Late July and August are summer vacation season for Japanese schools and a week including August 15 (this year 10 to 18) is summer holiday of most Japanese companies.
Matsumoto Castle is one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Nagano area, but it has small capacity because there are only steep and narrow steps (to avoid enemy’s invasion) to go up inside the keep, though many other Japanese castles are rebuilt by concrete and some have even elevators.
So, if you come to the Castle in August, you might have to wait to enter the keep for 20 mins to 2 hours. From 10:30 to 15:00 is the busiest hours. Generally speaking, early morning (open from 8:30), after 15:00 (door close 16:30, Aug 3 to 18 – 17:30), and lunch time depending on the day, are not so crowded, though it depends on the situation at that time. For example, when a big tour group come, it is crowded.
When you wait, sometimes there is free service to take your photo with an armored samurai (the model of Darth Vader in Star Wars).
The followings are photos of the projected castle keep at the event of world-renowned Digital-Kakejiku Art Project held July 26-27. See more photos at the D-K Facebook page.
Note: Takigi Noh in Matsumoto Castle has been held August 8th every year, but 9th in 2013.