Archives for the day Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Yassy’s Japan Trip Diary November 2012; Day 3 Part 3

 The 3rd day in Japan, as you have already read, everyone
in our family woke up early so we can get going for the family trip to Nagano prefecture,which my father has all
planned out for everyone to enjoy.

 Nagano prefecture is in the main island
“Honshu”,and it is famous for shinshu soba noodle, Matsumoto castle,
Zenkou ji (temple), and also it was the prefecture 1998 winter Olympic
was hold.

 You can find the Japan map at website here. Look for number 18. That is Nagano prefecture,where we took a family trip to.

 Look number 23.That is Aichi prefecture,where I grew up and where my parents live.By car, it was about 4 hours drive one way.

Now we are heading to have lunch..

We will be heading toward Matsumoto castle..

 After the Apple picking, we had lunch at the service area on the highways,and we have headed toward Matsumoto Castle.

Matsumoto Castle..

 The Matsumoto castle is famous castle in Nagano,and it was very beautiful to look at and we came out very tired because of lots of walking and very tall,steep stair steps all the way up to the top level of the castle and,I had sore muscle around my thighs

It was very beautiful sunny day,but it was chilly and windy..

 I am sure that in the era when the castle was actively used by samurai,shogun etc.., the tall steps that leads to the top must have been the good way to protect themselves from their enemies.

 I think no matter how athletic you are, you would not be able to running up to the top in short time.

Swan was swimming in the moat..

 In Japan,there are 12 remaining castles since Sengoku period and 4 of them are Japan’s national treasure.

Did he catch anything??

 The Matsumoto castle is one of the 4 National treasure castles, and it has been 400 years since the castle was built.

 According to the book “Matsumoto Castle in history” published by city of Matsumoto, the castle was built in 16th century,about 600 meters (1968 ft) above the sea level with the background of the 3,000 meter (9,842ft) high Japan Alps.

 I did not know this,but this castle was formaly named as “Fukashi castle” when the castle was built in 16th century,and then,the castle was renamed by Ogasawara Sadayoshi later.

 The lord of the Matsumoto castle was Ishikawa Kazumasa, and he was appointed to rebuild the castle by “shogun” – Toyotomi Hideyoshi,who is famously known as unifier of Japan,and he immediately started preparing for the rebuilding the castle.

 However, the lord “Ishikawa Kazumasa” died before the work even started,and the work was left to his oldest son ” Yasunaga”,and he has completed the main Donjon “Tenshu”,North Donjonet (Inui-no Ko-tenshu),and the corridor (watari yagura).

 What makes interesting about the castle is that, if you look at the picture above and count the level, it would look like the castle is 5 levels but actually, it is 6 levels in the castle.

 Me,my husband, and my sister’s family all climbed up to the top level despite the fact that there were very tall stairs to the top level.

 The tall step is said to be built to 61 degree angle, and you cannot simply walk your way up as you normally would with regular stair steps.

61 degree stair steps..

 If you did bring small kids, the stair step would probably goes up around chest level, and you would probably need to carry your kids up and down.

 What makes unique about this Matsumoto castles are this narrow,tall 61 degree wooden stair steps,and low ceiling.

 For the narrow,tall 61 degree wooden stair steps,there is a rail you can hold onto but,to view the castle inside, you have to take off your shoes,and you have to carry those all time, plus some level of the stairs was used both up and down at the same time so, it was a little frightening to pass each other especially when I had to go down the tall wooden steps.

 The tall steep wooden stair steps made me feel like I would slip on the stairs.

 The number of the narrow,tall 61 degree stair steps is 140 stair steps to the top level.

 Inside the castle, you get to see display of armors,weapons and old letters etc from the Sengoku era.


 In the moat, you get to see koi (carps) and swans swimming happily,and I would imagine that the loard and his family must have enjoyed the nature surrounded them very much from Japan Alps view,swans,Koi, etc..

 The castle area is very beautiful area.

 On the way out, we saw a couple had a Japanese style wedding in the garden area in the castle wearing Kimono. I thought it is cool to have special day like that at the special spot feeling the beautiful nature surrounded them.

 It looks like the castle hold various events as well such as Takigi Noh,Taiko Drum festival,cherry blossoms festivals, moon viewing, Matsumoto Castle festival,and Matsumoto castle ice sculpture festival.
 For entering fee at Matsumoto Castle, it is 600 yen (about $6) for adult,elementary school kids and junior high school students are 300 yen (about $3). Kids under elementary school is free of charge.

 It was windy afternoon,and it was tad chilly there but I enjoyed all the scenery and nature at the castle and, we have headed toward the hotel we were to stay.

 There, my father has planned to make reservation as soon as we arrive at the hotel for the private “Onsen” (hot springs) so my husband can enjoy what it is like to enjoy the Onsen (hot springs).

 Nagano prefecture is famous for Onsen (Hot springs) as well.

 Next time at the series “Yassy’s Japan Trip Diary Nov 2012”, you will learn more about Onsen (Hot springs) and more.

 Stay tuned!

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Mar 05, 2013 | 0 | Uncategorized