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Matsue Castle

A designated national treasure, this impressive black castle is one of only a dozen originals in all of Japan!

This black-walled hilltop castle is one of the best-preserved in the country. Despite the fact that an estimated 5000 castles were built in Japan over the years, only twelve survived with their original central keep intact, Matsue Castle being one of them. It now houses a museum dedicated to the military and cultural history of the region.

Built in 1611, Matsue Castle was gifted to the Matsudaira Clan by the shogun 27 years later, and despite its sturdy utilitarian construction, it was never actually tested in any sieges since Japan entered a long period of peace pretty much as soon as it was built!

Although no attacks ever stormed the place, you’ll have no problem doing so; the castle is just a leisurely 25-minute walk from Matsue City Station. Once you’re done wandering the grounds, imagining how you would totally have made a great samurai, you can also head outside for a boat tour of the moat. This is a great way to get a different perspective on the fort, and to learn more about the historic district surrounding it.

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