Japan (October 2016): Matsumoto

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Matsumoto is a very pleasant medium-size city surrounded by mountains of the Japanese Alps. It is home of a magnificent 16th-century castle, Matsumoto-jo, nicknamed ″Crow Castle″ for its distinctive black walls.

 

View of Matsumoto toward the west, from the top of Matsumoto-jo. Several peaks of the Japanese Alps are visible in the background.

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Matsumoto-jo seen from its surrounding park.

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Reenactment of the first battle of Matsudaira Naomasa (then aged only 14), displayed in the castle‛s park. Matsudaira Naomasa was the 7th lord of Matsumoto Clan.

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Matsumoto castle seen from the other side of the moat.

 

- In the morning.

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- In the early afternoon.

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- In the late afternoon.

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Swans and ducks in the moat of the castle.

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Inside the castle: beam carpentry (left), dark room (center), and samurai armor (right). Beams and pillars are typically made of hemlock, cypress, and pine; a few of them are over 400 years old. From the outside the castle seems like it has 5 floors, but inside it has 6. The 3rd floor, without windows, forms the dark room, which used to be the safest place during wartime.

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Matsumoto shrine (located one street north of the castle).

 

- South entrance.

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- West entrance.

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- Main building.

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- Well in the shrine‛s courtyard.

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Yohashira Shrine (located on the Nawate street).

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Metoba river and old-style houses bordering Nawate street.

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Seal stamps on sale along Nawate street.

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Many wells scattered around Matsumoto provide fresh spring water. Local people often get their drinking water from such wells, like in the photo below at Genchi well.

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Daimyokoji well.

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