Matsumae-cho is the southernmost tip of Hokkaido. A lot of tourists come here every spring to see the cherry blossoms in Matsumae castle. Matsumae Castle is one of the few castles remaining in Hokkaido with Goryokaku of Hakodate. On this page, I would like to introduce Matsumae Castle.
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Matsumae Castle is the only Japanese castle in Hokkaido
Matsumae Castle was built by Matsumae Clan in 1606. It was a small thing to say a castle. However, since foreign ships frequently appeared in this area in the 19th century, a full-fledged castle was built with the order of the Tokugawa shogunate who ruled Japan at that time. Thus in 1854, Matsumae Castle of the current size was born.
In 1867, the Tokugawa shogunate collapsed in Japan, a new government was established. At this time some of the forces of the Tokugawa shogunate led the fleet and fled to Hokkaido. They occupied Hakodate and also attacked Matsumae Castle. Matsumae castle was taken off in just a few hours.
The forces of the Tokugawa shogunate were attacked by the new government forces in Hakodate and surrendered. Along with this, Matsumae Castle also entered under the control of the new government army.
Because Hakodate’s Goryokaku is a Western style castle, Matsumae Castle is said to be the only Japanese style castle remaining in Hokkaido. Matsumae Castle is also a Japanese style castle at the northernmost tip of Japan.
Unfortunately most of this castle was destroyed by fire in 1949. The present castle tower is a three-story building made of reinforced concrete that was rebuilt in 1961. However, a small part, such as the gate of the above photo, is old and designated as an important cultural asset of Japan.
Cherry blossoms at Matsumae castle you should see in Matsumae-cho
Matsumae Castle is now part of a park called “Matsumae Park.” Matsumae Park is known as one of the leading cherry blossoms in Hokkaido.
In Matsumae castle, various cherry blossoms were brought up from the Tokugawa shogunate era. There are about 250 kinds of cherry trees totaling 10,000 now. There are huge cherry blossoms with age of over 300 years. Because the time of bloom differs depending on the type of cherry tree, in Matsue Castle you can enjoy cherry blossoms from late April to mid May. Castles and cherry blossoms are lit up at night and are very beautiful.
When the cherry blossom season ends, Matsumae-cho becomes quiet much. It might be a good idea to visit Matsumae Castle at the time of fresh green or autumn leaves. Matsumae castle can not be put in during winter, so please take care.
It takes about 2 hours by car from Hakodate center to Matsumae Castle and about 1 hour by bus from Kikonai Station on Shinkansen.
Data : Matsumae Castle
Matsushiro 144, Matsumaecho, Hokkaido,Japan map
■Opening time ／9:00-17:00 (No entry after 16:30)
■The closing day ／From December 11 to April 9
■The entrance charge／360 yen (Adult), 240 yen (Elementary and junior high school students)
Thank you for reading to the end.
Now, let’s plan to make your vacation in Japan the best experience ever!