A modern city of tradition, festivals and beef
Located north of Ise, Matsusaka is a great choice for travelers wanting to check out traditional architecture, crafts, food, and festivals, without venturing into the more remote countryside. Matsukawa offers all the comfort and convenience of urban Japan.
- Attending a lively local festival
- History dating back to the days of the shoguns
- Enjoying a plate of Matsusaka beef
A city with a proud mercantile history
Matsusaka was a castle town in medieval times when the shoguns ruled Japan. In those days, kimono production thrived in the city, bringing great wealth to local businesses who sold their wares in Kyoto, Osaka, and Edo (modern-day Tokyo).
Matsusaka Castle area
There isn’t much of a castle here anymore: the keep was destroyed in a typhoon in 1644, a fire took down the palace and the second bailey in 1877, and the remaining fortifications were demolished four years later. Many of the stone ramparts, however, are intact and open for visitors to walk around on. The elevated position offers views of the town below.
If you’re a Japanese history buff, the Motoori Norinaga Memorial Museum on the castle grounds may be worth a visit. Its exhibits feature the literature and maps of Motoori Norinaga, a renowned Japanese scholar. His diligent commentary on everything from literary classics to his personal life provides insight into the Japanese character.
Also on the grounds, the Matsusaka City Museum of History and Folklore occupies a converted library originally constructed in 1911. In its old-time atmosphere, you can inspect artifacts relating to Matsusaka’s mercantile past.
Don’t forget to check out the residences the castle guards once called home. People still live in these houses, but one building at the northern end of the area is open to visitors.