• Area
  • TouristSpots
  • SouthernArea

[Matsumae] Superb Cherry Blossoms and Hisotry of Samurai Can Be Enjoyed at Castle Town Only in Hokkaido

May 9th, 2014

MATSUMAE

Matsumae (松前) that about 7,000 people live is the 76th largest fishery town in Hokkaido, and is locateed in the southwestern part of Hakodate city. It takes about 90 minutes from the Hakodate to the Matsumae by a car. The Matsumae has Cape Shirakami (白神岬), the southernmost tip of the Hokkaido, and is well-known as the southernmost town in the Hokkaido, and used to prosper as the center of Matsumae Domain (松前藩), and is famous for ever beeing the only castle town in the Hokkaido. It has appeared since 1400's in Japanese's history, and has uniquely long history in the Hokkaido. The Matsumae used to flourish for catch of herring, but Tuna fishing is famous at present, and the tuna is one of local specialities. As for a climate, it is comfortable, and the average temperature is about 10 C. It is cold in a summer, and it does not snow very much.

Matsumae Castle
Matsumae
Sunset
松前

Movie of Matsumae

The Hokkaido used to be called Yezo (蝦夷地), and Ainu people lived in most of the Hokkaido at that time. Mr. Yoshihiro Matsumae (松前慶広), the first lord of the Matsumae Family, constructed Matsumae Castle (松前城) in 1606, and that is the only now-existing Japanese-style castle in the Hokkaido. * Only the main gate designed as an important cultural property remains today. In the vast Hokkaido, only the Matsumae, the southernmost place in the Hokkaido, was developed as a place lived by Wajin (和人 * Japanese). They became rich by trading with the Ainu people, and 30,000 people lived in the Matsumae at its peak. The western side of Oshima Peninsula (渡島半島) was called the Matsumae Domain until the Meiji Restoration. By the way, Mr. Shinpachi Nagakura (永倉新八), a famous samurai of Shinsengumi (新撰組 * They faced tragedy by the Meiji Restoration (明治維新)), was former Matsumae clansman.

Old Matsumae (Source: Mastumae Town)
Matsumae
Shinpachi Nagakura Sits at Middle of First Row (Source: Wikipedia)
Matsumae

It is said that the Hokkaido has a short history of Wajin (和人 * Japanese), and Meiji High Collar and Taisho Roman can be enjoyed in some places, But the Matsumae with more than 600 years is an unusual place in the Hokkaido, and an atmosphere of samurai society in the Edo period can be felt. I think that it is only Matsumae's charm in the Hokkaido. For example, a type of bamboo is not root bend bamboo, and moso bamboo grow at the site, and it has an atmosphere of non-Hokkaido. The Mastumae has a lot of tourist attractions associated with Matsumae history. The Mastumae Castle, Matsumae Feudal Clan Mansion (松前藩屋敷), Tombs of Feudal Lords of Matsumae (松前藩主松前家墓所), Temples and Shrines (寺町), Cape Shirakami (白神岬) and Matsumae Local Museum (松前町郷土資料館) are famous. Especially, Matsumae Park (松前公園) containing the Mastumae Castle, the Matsumae Feudal Clan Mansion, the Tombs of the Feudal Lords of the Matsumae, the Temples and the Shrines is well-known as a good place to see cherry blossoms.

Old Temple
Matsumae
Kechimiyakuzakura Cherry Tree
Matsumae

Speaking of the Matsumae, Matsumae-zuke (松前漬け * Matsumae Style Pickle) is famous, too. It is a sticky fermented food that chopped kombus, dried squids, herring roes, chopped carrots are soaked in soy sauce, and is a local specialty in the Matsumae, and a lot of families in the Hokkaido eat rice topped with it at the breakfast. In addition, Matsumae Tuna Sanshoku Rice Bowls (松前マグロ三色丼) using a tuna landed in Matsumae become new noted product recently. By the way, hot spring called Matsumae Onsen (松前温泉) has been gushed since the Matsumae Domain period, and a type of the hot springs that the Matsumae Lord used to take a bath can be enjoyed.

Matsumae-zuke
Matsumae-zuke

Events held in the Matsumae are as follows. Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival (松前さくらまつり) is held from late April to mid May, and Matsumae Hydrangea Festival (松前あじさいまつり) is held only in a day, early August, and Matsumae Castle Town Period Festival (松前城下時代まつり) is held between 3days in mid August, and Matsumae Castle Town Tuna Festival (松前城下マグロまつり) is held between 2days in mid September.

Tsugaru Channel
Matsumae

List of Events

Some events are held from a spring to a summer. Especially, the cherry blossoms of the Matsumae is one of the 5 best popular famous places to see cherry blossoms in the Hokkaido. The Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival is held during about a month. It is attractive to be seen various types of the cherry trees. It may be unusual to be held as a festival event. My visited event is as follow.

Movie of Matsumae Castle Town Period Festival

Movie of Matsumae Castle Town Tuna Festival

Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival

Matsumae Park (松前公園) is a park on a small hill in Mastumae town located in the southwestern part of Hakodate city. Mastumae Castle (松前城), Temples, Shrines and Matsumae Clan Mansion (松前藩屋敷) are built at the site, and the center of Matsumae Clan that is famous for the only clan in Hokkaido has been developed as the park. Cherry Blossom Sample Garden (桜見本園), Rose Garden (バラ園) and Peony Garden (ボタン園) are built as a relax place for Matsumae people. The park is well-known as a good place to see the cherry blossoms, and Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival (松前さくらまつり) is held from late April to mid May. In addition, Matsumae Hydrangea Festival (松前あじさいまつり) is held in early August. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. But the parking lot is charged for JPY 500 between the Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival. Article is here

Matsumae Castle
Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival

List of Tourist Attractions

The Matsumae used to be the center of former Hokkaido. Because it has a long history, a lot of history inheritances are built. Historical tourist attractions including the Matsumae Castle and Matsumae Lord Cemeteries can be seen only in the Matsumae. The Mastumae Castle, the Matsumae Feudal Clan Mansion, the Tombs of the Feudal Lords of the Matsumae, Aunji Temple (阿吽寺), Kozenji Temple (光善寺), Sennenji Temple (専念寺), Hogenji Temple (法源寺), Hodoji Temple (法幢寺), Hokkeji Temple (法華寺), Ryuunin Temple (龍雲院) and Matsumae Shrine (松前神社), the Cape Shirakami and the Matsumae Local Museum are famous in particular.

Forest of Hinoki
Matumae

Matsumae Castle

The Matsumae Castle is the northernmost Japanese-style castle in the Japan, and was built in 1606. The official name is Fukuyama Castle (福山城). Mastumae family (松前氏) kept the castle for many generations as a lord. In case of entering the Matsumae Castle Museum, tourists must pay admission. Documents about the Matsumae are displayed at the castle, and people can know about the Matsumae in detail.

Advertisement

Matsumae Castle
Matsumae Castle
Fukuyama Castle Monument
Matsumae Castle

Atmosphere of Matsumae Castle Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Matsumae Castle

Admission fee Adult: JPY 360. Elementary and junior high school students: JPY 240. Infants: JPY free of charge.
Parking lot Free of charge * It is charged a fee only during a period of Matsumae Cherry Tree Festival
Business hour 09:00-17:00
Regular closing day From early December to early April
Telephone number +81-139-42-2216
Home page Home page is here

Matsumae Feudal Clan Mansion

The castle town is built around the Matsumae castle. The Matsumae Feudal Clan Mansion is a theme park reproduced samurai residences (武家屋敷), Merchant Houses (商家) and Shipping Agency (廻船問屋) Houses in Edo period. In case of entering the Matsumae Feudal Clan Mansion, tourists must pay admission. There are Matsumae Cemetery that successive generations feudal lords are resting in peace, and temples such as the Houdouji Temple that Matsumae clan's family temple line.

Matsumae Feudal Clan Mansion
Matsumae Feudal Clan Mansion
Matsumae Cemetery
The Matsumaes Cemetery
Matsumae Cemetery
The Matsumaes Cemetery

Atmosphere of Matsumae Feudal Clan Mansion Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Matsumae Feudal Clan Mansion

Admission fee Adult: JPY 360. Elementary and junior high school students: JPY 240. Infants: JPY free of charge.
Parking lot Free of charge * It is charged a fee only during Matsumae cherry tree festival
Business hour 09:00-17:00
Regular closing day From November to early April
Telephone number +81-139-43-2439
Home page Home page is here

List of Tasty Foods

The Sea of Japan spreads over in front of the Matsumae, and fresh fishery products are landed. The Matsumae is known for fishing the Tuna, Sea Urchin, Squid and Abalone, and dishes are famous for using those. As for the popular restaurants, Restaurant Yano (レストラン矢野) is given Michelin Plate. My visited restaurant is as follow.

Matsumae Tuna Sanshoku Rice Bowls

Speaking of Tuna, Oma town in Aomori prefecture is famous in Japan, but the tuna is caughted in Matsumae town locaed in Oma town across Tsugaru strait. Tuna sanshoku (マグロ三色丼 * Sanshoku means three kinds) bowls is appealed to tourists in Matsumae town, and visitors can eat that meal at 3 restaurants. I visited Urasato (浦里) this time. Urasato is a Japanese-style restaurant. An owner was a former sumo wrestler, and the sumo wrestler's stew (Chankonabe) is a noted dish, too. Furthermore, the visitors seem to eat a ramen planned by TV program. Article of Urasato is here.

Tuna
Matsumai Sanshoku Rice Bowl -Urasato-

Matsumae-zuke (Matsumae-style Pickle)

The Matsumae-zuke is a local speciality in the Matsumae feudal clan period, and is the sticky fermented food that chopped kombu, dried squids, herring roes, chopped carrots are soaked in soy sauce. The Matsumae-zuke goes well with rice and sake.

Matsumae-zuke (Matsumae-style Pickle)
Matsumae Style Pickle
Matsumae-zukeya
Matsumae Style Pickle

List of Onsen

The hot springs have gushed out since the Matsumae feudal clan period, and have an old history. It is said to be the southernmost onsen in the Hokkaido. There are Matsumae Onsen Rest Center (松前温泉休養センター) and Yano Onsen Ryokan (温泉旅館矢野) in the Matsumae, and tourists can take a daytrip bath in those hot spring facilities. My visited onsen is as follow.

Matsumae Onsen

Matsumae Onsen (松前温泉) is a hot spring place in Matsumae town located the southwestern part of Hakodate city. Matsumae Onsen Rest Center (松前温泉休養センター) is built in a mountain, and is around 5 km away from the center of the Matsumae. Hot springs were discovered 150 years ago, and it is said that a feudal lord of Matsumae Castle (松前城) took a bath, too. Unfortunately, a restraunt and a convenience store are not built around here. The Matumae is famous for Matsumae Castle (松前城) and Matsumae-zuke (松前漬け), and tuna is noted product. In the Matsumae, Matsumae Tuna Sanshoku Rice Bowls (松前マグロ三色丼) using the tuna is served at some restraunta. I ate it at Urasato (浦里), and it was tasty. Article is here

Matsumae Onsen Rest Center
Matsumae Onsen

List of Accommodations

Refer to following websites for the accommodations in the Matsumae. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.

Onsen Ryokan Yano(温泉旅館 矢野)
Tanbaya(丹波屋)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Ryokan Yokohamaso(旅館よこはま荘)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Ryokan Miura(旅館みうら)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Minshuku Hamabe(民宿はまべ)
Booking
Jalan
Rakuten
Booking.com

Comment

Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.