After Kusatsu I travelled to Nagano and decided to take a train to the nearby Matsumoto Castle.
It looks quite different from a castle in the UK, of course, with its wooden construction and black and white exterior. The black is lacquer and the white is plaster and they give a striking, imposing, effect.
What the photos don’t show is how cold it was. To make it worse, visitors are asked to take their shoes off as they enter the castle and (in my case) shuffle around in a pair of ill-fitting slippers. It’s quite right that visitors have to remove their shoes on entry – you can imagine what thousands of pairs of inappropriately shod feet would do to the wooden floors.
Oh, how the cold wind blew through the castle; interesting though the displays may have been, I didn’t spend time browsing in detail. I was more concerned with the feeling in my fingers and toes.