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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.

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.

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.

Getting there and around

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, 170 yen) or by tram line 2 or 3 from Matsuyama-shi Station (5 minutes, 170 yen).

How to get to and around Matsuyama

Hours and 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

520 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

520 yen (round trip), 270 yen (one way)

Hotels around Matsuyama

Top rated in Matsuyama
Budget:
    • Cinnamon Guesthouse Dogo
      Budget-friendly
      Open from 2015, Cinnamon Guesthouse Dogo offers female only and mixed dormitory rooms with free WiFi. Dogo Onsen Station is a 4-minute walk away. Each bunk bed in the dormitory rooms come with a curtain to secure your privacy. Bathroom facilities and toilets are shared with other guests. Guests can cook their own meals in the shared kitchen with free-use kitchenware and seasonings. There is also a bar on the ground floor. There is no laundry facility on site, however, guests can take a 10-minute stroll to a nearby public coin launderette. The nearest super market is a 5-minute walk away, while the nearest convenience store is just a 2-minute walk from Cinnamon Guesthouse Dogo. The property is a 40-minute bus ride from Matsuyama Airport and Matsuyama Tourist Port. Matsuyama Castle is a 15-minute train ride away.
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    • 3LDK Denchi
      Budget-friendly
      3LDK Denchi is situated in Matsuyama, 2.7 km from Matsuyama castle and 3.5 km from Miyukiji Temple. The property is set 1.7 km from Matsuyama Civic Center, 1.8 km from The Museum of Art, Ehime and 1.9 km from Ishitegawa Park. The guest house has family rooms. All guest rooms come with air conditioning, a microwave, a fridge, a kettle, a shower, a hairdryer and a desk. Featuring a private bathroom with a bath and free toiletries, rooms at the guest house also have free WiFi. Popular points of interest near 3LDK Denchi include Botchan Train Museum, Yasaka Temple and Okaido Shopping Street. The nearest airport is Matsuyama Airport, 6 km from the accommodation.
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    • Funaya
      Luxury
      Boasting a 390-year history, Funaya offers hot-spring baths, a beautiful Japanese garden and a sauna. Just 200 metres from Dogo-Onsen Train Station, it provides traditional rooms with futon bedding and tatami (woven-straw) floors. Each air-conditioned Japanese-room at Funaya Ryokan comes with a flat-screen satellite TV, fridge and tea maker. The en suite bathroom has a bathtub and slippers. Isaniwa Shrine and Dogo Park are a 5-minute walk away, and Dogo Giyaman Glass Museum is a 10-minute walk. Matsuyama Castle is about 3 km away. The hotel is a 30-minute tram ride from JR Matsuyama Train Station and a 40-minute bus ride from Matsuyama Airport. On-site parking is free. Guests can relax and unwind with a massage, or enjoy with footbath within the hotelfs peaceful garden. Free wired internet access is provided in the lobby. Japanese cuisine is served at Aoigoke Restaurant, and tea and coffee can be enjoyed at Garden Terrace Komorebi.
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    • Dormy Inn Matsuyama Natural Hot Spring
      Mid-range
      Dormy Inn Matsuyama Natural Hot Spring is set in Matsuyama, within 1.5 km of Ishitegawa Park and 1.9 km of Matsuyama Civic Center. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Local points of interest like Matsuyama castle and The Museum of Art, Ehime are reachable within 2.1 km and 2.1 km, respectively. Guests at the japanese-style business hotel can enjoy a buffet breakfast. The wellness area at Dormy Inn Matsuyama is comprised of a hot spring bath and a sauna. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Yasaka Temple, Okaido Shopping Street and Botchan Train Museum. The nearest airport is Matsuyama Airport, 7 km from Dormy Inn Matsuyama Natural Hot Spring.
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    • DogoYaya
      Luxury
      DogoYaya features air-conditioned rooms with satellite flat-screen TV in the Dogo Hot Spring district of Matsuyama. Boasting a 24-hour front desk, this property also provides guests with a restaurant. Free WiFi is available and private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. All rooms in the hotel are fitted with a kettle. A buffet breakfast is available each morning at DogoYaya. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Joshin-ji Temple, Matsuyama Shrine and Miyukiji Temple. The nearest airport is Matsuyama Airport, 8 km from DogoYaya.
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    • Yamatoya Honten
      Luxury
      Set in Matsuyama, 600 metres from Joshin-ji Temple, Yamatoya Honten offers accommodation with a restaurant, private parking and a bar. The property is around less than 1 km from Matsuyama Shrine, 1.8 km from Miyukiji Temple and 2.4 km from Matsuyama castle. The ryokan has a hot spring bath, a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi. All guest rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, a hairdryer and a wardrobe. All units feature a private bathroom with a bath and free toiletries. An Asian breakfast is available every morning at the ryokan. Okaido Shopping Street is 2.8 km from Yamatoya Honten, while Yasaka Temple is 2.8 km from the property. The nearest airport is Matsuyama Airport, 8 km from the accommodation.
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    • Daiwa Roynet Hotel Matsuyama
      Luxury
      Daiwa Roynet Hotel Matsuyama offers accommodation in Matsuyama near Matsuyama castle and Botchan Train Museum. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. All guest rooms at the japanese-style business hotel feature air conditioning and a desk. A buffet breakfast is available every morning at Daiwa Roynet Hotel Matsuyama. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Okaido Shopping Street, Yasaka Temple and Ishitegawa Park. The nearest airport is Matsuyama Airport, 8.5 km from Daiwa Roynet Hotel Matsuyama.
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    • Hotel Tsubakikan Honkan
      Mid-range
      Offering Onsen baths (hot-spring bath) and a beauty salon, Hotel Tsubakikan Honkan is a 9-minute walk from the Dogo Onsen station. Guests can enjoy traditional Japanese meals at the dining room. Free Wi-Fi is available at the lobby area. Rooms include a flat-screen TV, a refrigerator, and an electric pot with complimentary green tea. The hotel features a karaoke room, a shop, and a vending machine. The Onsen bath is an outdoor open-air bath, which is available from 05:30 to 09:30 and from 15:00 to 0:00. Guests with a meal plan can enjoy a Japanese and Western style buffet breakfast and dinner on site. Tsubakikan Honkan Hotel is a 10-minute drive from the famous Matsuyama castle, and a 14-minute drive from Bansuiso villa. The Dogo park is a 12 minute walk, and the Ishite Temple is a 25-minute walk away.
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    • Candeo Hotels Matsuyama Okaido
      Mid-range
      Candeo Hotels Matsuyama Okaido is situated in Matsuyama, 2 km from The Museum of Art, Ehime and 2.3 km from Miyukiji Temple. The property is around 1.5 km from Ishitegawa Park, 1.6 km from Matsuyama castle and 1.8 km from Matsuyama Civic Center. Free WiFi and a 24-hour front desk are available. The rooms at the hotel have air conditioning and a desk. Popular points of interest near Candeo Hotels Matsuyama Okaido include Okaido Shopping Street, Botchan Train Museum and Yasaka Temple. The nearest airport is Matsuyama Airport, 7 km from the accommodation.
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    • Dougoya
      Mid-range
      Situated in the popular Dogo Hot Spring area, Onsen Ryokan Dougoya provides traditional Japanese-style accommodation with natural a hot spring bath and a lovely garden. Free WiFi is available in guest rooms. The ryokan is just a 5-minute walk from famous Dogo Hot Spring Bathhouse. It is a 8-minute walk from Dogo Onsen tram stop, which is an 18-minute ride away from JR Matsuyama Station. Iconic Matsuyama Castle is a 15-minute tram and a 5-minute lift ride away. Each room at Dogoya is fitted with tatami (woven-straw) flooring and futon bedding. Private rooms feature a low table and seating cushions. Bathroom and toilet are shared with other guests. Two 24-hour shower rooms are available on site. Free toiletries and free towel rental are available in the hot spring bath and shower. Private use of public hot spring bath is available during limited hours. Guests can relax in the common room with a flat-screen TV. Free luggage storage and a free safety deposit box to store valuables is available. There are drink vending machines on site. The property offers a free simple Japanese breakfast buffet between 08:00-09:30 in the dining area.
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