Nagano Prefecture is home to Matsumoto Castle in Matsushiro just outside Nagano city. It is as beautiful and magnificent as visitors say, and truly worth going to see. Then there is Matsushiro Castle, also in Nagano.
I did not like Matsushiro Castle. Positive reviews had been posted on a website devoted to Japanese castles, but for the life of me, I could not figure out what these people had liked about the place. To me it looked as if the structure was largely made of cement and prefabricated materials, all purchased from the local home improvement store. It seemed such a shame that this castle, a part of the Battles of Kawanakajima (1553-1564), was deeply lacking a sense of its own history. I wager there were no samurai spirits hovering over this ground.
As a result, it was impossible to evoke my imagination for the long ago. Instead, I wondered if people ever brought in tables and chairs for parties or if children played games here. These activities would be possible because once a visitor enters the castle there is nothing but air, space, and artificial ground. It is fairly disappointing and I do not recommend a visit.
Have you ever read Alan Booth's book The Roads to Sata? It chronicles his journey (on foot) from Hokkaido to Kyushu. Mr. Booth openly expressed his likes and dislikes of his adopted country as he traveled across the land. He was honest and very amusing in his observations, even when he was the one who ended up looking foolish. These endearing qualities made him very likeable and believable. So, I want to be like him and say how I feel, even if my impressions of a place are less than ideal. I hope nobody minds.
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