Japan’s National Treasure Matsue Castle was completed in 1611 under the rule of the founder of Matsue, Horio Yoshiharu, and his grandson Horio Tadaharu. Located in Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island, Japan, it was the stronghold of the Horio clan for one generation, then passed to the Kyogoku Clan for one generation. Finally, in 1638, Matsudaira Naomasa was given control of the domain, and ten generations of the Matsudaira Clan ruled from that point until the Meiji Restoration [the restoration of practical imperial rule to the Empire of Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji]. As the only remaining original castle tower in the San-in region (and one of only twelve surviving castles in all of Japan), it is a precious asset to the local area, and in 1934, it was designated as a national historical landmark.
Of the twelve remaining castle towers in Japan, Matsue Castle is the second largest and the third tallest. Although many castles across the country were dismantled in observance of an official order for their demolition at the beginning of the Meiji era, Matsue Castle escaped destruction due to the efforts of a former retainer of the Matsue Domain and a wealthy local farmer. It was protected by the citizens thereafter and passed down to the present day.
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