Mountain Castle in the Sky - Bitchu Matsuyama Castle

Bitchu Matsuyama Castle Guide

Bitchu Matsuyama Castle – Ninomaru – Highlights


The layout of the compound (Kuruwa) of the Bitchu Matsuyama Castle consists of the Honmaru, Ninomaru, Umaya Kuruwa (horse compound), and Sannomaru, in succession to create a Renkaku-style mountain castle. Of these, the Ninomaru is the largest compound. There were two turret-shaped gates (Yaguramon) at the entrance area of the Ninomaru where you can still see some remains of the gates such as the foundation stones as well as traces of the support pillars on top of them.

Bitchu Matsuyama Castle – Sannomaru – Highlights


Around the Sannomaru are some remaining quadrangular stones of the remains of the castle and footmen guard stations from which you can understand the sizes of the guard houses. Looking out from above the main gate gives you an excellent overview of the main gate. It is thought that this Sannomaru was positioned here to enable attacks from this wall if enemies managed to penetrate the main gate.


This Gozendana area was once used to prepare meal. The stone wall of three meters or less continues around this area, making it comparatively low.

Umaya Kuruwa

The horse compound was used to tie up horses, similar to a modern day parking lot. Behind the compound you can find traces of where rocks were cut out of the bedrock and you can see how numerous rocks were obtained here even though it is up on the mountain.

Third One-Story Turret Eastern Mud Wall (National Important Cultural Property)

This mud wall has resisted endless years of wind and snow to still exist today. It has rectangular arrow slits to shoot arrows and round cylindrical gaps for shooting guns. This wall became a sample when other mud walls were restored in 1997.

Main Gate Remains

This turret-shaped gate is connected to the entrance to the castle. Buildings were constructed on the turret bases on both sides with the gate installed under these buildings. Maple trees grow in front of the gate so you can enjoy the new green leaves in the spring and the changing colors in the autumn.

Bedrock and Stone Walls next to Main Gate

One of the most interesting features of Bitchu Matsuyama Castle is how large natural boulders were incorporated into parts of the stone wall. As all of Mt. Gagyu consists of hard granite rock, this bedrock was also used for the foundations of the castle tower and two-story turret. You can enjoy beautiful scenery of the gate in the autumn with the changing color of the leaves, and the magnificence of bedrock stones exceeding 10 meters and the stone walls of the main gate.

Naka-Taikonomaru Ruins

This middle drum (Naka-Taiko) turret was used for communication between Onegoya (hall at the foot of the mountain) and the castle tower in ancient times. There were two relay points, including the Shimo-Taiko (lower drum) turret with communication performed by beating drums. The drum used in those times, “Fuji-no-Do”, was given as an offering to the Yaegaki Shrine. The ruins of the Naka-Taikonomaru provide an excellent view of the city, making it a perfect spot for taking photos.

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