Matsumoto Castle, National Treasure of Japan
About Matsumoto Castle

History of Matsumoto Castle

Before the fortification of the Matsumoto Castle

  • Mountain castles around the Matsumoto Castle

    Before the Matsumoto Castle Keep was built, there had been mountain castles on the mountains surrounding the Matsumoto basin.Major mountain castles are listed below.

    1. Hayashi ojyo (large castle) and kojyo (small castle) Then governor of Shinano (present day Nagano Prefecture) the Ogasawara clan built these castles in Yamabe district, Matsumoto city, and moved his base from the Igawa Castle which was built on the flat land.The Ojyo castle and the Kojyo castle were placed in a horseshoe shape. The Ojyo castle is larger in size. The main section of the Kojyo castle has masonry walls.In 1550, Ogasawara Nagatoki abandoned these castles and withdrew from Shinshu when he was defeated by Takeda Shingen.
    2. Kirihara Castle and Yamabe (Nakairi) Castle These castles are located in Yamabe district in Matsumoto City, deep in the mountain farther from the town than the Hayashi Castles is from the town.The Kirihara Castle was the residence of the Kirihara clan, which dominated the path leading Chiisagata District via Takeishi mountain path. The Yamabe Castle was the residence of the Yamabe clan and 2.5m-high masonry walls still remain.
    3. Haibara Castle The Haibara Castle is located in Nakayama district, Matsumoto City. Although, it is a large mountain castle, the founder is unknown.
    4. Shinakura Castle The Shinakura Castle is located in Okada district, Matsumoto City and was the residence of the Gocho Clan.
    5. Kokuzozan Castle The Kokuzozan Castle is located in Aida district, Matsumoto City, and was the residence of the Aida Clan.There are a lot of masonry remains in Kokuzozan mountains. This castle was once a point of contact between the Uesugi Clan dominated the north, and the Ogasawara Clan who moved to Fukashi during the end of the Warring States Period.
    6. Hirase Castle The Hirase Castle is located in Shimauchi district, Matsumoto City, and was the residence of the Hirase Clan.The Ogasawara clan stayed in this castle after being attacked by the Takeda Clan, to restore his power in an attempt to fight back.
    7. Joyama The Joyama Castle is located in Joyama, Matsumoto City, and was the residence of the Inukai Clan.In this district, fort had been existed since the Northern and Southern Courts period.This place is called the Joyama by Matsumoto citizens, popular for viewing cherry blossoms.
    8. Igawa Castle The Igawa Castle is located in Igawajo district, Matsumoto City. It had been the residence of the Ogasawara Clan from the time when they first moved to Shinano region until they moved to the Hayashi Castle. The Igawa Castle is not a mountain castle.
    9. Shimizu Castle The Shimizu Castle is located in Shimadachi district, Matsumoto City. It has been said that this castle belonged to the Shimadachi clan, a member of the Ogasawara Clan.This castle was built on the flat land. Now, very little remains are left.
  • Fukashi Castle

    The Fukashi Castle was located near the present day Matsumoto Castle. It has been said that the Fukashi castle is the predecessor of the existing castle.Many of the history of the Fukashi Castle is unknown. It is also unknown as to how the Fukashi Castle was taken over by the Matsumoto Castle.

    During the Muromachi Period, it was the Sakanishi Clan who ruled the Fukashi village.It has been believed that there was a Sakanishi Clan's mansion in this area, and people lived around the mansion.Then, the Shimadachi Clan built a castle in the area. He built the Fukashi Castle in 1504.It has been told that the ruins of the Wakamiya Hachiman which is located northwest of the Ninomaru is the burial place of the ruler of the Fukashi Castle, Shimadachi Ukon Joei.

    Takeda Shingen overthrew Ogasawara Nagatoki out of the Hayashi Castle. After that, he chose the Fukashi Castle which is located on the flat land, as the next target to be captured as a base for him to invade the northern Shinano region.A commander of the castle was placed in the Fukashi Castle, and the castle underwent renovation.However, little is known about the castle.As the excavation work in the old castle town progress, more information may be obtained.

    The reign of the Takeda Clan with the Fukashi Castle as their base, lasted 32 years.However, after the Takeda Clan was defeated by Oda Nobunaga in 1582, the ruler of the Fukashi Castle was changed to Kiso Yoshimasa from Kiso, followed by Ogasawara Dousetsu who came to Matsumoto backed by Uesugi Keisho.A son of Ogasawara Nagatoki, Sadayoshi returned Shinano, and recaptured the Fukashi Castle with the support of former vassals. At this time, the Fukashi Castle was renamed the Matsumoto Castle.

    Is compiled to Mr. Mizuno era, according to the "Shinfuytoki" which explains about the history and topography within the Matsumoto domain, compiled during the Mizuno clan era, Sadayoshi built gatehouses in 5 locations, xxxx, established a section called San No Kuruwa, built a bank by digging moat.

    Sadayoshi was engaged in maintaining peace within the domain and building the fence and the castle town. Then, he was transferred to Furukawa accompanying his son, Hidemasa, following Ieyasu Tokugawa who moved to Kanto region. Sadayoshi stayed in Matsumoto for 8 years. After Sadayoshi left, Ishikawa Kazumasa came to rule the Matsumoto domain on the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Fortification of the Matsumoto Castle

  • Ishikawa's Nyufu

    Originally, Kazumasa Ishikawa was a Ieyasu Tokunaga's retainer. Kazumasa served Ieyasu when Ieyasu was taken as a hostage as a child. When Ieyasu grew up, Kazumasa served as a commander of the Okazaki Castle, at the same time being the head of Hatamoto in Nishi-Mikawa.However, Kazumasa left for Osaka accompanying his clan members, became a retainer of Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1585.He was given a fief in Isumi Province (100,000 koku) In 1590, Hideyoshi sent Ishikawa Kazumasa to Matsumoto to replace the Ogasawara Clan who left for Furukawa.

  • Building a keep

    Ishikawa Kazumasa, together with his son Yasunaga picked up the construction of the castle fence and the expansion of the castle town where Ogasawara Sadayoshi left off. The "Shinfutouki" describes how it was done.

    Kazumasa built a relaxation area in the Ninokuruwa section and summoned labor force to built the Castle. Yasunaga took over the compulsory summoning of labor force that his father started and built a keep, enlarged the outermost moat, increased the height of the bank on which stone fence was built, built the Watariyagura (Roofed passage), built towers on the Kuromon (Black Gate) and Taikomon (Drum Gate),renewed the fence, turned the gatehouse in the San No Kuruwa section to the Gate-Tower architecture. He completed most of the fence around the outermost moat, and repaired roofs within the Castle. He also built samurai houses in and out of the castle premises.

    In 1592 which is two years after Kazuma moved to Matsumoto, he died , Kazumasa Bunroku first year after two years from Matsumoto Nyufu, number positive died in accommodation in troops in the role of Bunroku, die you Instead Yasunaga.As described in the "Shinfu Touki", the construction of the Keep in the Matsumoto Castle gained momentum after Yasuie took over.

Matsumoto in the Edo period

  • A list of former castle rulers

    There were 23 rulers from different 6 clans who were based in the Matsumoto Castle.Of these, the Toda clan ruled the castle twice.The Ishikawa clan was confiscated its samurai status as well as extinction of successor. The Mizuno clan was also confiscated its samurai status.After the Mixzuno clan was confiscated its samurai status, until the Toda Clan was awarded to fill the position of the Mizuno clan, there was a time when the shogunate control the Matsumoto domain directly. During which, the Sanada clan from the Matsushiro domain was assigned to rule the Masumoto domain.

    Clan of castle rulersName of castle rulersPeriod
    Ishikawa clanKazumasa1590-1592
    Ogasawara clanHidemasa1613-1615
    Tada clanYasunaga1617-1632
    Matsudaira clanNaomasa1633-1638
    Hotta clanMasamori1638-1642
    Mizuno clanTadakiyo1642-1647
    Toda clanMitsuchika1726-1732
    Clan of castle rulersPostKokudakaex postNext post
    Ishikawa clanHokinokami(Kazumasa)
    80,000 kokuIzuminokuniKaiekijoko
    Ogasawara clanShinanokami(Hidemasa)
    80,000 kokuShinanoiidaHarimaakashi 100,000 koku
    Tada clanTanbanokami(Yasunaga)
    70,000 kokuKozuketakasakiHarimaakashi 70,000 koku
    Matsudaira clanDewanokami(Naomasa)70,000 kokuEchizenonoIzumomatsue 186,000 koku
    Hotta clanKaganokami(Masamori)100,000 kokuMusashikawagoeShimoosasakura 110,000 koku
    Mizuno clanHayatonosho(Tadakiyo,etc)
    70,000 kokuMikawayoshidaKaiekijoko
    Tada clanTanbanokami60,000 kokuShimatobaHaihanchiken

    Service period for each ruler was shorter in the early history of the castle. From the Mizuno clan era and beyond, service period became longer.The longest served ruler was the Toda clan who returned.Fudai daimyos (insider daimyos) ruled the domain. Matsudaira Naomasa was a Kamonn daimyo.A fief was from 60,000 koku to 80,000 koku. The Horita clan was awarded a fief a total of 100,000 koku combined with 30,000 koku in Edo and its surroundings. Looking at the relationships with the Tokugawa shogun, clans which had deep ties with the Tokugawa Shogunate were appointed to govern the Matsumoto domain. A former retainer of the Ishikawa clan, who challenged the Tokunaga shogun, Hidemasa Ogasawara married Princess Fuku, an Ieyasu's grand-daughter. Yasunaga Toda married Princess Matsu, a step sister of Ieyasu (they shared the same mother). Hotta Masamori was a favorite vassal of the 3rd Tokunaga shogun, Iemitsu. The Mizuno clan had a deep tie with Ieyasu's birth mother's family.

  • Main events

    Main events associated with the Matsumoto Castle and the Matsumoto domain are listed below chronologically.

     EventsClan of castle rulers
    1504Shimadachi Ukon Jōei announced that he would build Fukashi Castle. 
    1550Takeda Shingen invaded Fukashi. Ogasawara Nagamochi fled from Fukashi. The Takeda clan renovated the Fukashi Castle.
    1582Oda Nobunaga troops defeated the Takeda Katsuyori. The Takeda clan was destroyed.
    Yoshimasa Kiso governed the Matsumoto domain and stayed in the Fukashi Castle. After that, Ogasawara Dousetsu governed the Matsumoto domain supported by the Uesugi clan. Ogasawara Sadayoshi overthrew Dousetsu, renamed Fukashi to Matsumoto. He also developed the castle fence and castle town.
    1590Ogasawara Sadayoshi and Hidemasa were transferred to Furukawa. Toyotomi Hideyoshi appointed Ishikawa Kazumasa to govern the Matsumoto domain.Ishikawa clan
    1593Construction of the Matsumoto Castle Keep progressed.
    1600The Ishikawa clan allied with the Tokugawa in the Sekigahara battle.
    1613The Ishikawa clan was confiscated its samurai status in the collective punishment associated with the Okubo Yasunaga incident.
    Ogasawara Hidemasa was awarded Matsumoto Domain and moved from Iida, Shinano.
    Ogasawara clan
    1614The Ogasawara clan allied with the Tokugawa and joined the Winter Siege of Osaka, while the 2nd son of Ishikawa Kazumasa allied with the Toyotomi.
    1615Ogasawara Hidemasa and his son-Tadanaga died in the Summer Siege of Osaka.Toda clan
    1617Yasunaga Toda was given the control of Matsumoto and moved from Takasaki. He expanded the samurai residential area to the north of the castle.Matsudaira clan
    1633Matsudaira Naomasa took control of Matsumoto and stayed in the Matsumoto castle. Thereafter, he added the Tatsumi Fuyagura, Moon-Watching Tower inside the Keep and developed the areas inside and outside of the Castle.Mizuno clan
    1649Mizuno Tadamoto inspected the lands within the domain, which became the basis of a present day cadaster.
    1686A large scale peasants uprising occurred within the domain, led by Kasuke from Nakagaya village, Asumi country.(called Jyokyo uprising or Kahei uprising)
    1725The Mizuno clan was confiscated its samurai status after Mizuno Tadatsune caused a bloodshed incident in the Edo Castle.The Matsumoto Castle was confiscated by the Shogunate, and the Sanada clan of Matsushiro domain was given control of the Matsumoto domain. During the Mizuno clan's era, an overview of the castle town was completed.Toda clan
    1726The Toda clan took control of Matsumoto domain again.
    1727The Honmaru palace was burned down in a fire by accident. Thereafter, the Toda clan never rebuilt the Honmaru palace, but built a new palace by expanding the Kosanchi Palace.
    1743Shogun's land worth 50,000 goku was temporary given.
    1760A large litigation occurred in Shinano concerning transportation service by horses.
    1775Southern part of the castle town, part of Sannomaru and Ninomaru were burned down in a Matsumoto-cho fire (Wataya fire).
    1793Matsumoto domain built and opened the Soukyo-kan school.
    1803Eastern part of the castle town, samurai houses, temples and other buildings were burned down in a Matsumoto-cho fire (Ameya fire)
    1816A canal, Jikkasegi was built in Azumino.
    1825A social reform uprising of peasants erupted at Kitaazumi and expanded through the castle town. Those involved in the uprising were later punished including the demolition of their houses.(Akamino uprising).
    1832The Saigawa canal was completed between Matsumoto and Shinshu Shinmachi for transport businesses.
    1854Machiya area suffered damages due to an earthquake.
    1862The 2nd Tōzen-ji incident occurred in which samurai Ito Gunbei killed a British national.
    1863The Matsumoto domain was ordered to guard Uraga by the shogunate.
    1864The Matsumoto domain was ordered to send its troops to Choshu. When Mito warriors were passing the Wada mountain path, the Matsumoto domain, together with the Takashima domain attempted to ambush them, but defeated.
    1865Machiya, the southern part of the castle town was burned down in a Matsumoto-cho fire (Yamashiroya fire)
    Again, the Matsumoto domain was ordered to send its troops to Choshu. Its troops went to Hiroshima.
    1866A peasant uprising occurred from Kiso through Matsumoto. (Kiso uproar)
    1868The Matsumoto domain allied with the new government troops and joined the Battle of Hokuetsu.
    1869Lord Toda Mitsunori returned the land and people to the Emperor, and became the governor of Matsumoto domain.
    1870Anti-Buddhist movement occurred.
    1871The domain system was abolished and Matsumoto Prefecture was established.
    Destruction of castle gates began. The keep was requisitioned by the Ministry of the Military.
    Chikuma Prefecture was established, and the Ninomaru palace was used as prefectural government building.

Meiji Restoration

  • Hanseki Hokan (return of the land and people to the Emperor) and Abolishment of domain system

    When New Government was born in Kyoto and troops wanting to conquer the Edo shogunate started advancing toward Nakasendo, Matsumoto domain's decision was swayed as to whether it should ally with the Edo shogunate or New Government forces. But eventually it decided to ally with New Government forces.During this time, a variety of reform was conducted ranging from military system organization to domain administration organization.

    The last ruler of the Matsumoto Castle, Toda Mitsunori was the first domains in Shinano who announced its intention to perform Hanseki Hokan in 1869.This was approved and the head the domain became governor of Matsumoto domain. In 1870 Haibutsu kishaku was proposed from the Matsumoto clan governor, which was one of the domains in the nation which carried it out in most intense manner.The domain governor, in an attempt to demonstrate the commitment, closed down the family cemetery of the Toda clan, the Zenkyuin and the Zenzanji temple, and ordered its vessals to follow Shintoism, rather than Buddhism for funerals. Due to the Haibutsu kishaku order, temples in the castle town and within the domain were temporarily died out.

    In September 1870, people were allowed to enter the castle freely. Previously people were not allowed to enter without a permit.

    In July 1871, the Matsumoto domain became Matsumoto prefecture following the new Meiji policy of the clan system abolishment. In August same year, the ruler of the Matsumoto Castle/Matsumoto domain governor, the Toda clan left for Tokyo.Yamagata Kyosuke (also known as Yamagata Aritomo) was dispatched to Matsumoto to replace the Toda clan. Yamagata requisitioned weapons that were kept in the keep.

  • Destruction of the castle

    The Ninomaru (2nd enclosure) became the property of Matsumoto Prefecture, and towers, various gates and fences were demolished.There are some gates in the outskirts of Matsumoto city that are said to have been relocated from the Matsumoto Castle, but the background of many of them are not clear.The wood materials used for the Tatsumitsuke Yagura (Southern Wing) located in the Ninomaru have been reused for the new police station building on the Sannomaru. The stones from the stone fences of the Ote-mon have been reused for the Chitose bridge over the Metoba river, when it was rebuilt into stone structure. It is presumed that many materials may have been reused.

    Social activist Kinoshita Naoe, who hailed from Matsumoto went to the new Kaichi School in 1876.He walked from her birth house in Amashirocho to school, passing Jizo-shimizu along the Sotobori and the Metoba river. Later, he wrote about those days in his nobel titled "Hakaba (Graveyard)" , that the masonry at the gates, the large trees on the bank of the moat, everything was demolished. There was a rumor among the locals that a huge monster with a tonsured head and three eyes appeared by the large tree. When people heard the ax chopping the large tree, they all stopped by and regrettably watched over the moat. Nobody believed that the noises were coming from just the roots being chopped. His texts continued describing how the castle was changing.

    In 2012, the Otemon Gates with walled compound and part of the moat to the east of the said gates were researched and excavated. Then, surprisingly a number of roof tiles were excavated from the moat ruins. It has been presumed that roof tiles used on the Otemon gates or on the fence of the walled compound may have been dropped when such buildings were demolished in the early Meiji period.

To the present day

  • Trial agricultural sites of the Matsumoto Agricultural Society.

    A Matsumoto Agricultural Society was organized by 50 volunteer citizens from Azumi County and Chikuma Country.The society rent part of the premises and facilities of the Matsumoto Castle, including Honmaru(the main enclosure of the castle), the keep and the annexed warehouse, on which new species of fruit and vegetables were grown for the purpose of experiment. The harvests were distributed to the members.According to the recollection of poet Kubota Utsubo, there was a vegetable garden in the middle of the Honmaru(main enclosure) garden, apple trees in the west close to the Keep, and three rows of vineyard fencings in the north toward the bank around 1891 to 1894.It is also described that the Moon Viewing Tower in the Keep was turned into a rest area and tatami mats were placed on the floor thereof. A 5 rin admission fee was collected from those going up the Keep. ("A Full Collection of Kubota Utsubo's Works, Volume 6"). These agricultural test sites were returned later when the Honmaru garden was turned into schoolyard of Matsumoto junior high school.

  • Construction of Matsumoto junior high school buildings

    In 1876, a pseudo Western-style building was built in Kaichi school. An English-medium junior high school was installed in this building.Thereafter, although the school name had changed several times, it was lastly named Matsumoto junior high school. In 1885, Matsumoto junior high school built and used a new school buildings on Kosanchi/new palace site in the Ninomaru, until it was relocated in 1935.School buildings underwent renovations and additions. See the attached illustration which depicts a layout of school buildings as at 1919.

    In 1902, the school needed expansion of the schoolyard. Therefore, the Honmaru garden was used as the schoolyard.

  • Development of a park

    The Matsumoto Castle was designated as a national historic site in 1930. This became a turning point and the management of the castle was transferred to Matsumoto city council from Matsumoto junior high school in 1930.And, a plan was formulated that the junior high school was to be relocated, and the historic sites were to be turned into a park.In 1935, the junior high school was relocated to Arigasaki.The city council established regulations for the use of the Matsumoto Castle Keep and area around the keep. Further it even commissioned to design a park.However, due to the social situation where possibility of imminent war was gradually stronger, the plan had not materialized easily.

    Only after the Pacific War ended, the project to develop a park had progressed.In 1948, the Greening Project started in which Central Park was to be developed in the Ninomaru site.A mini zoon was built beside the City Museum, a large fountain was placed on the southern part of the Ninomaru, a children's amusement park opened in the northwestern part of the Sannomaru. A new building was built for the Japan Folk Museum in 1968 (currently Matsumoto City Museum). In 1987, the children's amusement park was closed down. As such, the castle underwent several changes before what they are today.

  • Filling up moats with earth

    In the Meiji period, the moats started to be filled with earth.The first moat that had been filled was the southern part of the Soubori (outermost moat), and the eastern part of the Sotobori (Outer moat).When the Yohashira shrine was established to the east of the Otemon Gates in 1877 or later, part of the moat began to be filled up with earth to make use of the land, and it gradually expanded.While, western part of the Sotobori (outer moat) was filled with earth when the Matsumoto Court was established in the Ninomaru site, to make an entrance area.Subsequently, the Umadashi moat located at the entrance to the Sannomaru began to be filled. By 1894 or later, it disappeared.Following the expansion of Matsumoto junior high school buildings located in the Ninomaru site, part of the Uchibori (inner moat) was downsized in the early 1900.

    In the middle of the Taisho period and beyond, the western part of the Soubori(outermost moat) and the southern and western part of the Sotobori(outer moat) were filled up with earth.

    Northern part of the Soubori(outermost most), which was the last moat to remain then, also turned into a municipal swimming pool in the early Showa period.Thereafter, no major moat has been filled.