[Nostalgia Touring] [Nagano Prefecture] Motorcycle trip to Matsumoto Castle! A solo trip to experience the Sengoku period and Edo

Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta. This time, we will introduce a tour to Matsumoto Castle, which has the oldest wooden castle tower in Japan and is designated as a national treasure. Matsumoto Castle is a flat castle located in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, and was built from the Sengoku period to the Edo period. This is a wonderful castle that will impress not only those who are interested in history and culture, but also just to look at its beautiful appearance. I rode a Harley Sports Glide (FLSB) from central Tokyo to Matsumoto Castle. I will tell you about the situation along with photos.


What is Matsumoto Castle?

Matsumoto Castle was originally built in 1504 as Fukashi Castle. After that, the castle was ruled by the Takeda clan and the Oda clan, and in 1590, Kazumasa Ishikawa entered the castle. Kazumasa Ishikawa is the person who built the current castle tower, and construction work was carried out from 1593 to 1594. This castle tower is a five-story, six-story, interlocking watchtower type, and is the oldest of the existing castle towers. The main features of the castle tower include its black painted outer walls and a roof covered with iron plates. There are also defensive facilities such as hidden floors and gaps inside. The castle tower was designated as a national treasure in 1936.

Matsumoto Castle functioned as the domain office of the Matsumoto clan during the Edo period. In the Meiji period, the castle was in danger of being abandoned, but was saved through the efforts of local influential people and enthusiasts. Since then, it has undergone many repairs and demolition restoration works. Today, it is designated as a national historic site and is visited by many people as a tourist attraction.

Route to Matsumoto Castle

I rode my bike from central Tokyo to Matsumoto Castle. Below is the route I took.

  • From central Tokyo, take the Shuto Expressway to the Chuo Expressway
  • Proceed west on the Chuo Expressway and enter Nagano Prefecture.
  • In Nagano Prefecture, run while enjoying the scenery of Lake Suwa and Mt. Yatsugatake.
  • Get off the Chuo Expressway at the Shiojiri Interchange and proceed to National Route 19.
  • Proceed north on National Route 19 and enter Matsumoto City.
  • Drive while paying attention to traffic lights and traffic in Matsumoto City.
  • Arrive at Matsumoto Castle, located about 2km south of Matsumoto Station.

The distance covered by this route is approximately 220 km, and the journey time is approximately 3 and a half hours. It will take a little longer if you have to take a break or eat along the way. I took several breaks and took photos along the way.

Highlights of Matsumoto Castle

When you arrive at Matsumoto Castle, first take a look at the exterior. The beauty of the black walls and white stone walls is breathtaking. There are water moats and bridges in the surrounding area, which harmonize with the seasonal scenery. In particular, the cherry blossoms bloom in the spring, and the leaves change color in the fall. On sunny days, you can take photos with the blue sky and snowy mountains in the background.

Next, let’s enter the castle tower. You can enter the castle tower for a fee. Admission fee is 700 yen for adults and 300 yen for elementary and junior high school students. Please note that the stairs and hallways inside the castle tower are narrow and the ceilings are low. You also need to take off your shoes before going up. Inside the castle tower, historical materials and weapons are displayed. You can also see defensive facilities such as hidden floors and gaps. From the top floor, you can enjoy the view of Matsumoto city and the mountains of the Northern Alps.

In addition to the castle tower, there are many other attractions at Matsumoto Castle. For example, gates and turrets such as Taikomon and Kuromon. These buildings are also designated as national treasures and have high historical value. There are also cultural facilities within the grounds of Matsumoto Castle, such as the Matsumoto City Museum and the Matsumoto City Museum of Art. These facilities hold exhibitions and events related to the history and culture of Matsumoto Castle and Matsumoto City.

Matsumoto Castle motorcycle parking lot

If you are visiting Matsumoto Castle by bike, you can park your bike in the Otemon parking lot. You can use this parking lot for a fee of 100 yen per day. This is a motorcycle parking lot that is officially recognized as the exclusive parking lot of Matsumoto Castle, so you can park your car with peace of mind.


This time, we introduced a tour from central Tokyo to Matsumoto Castle on a Harley Sports Glide (FLSB). Matsumoto Castle is a national treasure with Japan’s oldest wooden castle tower, and is a wonderful castle where you can experience history and culture. There are also beautiful natural areas and cultural facilities nearby. When you ride a bike, you can enjoy the scenery along the way. Please come and visit us at least once.

Until the end Thank you for reading. Next time we look forward to!

※松本城(Matsumoto Castle)