Cherry blossom and the Matsuyama Castle, Shikoku, Japan, Asia

Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery


Top choice in Ehime Prefecture

Perched on top of Mt Katsuyama in the centre of town, the castle dominates the city, as it has for centuries. Matsuyama-jō is one of Japan's finest surviving castles, and one of the very few with anything interesting to peruse inside: the castle has a treasure trove of artefacts with excellent English-language displays. A ropeway (one way/return ¥270/510) is on hand to whisk you up the hill, though there is a pleasant pathway if you prefer to walk.

It's worth walking down via the back slopes of the castle and stopping off at Ninomaru Shiseki Tei-en in the outer citadel of the fort, consisting of old gardens and modern water features.

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