Daio Wasabi farm is the largest in Japan (15h). The spring water supplied by the Northern Alps grow and nourish Wasabi. The nature of Azumino region is beautiful which provides you with the curiosity of Wasabi, Wasabi ice-cream, Wasabi beer, Wasabi cakes, and other foods. It was the best cherry-blossom time that I went to this area. The beautiful spring sun, pink cherry flowers and
the peaceful country-side landscape - all added to my pleasure of being there.
I mentioned Hakuba on my Nagano page. I decided that it needs to be mentioned here also as it is actually easier to get to Hakuba by train from Matsumoto. It takes a couple of hours on the local train but doesn't cost a lot. For those of you who aren't in the 'know' Hakuba is one of Japan's most famous ski resorts. It is the place where many of the 1998 Winter Olympics events were held. Beautiful scenery and great skiing!
Most people begin their hikes from Matusmoto and miss out on Hotaka. Rent a bike (300\/hr), then spend the day riding through wasabi fields surrounded by mountains. There are also many painted jizo to see. Don’t forget to have a taste of some wasabi soft ice cream – it definitely has kick! Hotaka is a 30 minute train ride from Matsumoto. To the left of the station is a tourist info center – they have Enlgish maps.