Japan’s oldest and most splendid castle, Matsumoto.
Whilst there had been a fort on this site from about 1510, construction of the castle began in the 1580’s and was completed by 1595. It was built of wood and stone by impressed labour. The black walls and roof along with the appearance of wings readied for take-off led to its nickname, crow castle (烏城).
The castle came very close to demolition in 1872, following the Meiji Restoration. It was sold at auction and was likely to have ended up as firewood with the site redeveloped. Fortunately a community campaign persuaded the local government to acquire it. Substantial renovations have been needed to keep it the splendid monument that we see today. There is an interesting museum adjacent.