The First floor of the Main Tower
This floor has many pillars. This raised platform at the center was used as a storage room for weapons and foods. Under the platform, there used to be 16 wooden pillars supporting this heavy building.
These are called ‘stone drops.’Warriors dropped stones or shot guns from these holes to stop enemies from climbing up the stone walls.
Warrior Running Passage
This is a ‘warrior running passage. During a battle, samurai warriors were supposed to ran around this passage
The base of this tower (or keep) is not square, but has the shape similar to a spool. Please stand at a corner and have a look at the wall. It is incurved, isn’t it? The walls of this building were constructed along the arch of the stone walls.
In 1950-1955, during the second restoration, a part of the original wall was cut out and preserved. It is considered that the original wall was made at the time of the construction of this castle.
In 1903-1913, during the first restoration, the original wall was recoated. On the right side, the thin top coat of that time is also on display.
A pair of Shachi is placed on the top ridge of the roof of old Japanese buildings. They are widely used in Japan as charms to protect buildings against fire.
Shachi is a Chinese mythical creature. It is believed that they extinguish a fire by spouting out water or bringing rain.
A male Shachi is placed on the south or east side and a female on the north or west side.
A Remaining Piece of Pillars
The total weight of the castle is about 1000 tons. To support such a heavy castle 16 wooden pillars (5 meters long for each) were used inside the stone foundation. Under the stone foundation slender logs were laid for preventing the castle from sinking and additional piles were installed into the ground for a landslide.
All of them, except this small portion, had been decayed and gone.
Then, this tower began to lean. Because the lack of support pillars caused the ground to sink.
In 1950-1955, the buildings and the stone walls of Matsumoto Castle underwent major restoration. These buildings were carefully dismantled and then restored in exact detail to their original condition. The original materials were reused as many as possible.
A Decoration of a Gable
This is the core of the decoration of a gable. There are many nails on the board. They were wrapped around with thin cords to hold plaster on the board.
The Second Floor of the Main Tower
A Collection of Old Guns
This room exhibits a collection of old guns. These guns were collected from all over Japan. According to an old record, Matsumoto Domain had 927 guns at the beginning of the 19th century (or in 1815).
These wooden cartridges were useful to load a gun with both a bullet and gunpowder at once. Warriors used these cartridges for quick shots, say, 4 to 6 shots a minute.
This is a suit of armor for a chief of gun-soldiers (or musketeers). The total weight is about 12 kg. It is said that Darth Vader, appeared in the movie “Star Was,” was modeled after this type of Japanese armor.
Production of Gunpowder
Making bullets and gunpowder was the job of the wives and daughters of samurai warriors. The women played an important but a risky role.
The Battle of Nagashino
This picture depicts the battle of Nagashino. This was one of the most important battles in the 16th century. It is because the Oda force completely destroyed the strong Takeda force with many guns. Since then, guns became the key weapons to fight with in battles in Japan.