Yesterday Volker and me went for a one-day-trip to Matsumoto in the Nagano prefecture. The city itself wouldn’t be particularly interesting if it wouldn’t house Japan’s oldest castle that is still in its original state (most castles in Japan today are reconstructions). The castle is also known as “Crow Castle”, according to Wikipedia due to its dark appearance, but having seen it myself I’d rather say it’s because of the droves of crows that constantly fly in circles around its roof (see picture).
Because Matsumoto hasn’t really much else to offer, we were even more pleased to be informed that this very weekend, a snow festival was taking place in Matsumoto. It was basically an exhibition of sculptures hand-crafted out of pure ice. I was amazed at what complex creations the artists had been able to realize. You should really go check out the complete picture gallery, it’s awe-inspiring.
We also visited a nearby museum, which was free once you paid the fee for the castle visit, but it didn’t really have anything of interest to offer (from my humble point of view at least). Yet, the castle and the ice sculptures were more than worth the 4 hour ride to Matsumoto.