Matsue Castle, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture, Honshu Island, Japan

Matsue Castle, one of only twelve surviving castles from the 1600s in all of Japan, is the second largest and the third tallest and is regarded as an excellent example of watchtower-type castle tower construction; Matsue City, Japan

Matsue Castle, one of only twelve surviving castles from the 1600s in all of Japan, is the second largest and the third tallest and is regarded as an excellent example of watchtower-type castle tower construction; Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island, Japan

 

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.

 

A priest coming down to the shrine adjacent to Matsue Castle, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island, Japan

A priest coming down to the shrine adjacent to Matsue Castle, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island, Japan

 

A wedding couple was having their professional wedding photographs made in front of Matsue Castle, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island, Japan

A wedding couple was having their professional wedding photographs made in front of Matsue Castle, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island, Japan

 

The watchtower and shachihoko (ornaments made of wood and plated with copper – here, two fish) at the top of the castle, Matsue Castle, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island, Japan

The watchtower and shachihoko (ornaments made of wood and plated with copper – here, two fish) at the top of the castle, Matsue Castle, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island, Japan

 

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.

 

Windows could be opened for both fresh air and for defense of the castle from attacking warriors, Matsue Castle, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island, Japan

Windows could be opened for both fresh air and for defense of the castle from attacking warriors, Matsue Castle, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island, Japan

 

A samurai in full armor (karuta (カルタ金 karuta-gane – meaning small square or rectangular plates that compose the armor), on display in Matsue Castle, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island, Japan

A samurai in full armor (karuta (カルタ金 karuta-gane – meaning small square or rectangular plates that compose the armor), on display in Matsue Castle, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island, Japan

 

A view of Matsue City from the fifth floor watch tower (the highest floor) in Matsue Castle, part of a 360-degree view from the tower, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island, Japan

A view of Matsue City from the fifth floor watch tower (the highest floor) in Matsue Castle, part of a 360-degree view from the tower, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture on Honshu Island, Japan

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

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