3.Matsumae Castle Part2

So much more to see than just cherry blossoms and The Main Tower


How to enter Castle ruins park

Today, the ruins of Matsumae Castle have been developed as Matsumae Park which is also known for cherry blossoms that consist of about 250 kinds and over 10 thousand trees in total. If you visit them even in August, you can enjoy hydrangea blooming there, which usually blooms in June in the mainland of Japan. Of course, you can also enjoy the castle ruins all year round.

The map around the castle

hydrangea blooming on the stone walls

Drivers can enter them from the Matsumae Town area beside the sea in the south by going through the front entrance, and then passing the Third Enclosure, to the parking lot of the Second Enclosure.

The Matsumae Town area
The front entrance
The earthen and stone walls of the Third Enclosure
The parking lot at the Second Enclosure

People on foot can enter them from the eastern side through the back entrance to the center.

The Umasaka Route goes from the eastern side of the castle ruins
The restored area around the Outer Back Gate
The center of the castle ruins

Ruins of Facilities for coastal defense

This eastern side of the ruins were well developed by Matsumae Town. For example, other entrances of the castle, the Tenjinzaka Gate and the Outer Back Gate were rebuilt. The stone walls of the Second Enclosure and its mud walls on them were partially restored. Part of the Outer Moat in front of them was dug again.

The restored Tenjinzaka Gate
The restored stone walls with mud walls of the Second Enclosure and the Outer Moat

In the Third Enclosure below, you can see some remaining pedestals of the batteries, such as the No.5 Buttery’s with stone walls. If you stand at the ruins of the Drum Turret at the southeastern corner of the Second Enclosure, you will see how good the view of the sea is as well as a good location for spotting ships in the past.

The pedestal of the No.5 Buttery
A view of the sea from the buttery pedestal
A view of the Second Enclosure from the buttery pedestal
The ruins of the Drum Turret
A view from the Drum Turret Ruins

Restored Main Tower and Remaining Main Enclosure Gate

In the Main Enclosure, there is the restored three-level Main Tower. It is actually a modern concrete building, but its external appearance is almost the same as the original one. Only its stone wall base is intact. If you look at them carefully, you can find some dents on it. They are the traces of being shot by guns in the wars during the Meiji Restoration. Its roof is covered with cooper plates to bear the cold climate of Hokkaido, same as the original one.

The restored Main Tower
There are traces of the wars on the stone wall base

You can enter the tower to learn more about the castle and the domain inside. The top floor is also used as the observation platform. However, you may feel like the building is too old.

An exhibition inside the Main Tower building
A view from the top floor

Many people might only focus on the Main Tower, but there are other interesting things to see in the enclosure. The Main Enclosure Gate beside the tower is the only remaining intact building of the castle, which has been designated as an Important Cultural Property since 1950. The gate was built using wooden materials while its stone walls supporting it look unusually precise as if they were built during the present time.

The remaining Main Enclosure Gate
The gate building is certainly made of wood
The stone walls were built very precisely

Remaining part of Main Enclosure Main Hall

The entrance hall of the Main Hall is preserved in front of the gate. It had once been used as the entrance of a school in the back of the gate, its original position. It was moved to the current position in 1982. This entrance hall is said to be part of Fukuyama-kan, the hall which had existed before the castle was built. The original position is a square with a lawn.

The entrance hall of the Main Hall
It has a good decoration
The square which had the Main Hall in the past

To be continued in “Matsumae Castle Part3”
Back to “Matsumae Castle Part1”

投稿者: Yuzo

城巡りが好きなYuzoです。日本には数万の城があったといわれています。その内の200名城を手始めにどんどん紹介していきます。 I'm Yuzo, I love visiting castles and ruins. It is said that there were tens of thousands castles in Japan. I will introduce you top 200 castles and ruins of them, and more!

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