A Trip to Matsumoto Castle — with the kids

May 1st, 2009 by
Category: Sightseeing
Visiting Matsumoto Castle with the kids

Visiting Matsumoto Castle with the kids

Living in Nagano for 10 years, I have visited Matsumoto Castle many times, but Wednesday was the first time I ever took the kids.  Initially, we thought we would just take them for a walk around the castle grounds, outside the moat.  There we could enjoy the day’s sunny weather and let our daughters — age 5 and 2, and our son, age 1 — see the oldest extant castle in the country.

That wasn’t enough for our fave-year-old, though.  She wanted to go inside and climb up to the top.  “The stairs are really steep!” I told her.  “Are you sure you want to climb all the way up there?”  She was determined.  So, in we went.  All five of us!  It cost ¥600 for adults and ¥300 for children, but being younger than elementary school age, our little ones got in for free.

The steep staircases in Matsumoto Castle

The steep staircases in Matsumoto Castle

The stairs in the castle are built at a 60 degree angle, and are located in varying spots from floor to floor.  This was done to make it difficult for invaders in armor to get to the necks of the daimyo or any other important people at the top.  They are a challenge for anyone to climb, and an impossibility for our 2- and 1-year olds to manage.  They had to be carried, since a single step on these stairs are about chest height for these little ones.  At last, something my son is NOT able to climb up on!

But they made it to the top and enjoyed the view.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky that day, and not too many tourists either.  Those who were there seemed more interested in the antics of our kids than in the castle they were visiting!

When it came time to head back down, we found that carrying the kids up those those stairs is easier than carrying them down.  Let’s just put it this way:  it is now two days after the fact and my leg muscles are still a bit sore.  But it was a good trip.  The kids had a great time.

One Response to “A Trip to Matsumoto Castle — with the kids

  1. Good for your daughter! I would have wanted to tie the kids with ropes on the top floor!
    If your 5 year old daughter gets interested in the castle,and if you read Japanese, I ‘d like to recommend a nice guide book for children.You can get it at a souvenir shop inside the castle for 1,000 yen. It is titled” Watashitachi no Matsumoto-jou, Our Matsumoto Castle”. By Matsumoto city’s Education Committee. Contains the castle town’s history and the citizens’ efforts to preserve the castle etc. in easy sentences. Actually I learned a great deal from the book in order to guide the place to people.

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