|English Name||Matsusaka Castle|
|Castle Condition||No main keep but other buildings|
|Designations||Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, Prefectural Historic Site|
|Historical Period|| Edo Period
|Features||samurai homes, stone walls|
|Access||15 mins walk from station or take bus and stop at Shimin-Byoin mae|
|Location||Matsusaka, Mie Prefecture|
|Coordinates||34° 34' 33", 136° 31' 33"|
|Visits||November 25, 2011|
Gamo Ujisato built Matsusaka Castle in 1588 in a style and structure that closely resembles Azuchi Castle. Ujisato put much effort into developing the castle town. He adopted the Rakuichi-rakuza system (free trade), built/redirected the new Sangu-kaido road leading to Ise, moved in moneylenders from Matsugashima castle, merchants from Hino in Omi, and shipping agents. Later, under Tokugawa Yorinobu, merchants moved to Edo became rich, and were entrusted with the right to print hansatsu, money bills of Kishu-han. City is famous for Matsusaka momen, Ise Oshiroi, Gikaku-shi, nowadays beef.
Comments Did this very rushed returning from Ise. Fortunately it is the kind of ruined castle you can do in a rush - no uphill hiking and very easy to navigate. Ishigaki were imposing and photogenic. The Hyakumeijo stamp is in the nearby Municipal Museum of History and Folklore, which has a brochure about the castle and museum in English. The museum has exhibits about Matsusaka's history as a merchant town. (100 yen entry, 9 - 4 pm).
From the top of the ruins you can see something else that looks like a castle in the town - I have no idea what it is or whether it bears investigating. We didn't have time to see it but Matsusaka also has the birthplace of the Mitsuis, the house of the Hasegawas, the Memorial Museum of Matsusaka Merchants, the Memorial to Motoori Norinaga (Suzu-no-ya), a Cultural Hall and Cultural Property Centre and also Gojoban Yashiki - latter Edo period samurai residences. The station sells Matsusaka beef Ekiben in a singing cow bento box.
Above history and comments by KristyD
This castle is a must-see for stone wall fans. All the extant baileys are fortified with stone walls and you can see some unique structures like the Honmaru sekirui and the very well fortified gates. There are no fences or "don't enter" signs atop the stone walls so you can get very close to the edges. I also recommend you stop by the rice warehouse and samurai homes. You can also explore nearby Tamaru Castle to see 2 great examples of castle ruins with many stone walls.
Some books actually use the typical 坂 character for the 'saka' part of the name, but it actually should be the same as the character in Osaka 阪.