- - - 5/17/2005 - - -

Matsumoto Castle

Filed under: — Andy @ 8:28 am

Last week on Saturday I talked to a student who told me all about a famous black castle in a city called Matsumoto. Matsumoto is also in Nagano prefecture, which I have never been to, and having Monday off work with nothing to do I decided to get up really early and take the express train out to Matsumoto. Matsumoto castle is one of the four most famous castles in Japan and is also called crow castle because it is black. When I arrived I picked up a map of the area and headed off to the castle. The castle is extremely beautiful and I was even able to walk around the inside and climb the stairs to the top. I was also lucky enough to get a free English tour of the castle provided by some nice volunteer group. From the top of the castle I got an excellent view of the Japan Alps. The day’s weather was gorgeous and clear so the view of the Alps was quite amazing, especially for this time of year. Afterwards I had soba for lunch at a nearby shop. One of Nagano prefecture’s famous foods is soba, so I made sure to eat it as well as an ‘oyaki’ which is the mostly eaten thing in the background of the soba picture. I spent the next few hours exploring the city and seeing all the sights there were. Afterwards, I hiked up a hill about an hour to get to “Alps Park”. The park was great. It had so many fun things to play with and do. I rented a cool Razor scooter and rolled along on my way to explore the park. The first thing I did was check out the zoo. Since it was getting late and it was a Monday, I had the zoo all to myself. The animals are quite different when you are the only one looking at them. The park also had a ‘mallet golf course’, and an alpine slide, but my absolute favorite thing was the rock climbing wall and the obstacle course. Take a look at this video of the course (4.5MB). I took some pictures as the sun set behind the Japan Alps and left the park. As it was getting late, some nice couple offered to give me a ride back to the station to which I gladly agreed. I talked with them during the car ride completely in Japanese and they were amazed with my speaking level, however I still feel that I have a lot of learning to do. I thanked them as they dropped me off at the station. I then asked a nearby policeman where another famous soba shop was. He gave me a suggestion and pointed me in the correct direction. The dinner soba was equally as delicious as the lunch soba. Afterwards, I took the last train back home tired after my hectic one day trip all the way out to Matsumoto.

Matsumoto castle or Crow castle

The Japan Alps

Having fun at the park

A couple taking their ferrets for a stroll

Make sure to see the photo gallery: Matsumoto Photo Gallery