I have been in Matsue for over a month now, and I just now made it to castle. I came for the lantern festival but it isn’t the same. That was at night and I couldn’t go explore inside.
Out of all the castles I`ve been to, I think Matsue is the smallest so far. And I am not complaining. The stairs are so steep in these castles, my legs were thankful. I still wonder how they walked up and especially down in those full kimonos with no rail. Its mind blowing!
Matsue castle or the “Black Castle” is one of the few remaining medieval castles in Japan, and it is still in its wooden form, no construction has been done to it. The castle began being built by Horio Yoshiharu in 1607 and finished in 1611. For 230 years it was owned by the Matsudaira clan a branch of the Tokugawa family. It has also has been named a National Treasure.
When I was looking up the history of this castle, I discovered something interesting. There is an urban legend written about Matsue Castle. This myth is based around something called `hitobashira` and this is when someone is when a human sacrifice is sealed inside the building to make the foundation stable after construction.
During the construction of the Matsue castle the central tower fell repeatedly during construction so the builders were convinced they needed to have a human sacrifice to keep the tower up. It was the only way. The human sacrifice they found was a dancer at a Bon festival and they lured her to the castle and sealed her within the walls. The legend then goes on to say that whenever a woman dances in the streets in Matsue the castle walls shake violently. Soon after those occurrences there was a law that passed that prohibited dancing in pubic places.
So please enjoy a few of my pictures from my day at the castle!
This building was actually one of the coolest things I have seen. It was built in 1903 and was meant to host the Emperor Meiji but he cancelled his visit. So it was used to as extra lodging. What makes it interesting is because it is a western build with a Japanese style roof. I was so shocked when I saw it thinking it was a new addition. I am surprised it was built so long ago looking like this. It makes you feel like you are in Middle America and not on a Japanese castle ground. Now its being used as Matsue Folk Museum.