While Matsumoto castle was easy on the eyes, it definitely wasn't on my legs. This castle, almost exactly intact from when it was first constructed in 1504, was built to prevent enemy infiltration (and from eager visitors too, apparently). I had to get on all fours to climb up the narrow and treacherous stairways of Matsumoto castle, with some steps built at a 60 degree angle!
Yet the panorama from the top was worth it. The top of Matsumoto castle gave me a bird's eye view of the city as well as the castle's surrounding moats and parks. Within the 6 stories of this wooden castle, it's easy to imagine what the life of a samurai warlord may have been like.
From the outside, it's hard not to stare at Matsumoto in wonder and fascination. One of the mightiest "crow" (black) castles in Japan, Matsumoto Castle shines throughout every season. Whether its surrounded in a pink flurry of spring's cherry blossoms or covered in a soft veil of white from winter's snow, Matsumoto always stands glorious.