Matsumoto Castle, Nagano
Located in Nagano Prefecture, Matsumoto Castle (松本城) is one of Japan's premier historic castles, along with Himeji Castle and Kumamoto castle, and is also a National Treasure of Japan. It is commonly referred to as the "Crow Castle (Karasu-jo, 烏城)" due to its black exterior (it looked more navy blue to me, though). The view of the castle surrounded by water is absolutely beautiful. We were really lucky to get sunny, blue skies that day, which made it a perfect day to visit.
From JR Matsumoto Station: 15 min walk 5 minute bus ride on the "Town Sneaker" Northern Course bus loop line
We walked there so we could look around the city and take in all of the other sights to see. Right around the station, there are a bunch of restaurants and shops to stop at. We had really awesome ramen at the station (entrance on the outside, near the bus stops). Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but it was one of the best ramen I've ever had.
Regular Hours: 8:30 - 17:30
Special Hours: 8:30 - 18:00 during Obon and Golden Week Admission closes 30 minutes before closing time.
Closed: December 29 - 31
Admission Fee: ¥610 (this is the fee to enter the castle, you may walk along the castle at no charge.)
Official Website (English): http://www.matsumoto-castle.jp/lang/
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