Enjoy learning about the life of samurai at a place that once flourished as a castle town.
The word “Matsumae” of Matsumae Peninsula, at the south end of Hokkaido, derives from the Matsumae family (feudal military commanders) who governed the area during the Edo period (1603-1868). The district used to have Matsumae Castle and the ruling family was called the Matsumae Clan. It is said that the castle town not only had mansions for samurai who served the clan but also attracted many merchants who engaged in sea trade using ships called kitamaebune.
Today Matsumae Clan Mansion is a theme park reproducing Matsumae life of the Edo period. There are 14 buildings, including samurai houses, merchant houses, bugyosho (magistrate’s office), a shipping agent, and a banya (guard station), which, together with realistic figures representing people of the time, will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Trying on samurai armor or merchant kimono and strolling around Matsumae Clan Mansion is very popular among visitors.
Traditional foods of Matsumae include Matsumae-zuke pickles, which are preserved food made of calamari, herring eggs, and kelp. As all the materials are harvested in waters near southern Hokkaido, Matsumaezuke, with their unique scent and texture, have been made by local families since long ago. How about enjoying the taste of Matsumae after taking in the ambience of the Edo period in Matsumae Clan Mansion?
Near the mansion there is Matsumae Fukushima Castle Museum, exhibiting the culture of the times. Traveling several kilometers south, you will reach Shirokami Cape at the south end of Hokkaido. The stunning vista of the Tsugaru Straits from here is highly recommended.
- Nishidate, Matsumae-gun Matsumae-cho,, Hokkaido
- From early-April to early-November. 9:00-17:00 (admission until 16:30)
- Admission Fee
- 350 yen