Matsuyama-jō boasts one of only 12 castle towers in Japan surviving from the Edo period in the early 1600s. The keep looms above the middle of Matsuyama, gazing over the cityscape and the Seto Inland Sea beyond. Matsuyama Castle was built in the early 1600s before lightning claimed the original tower, forcing a three-storey rebuild in the 19th century. The centrepiece is protected by an intricate system of gates, moats and turrets, making it impossible to invade in feudal times, but captivating to explore these days. Visitors can catch a ropeway to the top or follow one of many walking paths to the top, where a small museum displays armour and other artefacts, and where 200 cherry trees blossom each spring.