Journey Three / Chapter 35

Matsumoto and Takayama

April 2019

A journey through Matsumoto, a location of a prime Japanese Castle and Takayama, an ancient town with a strong medieval charm.

Matsumoto Castle is one of five castles designated as ‘National Treasures of Japan’ and the oldest five-tiered, six-story castle tower remaining in Japan. Inside the castle are steep stairs and low ceilings leading past displays of armor and weapons from the Sengoku Period when the castle was built. The narrow wooden windows, once used by archers and gunmen, provide amazing views of the Japanese Alps, Matsumoto City and the koi and swans circling in the moat below.

Takayama is the heart of Japan’s inland mountain culture. The city is built around the beautifully preserved Sanmachi Suji district. The streets are lined with traditional houses, shops, restaurants, sake breweries and cafes. These streets are among the most picturesque in Japan and when visiting you can imagine what Japan looked like around the turn of the 19th century.