Matsumoto Travel Guide

  • Matsumoto
    by Toshioohsako
  • Gate of the North Japan Alps
    Gate of the North Japan Alps
    by hassy
  • Matsumoto
    by hassy

Matsumoto Things to Do

  • Stopover in Ina, Japan

    Ina, Japan, located on the Chuo Expressway is a small city of about 72,000 people. The city hosts the ruins of one of the feudal castles of Japan, along with Ina City Takatomachi History Museum, a clock museum, numerous parks, and it serves as the gateway to Mount Nokogiri and other areas of the Japanese Alps.We stopped here while travelling from...

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  • The city of Matsumoto

    Matsumoto, a city of 245,000 residents and located in Nagano Prefecture, is most famous for Matsumoto Castle. This imposing and historic structure, dating back to the 1500s, is one of Japan's finest remaining original castles. The town also boasts Nawate-dori, a canal-side street featuring small shops and restaurants, and Nakamachi, a merchant...

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  • Matsumoto Castle's Kuromon & Taikomon...

    At Matsumoto Castle, as originally designed, the Black Gate (Kuromon) was the only gate leading across the second moat, and the Drum Gate (Taikomon) was the final gate leading across the inner moat to the castle. When Matsumoto-jo was dismantled in the Meiji Era, these gate were removed, affecting visitors' sense of scale and history of the castle....

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  • Matsumoto Castle Moats

    Being a flat-land castle, Matsumoto Castle's moats and walls formed its main defenses. While only the interior two moats remain today, there was once an outer moat the surrounded the entire present-day complex, with the southernmost moats at present-day Nawate-dori. This outer moat had five entrances, all with gates, placed on islands in the moat...

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  • Matsumoto Castle Exterior

    When you stand in the inner courtyard facing the Matsumoto Castle. the main tower, or Tenshu, is the tallest structure at 29.4 meters. Immediately to its right is the Inui-kotenshu, or small northeast tower, standing 16.8 meters. To the lest of the main tower is Tatsumi-tsuke-yagura, or the southeast scaffold, which stands 14.7 meters. Finally, in...

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  • Matsumoto Castle Interior

    The inside of Matsumoto Castle is impressive with its huge posts and beams, dark wooden floors, small windows, and narrow, often steep, stairs. The displays inside the castle include a firearms museum, historic armor and maps of the castle, and other items to help visitors understand the history of the castle. The main building, the 6-story...

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  • Uzuminohashi - Matsumoto Castle's Red...

    Uzuminohashi is the picturesque red bridge that leads to Matsumoto Castle's inner keep over a moat from the west. The bridge is painted red, making it a picturesque and scenic landmark among the greens and blacks common in the area. Uzuminohashi is also unique due to its two 90 degree turns near the middle, on either side of a square platform.When...

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  • Nakamachi

    Nakamachi is Matsumoto's historic shopping street, featuring shops and restaurants along a beautifully restored street just south of Nawate. More than 40 restaurants line this main street and several side streets, just to the south the Metoba River. Like nearby Nawate-dori, this area offers local crafts, foods, and other gifts, mostly for...

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  • Nawate-dori

    Nawate-dori is a small shopping street for tourists located on the banks above the Metoba River. Here there are a few restaurants, some gift shops, antique stores, and many shops selling frog-themed trinkets. It is said that the Metoba River had lots of kajika frogs until they disappeared in 1972. The local residents decided to clean up the river,...

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Matsumoto Hotels

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Matsumoto Restaurants

  • Donburiya Sou

    Donburiya Sou is a friendly little restaurant in central Matsumoto with great beef and rice bowls, salads, and other tasty and filling Japanese meals. During our visit, I had a beef bowl, topped with an egg, which was excellent. My traveling companion had a salad with fresh tuna. Both meals were great and filling, each for about 1,000 Yen.The...

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  • Coco's Restaurant

    Do not confuse Coco's Restaurant with Coco's Ichibanya Curry. Coco's Restaurant is a pretty basic family restaurant that offers simple dishes like fried chicken, hamburgers, pizza, and salads. Coco's Curry is a fantastic curry restaurant, widely acclaimed as the best curry in Japan, despite its fast-food/diner atmosphere.I stopped at Coco's...

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  • When you need a change ...

    We had mostly eaten (and for the most part enjoyed) Japanese food on our travels, but there are times when you really crave the food of home - or at least of another country! So when we spotted this cosy bakery/cafe on quaint Nawate-dori, with a menu of pizza, toasted sandwiches and soup, we thought it looked a promising spot for a more Western...

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  • Hot Pot in Winter

    We hit this restaurant by chance. It was almost full house when we arrived. We tried their famous hot pot set dinner, crab & potato coquettes, scallops on hot plate . 2 hot pot options were sold out when we ordered. They also have an English menu. We were on a 2nd floor, sitting on the floor and eat on the low table. Nice Japanese design with dark...

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  • Restaurant near Matsum0to Castle

    This restaurant is recommended by one of the locals in Matsumoto. The waiter speaks no English but they have English menu. They had horse meat set menu which we dared not try. 2nd floor is the restaurant. The ground floor sells souvenirs and their food stuff. We tried the soba set menu. The soba has to soak into a cup of cold soup and eat the...

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  • Affordable Japanese cuisine in a nice...

    The Mangetsu-ya restaurant in the suburb of Asama is well situated for backpackers staying at the Asasma HI hostel. It is just a short walk away (go right out of the hostel, left at the first intersection, walk to the next intersection and you will see two restaurants to your right).Inside there is a diner like feel with a Japanese twist. There is...

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Matsumoto Nightlife

  • Toshioohsako's Profile Photo

    by Toshioohsako Written Apr 25, 2013

    Chikuma is a Japanese pub with fantastic social atmosphere and excellent Japanese food.
    One can enjoy sake of many different kinds and seasonable food composed of fresh fish,vegetables and meat. One can easily find people to talk to and drink and joke together.
    One needs to visit this pub to find out the essence of Matsumoto life, taste and people.

    Dress Code: very informal - almost anything

    From the darkness to laughter Chief , Mr Arai

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Matsumoto Transportation

  • Driving Between Matsumoto & Takayama on...

    Route 361 from Ina to Takayama is a route through the mountains that serves as an alternate to Route 158 between Matsumoto and Takayama. This route is further south and it is over 100 km (about 20 km longer than Route 158). While this route has some very mountainous stretches, overall it is an easier drive than Route 158, and it passes through some...

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  • Driving Matsumoto to Takayama on Route...

    There are no easy, direct routes from Matsumoto to Takayama. Even though the towns are about 50 km apart in a straight line, the train route takes you all the way to Nagoya, hundreds of kilometers out of the way, on a long five hour journey. Driving between the towns is a much better option (depending on the weather and road conditions), and the...

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  • To and from Matsumoto

    We came to Matsumoto from Kamikochi, for a few hours' stopover on our way back to Tokyo. Our journey involved a bus to Shinshimashima and from there a small local train to Matsumoto. The bus journey was about an hour and the train about half that, with 20 minutes between the two.We left Matsumoto some hours later on a limited express train service...

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Matsumoto Local Customs

  • The magic of Onsen (hotspring)

    Onsen is one of the most loved form of relaxation in Japan. It is totally a relaxing, warm and social experience for the Japanese as well as foreigners. There are numerous hot-spring inns and hotels around Matsumoto. I picked 'Yume no Yu" (dream hot-spring) in Asama Onsen area as its proximity to the City. It was really relaxing and pleasurable...

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  • JAPANESE CUSTOMS

    Japan is FULL of interesting differences with other countries. For example: TOILETS : Public toilets in Japan are mostly the squating variety although count yourself lucky if you happen to find an electronic 'space rocket' toilet with lots of fancy gagets to play with! TAXIS : Avoid taking taxis as they are exorbitantly expensive but if you do...

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  • Matsumoto Hotels

    206 Hotels in Matsumoto

Matsumoto Warnings and Dangers

  • kiwigal_1's Profile Photo

    by kiwigal_1 Updated Jun 21, 2004

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    As with other parts of Nagano it is worth warning you of the dangers in winter. Matsumoto is nestled in the Japan Alps and as such is a fairly cold place in winter. Yes, there ARE snowstorms and yes, the roads ARE slippery! Take care!

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Matsumoto What to Pack

  • kiwigal_1's Profile Photo

    by kiwigal_1 Updated Jun 21, 2004

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    Luggage and bags: If you plan on doing a lot of train travel when you are in Japan then I suggest that you decline from bringing large, heavy suitcases. Most train stations in Japan have huge staircases (often no lift) so lugging a big suitcase is not an easy task. I suggest a good backpack would be a good choice.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Rainy Season is around June/July and rain weather gear is essential. I just use an umbrella but there have been times that I have got completely soaked!! I can't buy shoes in Japan so I have had to think carefully before I came about what kind of footwear to buy. Note: Easy to slip on and off shoes are best and if you are going to work in a public building you will need 'indoor' shoes to wear. The Japanese always take their outdoor shoes off before entering their house or work. Matsumoto is pretty cold in winter being up in the Japanese Alps so make sure you have good winter clothes (don't forget your skiis etc!!)

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Most things you will need can be purcahsed here. I don't recommend going to a hospital in Japan unless you really need to. In most cases the pharmacist will be able to help you if you tell them what is wrong and what kind of medicine you are looking for (a phrase book will have this in it).

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Matsumoto and Nagano Prefecture in general are great places to experience the outdoors in Japan. Kamikochi (and hour from Matsumoto) is a great place for hiking. If you are into skiing or snowboarding then this is the place to come!

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Matsumoto Off The Beaten Path

  • Don't miss Wasabi!

    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...

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  • HAKUBA

    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...

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  • Most people begin their hikes...

    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...

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Matsumoto Favorites

  • Wandering the streets is a great way to...

    Wandering the streets of any city is a great way to explore, provided you have a good map! This photo was taken at the Jorinji Temple, in Matsumoto, which we stumbled across one chilly and damp April morning in 2006.The temple is down a side street off Isemachi Street.

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  • MATSUMOTO CASTLE

    Lit up at night in winter Matsumoto Castle is a beautiful site. In the spring the area becomes decorated in pink and white as the Cherry Blossoms come out. One evening I went to the Castle grounds with some friends for a Cherry Blossom party! See my Japan page to learn more about this tradition!

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  • Matsumoto Castle. I’ve seen...

    Matsumoto Castle. I’ve seen many castles during my stay in Japan and I was not looking forward to seeing this one. However, I have to say that the castle is really beautiful!!! I was also surprised by how interesting it was. There’s a museum at the base and the view from the top is quite nice. The castle ticket also includes admission to the Japan...

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Comments (1)

  • owyewwah's Profile Photo
    Mar 27, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    Hi, I am interested to view cherry blossom in Japan, but I am told it is kind of late for some of the areas like the cities. I am told Matsumoto is a good place for early April. I plan to come and stay in Nagano, and make trips to Matsumoto during the day. I most like will come via Tokyo from Singapore in the 2nd week of April. I hope this is a good plan. Please advise. Thanks.

Map of Matsumoto

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