History and museums
Matsumae Castle (松前城, Matsumae-jō) is a castle located in Matsumae in Hokkaido, Japan, and is the northernmost castle in Japan. It was the home of the Matsumae Han of the Matsumae clan. It is perhaps the only traditional style Edo period castle in Hokkaidō.
Built in 1606 by Matsumae Yoshihiro, it burned down in 1637 but was rebuilt in 1639.
Originally the residence for the Matsumae clan since 1600, the present castle was built in 1849 under orders from the Tokugawa shogunate to prevent foreign intervention. Only the tenshu and a gatehouse survived destruction after the Meiji Restoration. However, the tenshu was destroyed by fire in 1949. A concrete replica of the tenshu was later built.
The donjon of Matsumae Castle was 30 metres (98 ft) high. It is now all a park. It once controlled all passengers through Hokkaidō to the rest of Japan.