Suwa Taisha Grand Shrine is one of the oldest sinto shrine groups in Japan, has 10000 branch shrines throughout this country(except Okinawa prefecture). The festival deitiesare Takeminakata no kami(Okuninushi-no-mikoto's second son) and his empress Yasakatome-no-kami. These divine spirits were originally worshipped as hunting deities, and during the warrior era of medieval Japan, came to be worshipped as war deities. Now they are worshipped as industry, traffic safety, and marriage deities.
The Upper Shrine group consists of Honmiya & maemiya. The Lower Shrine :Akimiya(Autum shrine) & Harumiya(Spring Shrine)
Suwa Lake 諏訪湖・お神渡 諏訪湖 a highland lake situated 759m above sea level. largest in Nagano, 12.9km*km in area, 15,9km in circumference, 7m in maxim depth. It is rich with fresh water fish such as pond smelt(wakasagi).In mid-winter expanding ice explodes into belts of cracks across the lake accompanied by loud bangs to crate "Omi-watari(crossing of the God)" between the upper and lower Suwa Shrines. The number and intensity of these upheavals is taken as an omen for the years to come.
Matsumoto Castle 松本城 松本城側面図
1492 初築城 first small fortress
1593 天守/石川氏 remodeled by Ishi.
1630's 辰巳附櫓 S-Wing & M-room
1863 奴隷解放 the Emancipation
1868 封建制終焉 Feadalism Abolition
1872 売却 Sold at auction
1878 買い戻し citizens Bought back
1952 国宝指定 National Treasure
Japanese castles are built of timber on stone foundations. Matsumoto castle is one of the few great Japanese castles of the feudal era to survive into the present day in its original form. This donjon(tensyukaku)has 5 stories and 6 floors, and is the oldest surviving donjon in Japan,built by Ishikawa clan(Kazumasa and Yasunaga) in 1593-94(Bunroku2-3). "National Treasure"
国宝・松本城は、封建時代の日本の城がそのまま残っているものです。5層6階の天守閣は現存する最古のもので、石川数正,康長の父子によって文録2-3年に建てられました。 城とともに城下町も同時に計画的に建設。本丸を中心に三重の水堀(内掘,外堀,総掘)をめぐらし、その外に町屋と寺社地帯。城内(総堀の内)は総面積 39.5万・(約12万坪)、各曲輪(本丸,二の九,三の丸)ともほぼ方形で南正面に大手門。城の防御力を強化、城主の権威を象徴する門,塀,櫓,天守, 御殿など要所に規格正しく配置。
There were three kinds of fortifications in Japan；mountain castles，hill castles and castles bult on plains like Matsumoto Castle. This castle was originally surrounded by three-tiered moats for defense purposes. The main buildings，Such as the towers and manor houses, were encircled by the innermost moat and the town outside the moat was designed at the same time． First the Ogasawara Clan, who dominated this district at the time, built a small fortress. This is the beginning of the history of Matsumoto Castle. In1593 another lord，Ishikawa, remodeled the castle into the modern one which has survived to the present day in its original form.
Towers 櫓やぐら：The castle consists of five parts.（see illustration）From the north, they are the small northern tower(16.8m), the roofed-passage(12.3m), the main tower(called the"tenshu"29.4m), the southern wing(14.7m) and the moon viewing room(11.1m).
Loopholes 銃眼,狭間：There are many loopholes on the outer walls of the main tower and other keeps. The square ones were for musketeers and the rectangular ones were for archers． In 1543 the Portuguese introduced guns to Japan. Soon firearms spread rapidly through out the nation and this greatly changed the art of war．
Machicolation 突出し狭間：You can see some openings in the corners of the firstrloor. Through these holes heavy stones could be dropped by defenders on enemies climbing up the stone walls.
Stone Walls 野面積石垣：The castle stands on gently sloped stone walls. These stones were quarried in this area but were not dressed very much. Therefore they are rough,coarse and asymmetrical. However, they are strong and drain well.