests-sumo interests-temples interests-traditionalArts interests-traditionalTheater interests-viewpoints interests-volcanoes interests-wildlife interests-winterIlluminations news-section planning-tickets-2 planning-transportation-access planning-transportation-bicycle planning-transportation-boat planning-transportation-bus planning-transportation-car planning-transportation-plane planning-transportation-shinkansen planning-transportation-tickets planning-transportation-train planning-transportation-walk shapes-chevron-down shapes-circle shapes-star social-fb social-gplus social-instagram social-twitter social-youtube ui-alert-construction ui-alert-warning ui-calendar ui-confirmed-outline ui-confirmed-solid ui-date ui-globe ui-lightbulb ui-no_entry ui-ok ui-pencil ui-reverse ui-search ui-time ui-video-play ui-x user-avatar

Matsuyama Castle (R, Matsuyamajō) is one of Japan's twelve "original castles", i.e. castles which have survived the post-feudal era since 1868 intact. It is also one of the most complex and interesting castles in the country. It is located on Mount Katsuyama, a steep hill in the city center that provides visitors with a bird's eye view of Matsuyama and the Seto Inland Sea. There are about 200 cherry trees on the castle grounds, making this a lovely cherry blossom spot typically around late March to early April each year.

Matsuyama Castle was constructed between 1602 and 1628. In 1635, the castle got assigned to a branch of the Matsudaira family, relatives of the nation ruling Tokugawa, and it remained in their hands until the end of the feudal era. The current three storied castle tower was constructed in 1820 after the original five storied one had been destroyed by lightning.

View from the main keep

Matsuyama Castle provides an excellent example of a feudal castle. The main circle of defense (Honmaru) is located on the top of the hill, accessible through multiple, well defended gates. The main keep is one of only a few in the country that boast multiple wings. The complex also includes a secondary keep and multiple turrets, giving Matsuyama Castle a grand appearance and making it interesting to explore. Inside the castle, some exhibits offer information on Matsuyama's history and the feudal period.

In spite of the castle's steep hilltop location, a ropeway and a chairlift make it easily accessible. Riding the single-chair chairlift is a pleasant and popular way to ascend Mount Katsuyama. Alternatively, it is possible to climb up the hill in about 15 minutes from the base of the ropeway station or from the Ninomaru Garden.

Castle ropeway and chairlift

The Ninomaru Garden lies at the southern base of Mount Katsuyama and comprises the former site of the second circle of defense (Ninomaru). More comfortably accessible from the city than the main circle of defense (Honmaru) at the top of the mountain, the Ninomaru served as the site of the castle palace where the lord's residence and offices were located.

None of the palace buildings survive today. Instead, the Ninomaru has been converted into a park that preserves the floor plan and layout of the former castle palace with elevated foundations, green spaces and ponds.

Ninomaru Garden

Access

Matsuyama Castle stands on a steep hill in the center of Matsuyama and can be accessed by ropeway or chairlift. The closest tram stop to the ropeway and chairlift station is "Okaido" in front of the covered arcade, from where it is a five minute walk to the lower ropeway station.

Okaido can be reached by tram line 5 from JR Matsuyama Station (10 minutes, 160 yen) or by tram line 2 or 3 from Matsuyama-shi Station (5 minutes, 160 yen).

How to get to and around Matsuyama

Hours & Fees

Matsuyama Castle Keep

Hours

9:00 to 17:00 (until 16:30 in December and January; until 17:30 in August); admission ends 30 minutes before closing time.

Closed

Third Wednesday of December

Admission

510 yen

Ninomaru Park

Hours

9:00 to 17:00 (until 16:30 in December and January; until 17:30 in August)

Closed

Third Wednesday of December

Admission

200 yen

Ropeway & Chairlift

Hours

Ropeway: 8:30 to 17:30 (until 17:00 in Dec and Jan; until 18:00 in Aug)
Chairlift: 8:30 to 17:00 (around the year)

Closed

No closing days

Admission

510 yen (round trip), 270 yen (one way)
Page last updated: July 25, 2016