|Structure||3 levels, 3 stories|
|Admin's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Historical Site||National Historic Site|
|Historical Value||Top 100 Castles, Important Cultural Properties|
Important Cultural Properties:
Tonashimon Gate, Shikirimon Gate Walls, Sujiganemon Gate East wall, Ichinomon East Wall, Ninomon East Wall, Sannomon East Wall, Shichikumon East Wall, Shichikumon West Wall, tenshu, Ichinomon South Yagura, Ninomon South Yagura, Sannomon South Yagura, Ichinomon, Ninomon, Sannomon Gate, Shikirimon Gate, Shichikumon, Inui Yagura, Nohara Yagura, Kakushimon, Kakushimon Tsuzukiyagura
|Location||Matsuyama, Ehime prefecture|
|Access||Matsuyama Station (15 minutes by city bus)|
|Website||Matsuyama City Website|
|Visited||October 18, 2001; February 26, 2016|
|Visitor Info.||The main keep compound is 510 yen, the ropeway is 270 one way, and the Ninomaru Historical Park is 200 yen. Operating hours are 9am-5pm except August (~5:30pm) and December - January (~4:30pm). | Time Required: 3 hrs|
This is one of the best castles in Japan to visit, second only to Himeji and in some ways it far exceeds Himeji. There are very few places with such a complete design where you understand so much of the layout and what it may have been like in it's prime. Some people who visit will skip the Ninomaru Historical Park but this is one of the most important parts to understanding this castle. The gates, the long yagura, some interior walls and the layout of the palace really help you to imagine what it was like and the role it played in the castle. Additionally, there are some great stone walls and nice views of the main keep.
The Climbing Stone Wall (nobori ishigaki) from the Ninomaru to the Honmaru is another must see location at the castle. The technique was developed in the Korean Campaigns and there are very few in Japan much less in such fantastic condition.
The original castle was built here in 1603 by Kato Yoshiakira. It had a large 5 story main keep that was actually moved to Aizu when Kato was transferred there in 1627. Tadachika Gamoh became the new lord of Matsuyama castle and completed construction of the Ninomaru before he died in 1635, leaving no heirs.
In 1635, Matsudaira Sadayuki moved into Matsuyama Castle and the Matsudaira family ruled over the area until the end of feudalism. Sadayuki rebuilt the main keep with three stories in 1642. This main keep was struck by lightning and burned down on New Year's day in 1784. The construction of the current main keep was not begun until 1820 and not completed until 1854. From 1926 on, many of the yagura, gates and other structures were destroyed by arson and bombings in WWII.
As a relative of the Tokugawa shogun, Matsudaira Sadaaki naturally fought for the Tokugawa in several battles at the Meiji Restoration. Once the emperor regained political power, Sadaaki was a wanted man and considered an enemy of the emperor. In order to avoid attack, he decided to submit and allow Tosa soldiers into the castle while he sought penance and refuge in Joshinji temple in Matsuyama. His sincerity was accepted and thus Sadaaki and Matsuyama Castle were saved from attack.
The Matsudaira family eventually gave the castle to the city of Matsuyama in 1923. The city has been working since 1966 to repair the original structures and rebuild those that were destroyed.