A Google search indicated that there were four original Japanese castles on the National Treasure registry, and I had now seen three of them. It was time to see the fourth. But Matsumoto Castle is about 9 hours away for Iwakuni by car... that's no day trip. But my friend, Shannon, was up for a road trip, and so was my mother, so we took four days and hit quite of few sites as we made our way to that final castle.
While, technically, I had already seen Hikone Castle, doing a sort of drive-by viewing, but since Shannon hadn't been (and is working on the goal of seeing all 12 of the original Japanese castles) we stopped by, allowing me to view it up close.
And there is, in fact a Starbucks just a few kilometers away!
And finally, the next day... we got to Matsumoto... unique in that it has black walls while most castles are white.
Castle 4, Matsumoto, check!
And it was this day that I found out there are actually FIVE National Treasure Castles... Matsue was just added last July and wasn't on any of the websites and blogs that I accessed before. It completely ruined my day... actually, week. Until Shannon let me know that that fifth castle, Matsue, was only a few hours' drive from Iwakuni. Completely do-able as a day trip. So, while I wasn't expecting to add another trip to my itinerary before I left Japan, a group of my friends were ready to check out the Matsue area... and so we went.
Click here for the final installment.