Fondly referred to as the 'Crow Castle' because of its black exterior, Matsumoto Jo (Jo: Castle in Japanese) is one of the oldest castles in Japan and continues to remain in its original state. With six elaborate floors and a hidden storey for Samurais, it dates back to the 16th Century and is a treasure of the Naganao Prefecture. While the wooden interiors of the 'Jo' are impossibly beautiful and the relics are interesting, you will have to climb some extremely steep stairs without footwear. The admission fee is around 600 Yen and the fortress and its gardens are open from 8:30 am till 5 pm. Constructed by Ishikawa Kazumasa and his son Yasunaga, it is a 15 minute walk from the Matsumoto Station. Visit during the Cherry Blossom season for some exceptional views.