The 132m-high Katsu-yama dominates the centre of Matsuyama and on its summit stands the city’s prime attraction, Matsuyama-jō (松山城). Warlord Katō Yoshiakira began building his fortress in 1602, but by the time it was finished, 26 years later, he had moved to Aizu in Tōhoku. Like many Japanese castles hailed as “original”, this one has gone through several incarnations during its lifetime. The main five-storey donjon was destroyed by lightning on New Year’s Day in 1784 and rebuilt two storeys shorter in 1820 – the three lesser donjons are all modern-day reconstructions. Despite this, the castle is one of Japan’s more impressive fortresses and its location certainly provides commanding views of the city and Inland Sea.

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