Historical Building sights in Nagano Ken
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Even if you spend only a couple of hours in Matsumoto, be sure to visit Matsumoto-jō, Japan's oldest wooden castle and one of four castles designated National Treasures – the others are Hikone, Himeji and Inuyama.
The magnificent three-turreted donjon was built c 1595, in contrasting black and white, leading to the nickname Karasu-jō (Crow Castle). Steep steps lead up six storeys, with impressive views from each level. Lower floors display guns, bombs and gadgets with which to storm castles, and a delightful tsukimi yagura (moon-viewing pavilion). It has a tranquil moat full of carp, with the occasional swan gliding beneath the red bridges. The basics are explained…