Matsuyama Castle in Matsuyama City Center Area
Matsuyama Castle is one of the twelve surviving castles in Japan that have an original donjon (castle keep) built in the Edo period (1603-1868). It is located on a hill in the center of Matsuyama City, the capital of Ehime Prefecture, and offers a panoramic view of the city and the Seto Inland Sea. The castle was built in 1603 by Katō Yoshiaki, a daimyō (feudal lord) of the Iyo-Matsuyama Domain, and was later renovated by Matsudaira Sadanobu, a prominent statesman of the late Edo period. The castle has been designated as a National Treasure of Japan.
The construction of Matsuyama Castle began in 1602 and was completed in 1627, after the death of Katō Yoshiaki. The castle was originally built to defend the Iyo-Matsuyama Domain from invaders and to serve as a residence for the daimyō. During the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the castle was surrendered to the new government, and the donjon was dismantled. In 1871, the castle was designated as a prefectural office, and some of the buildings were used as government offices and schools. In 1923, the donjon was reconstructed using traditional methods, and in 1950, the castle was designated as a National Treasure of Japan.
The donjon of Matsuyama Castle is five stories high and has a basement level. It is made of wood and has a black lacquer finish, which is characteristic of the castle architecture in the Edo period. The donjon is surrounded by stone walls, moats, and gates, which were designed to protect the castle from attacks. Inside the castle, there are exhibits of armor, weapons, and paintings from the Edo period, as well as a panoramic view of the city and the sea from the top floor.
The castle complex also includes several other buildings, such as the Ninomaru Palace, the Sannomaru Square, and the Okushoin. The Ninomaru Palace was built in 1642 and served as a residence for the daimyō and his family. The palace has a tatami room, a tea room, and a garden, which are open to the public. The Sannomaru Square is a large courtyard that was used for military training and ceremonies. The Okushoin is a library that was built in 1700 and contains a collection of historical documents and books.
Matsuyama Castle is located in the center of Matsuyama City, about 20 minutes by tram from Matsuyama Station. The address is 1 Marunouchi, Matsuyama, Ehime 790-0008, Japan. The castle is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (last admission at 4:30 pm), except for December 28 to 31. The admission fee is 510 yen for adults and 150 yen for children. There are also guided tours and special events available throughout the year.