Where is Matsumoto in Japan?
The city of Matsumoto is located in the heart of Nagano Prefecture, site of the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. Matsumoto and its surrounding areas invite you to discover Japan off the beaten track, just a few hours train, bus or car ride from Japan’s greatest cities!
Why go to Matsumoto?
Japan is one of the most harmonious countries in the world, blending modernity with deep-rooted tradition. Japan’s large metropolises such as Tokyo and Osaka, traditional cities like Kyoto and the sumptuous landscapes offered by Mount Fuji and the idyllic countryside make Japan one of the most important tourist destinations in Asia.
Here in Matsumoto, segue outside and beyond the clichés and the Japan you expect to find. Matsumoto invites you to discover the Japanese ancestral way of life where local traditions and customs remain entwined, where present and past combine into an atmosphere which is both urban chic and rural serenity.
Come to Matsumoto on a countryside getaway. Trace the footsteps of the ancient samurai at Matsumoto Castle. Explore the roots of Japanese history and culture within a vibrant castle town. Experience many traditional indoor and outdoor activities. Come bask in the beauty of the breathtaking Japanese Alps as you stroll across the rooftop of Japan!
Things to do
Matsumoto castle is one of only 5 castles in Japan designated as national treasures. It is therefore one of the finest examples of Japans cultural heritage and welcomes visitors all year round. Nearby historical Nawate and Nakamachi market streets are also open to visitors and locals alike for shopping and casual dining.
Matsumoto is also a major center for the contemporary as well as the traditional arts. Here is the birthplace of the world renowned avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama. Matsumoto City Museum of Art is home to Kusama’s permanent collection and hosts displays from many visiting artists as well. The Japan Ukiyo-e Museum contains the largest private collection of ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) in the world and includes original works from the world famous artist Katsushika Hokusai.
And this is only the beginning! There are many more unique places and exciting experiences for you to enjoy during your stay. Learn to play the Taiko (traditional Japanese drum), enjoy a hands-on Samurai Sword Fighting experience or even visit a real Sake Brewery and sample its local Sake.
Just a few kilometers outside Matsumoto also lies Japan’s largest Wasabi Farm, well worth the trip for fans of the spicy green condiment!
Matsumoto is famous for the highest quality soba and is the ideal place to sample these uniquely Japanese noodles. Matsumoto area’s apples are renowned as the best in Japan. You may even drop by the orchard and pick them yourself! Of course, the locally grown rice, Miso and wasabi are not to be missed!
Try pairing your meal with a glass of Shiojiri Wine. The nearby town of Shiojiri is host to Japan’s most popular wine country. In addition to wine, local Sake, whisky and even craft beers are abundantly available here!
A perfect Springboard
Make Matsumoto your launch pad to the many top spots around Nagano Prefecture, such as the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, the grand Zenkoji Buddhist Temple in Nagano City, the picturesque scenery of Kamikochi National Park, the spectacular Suwa Lake, the stunning snow walls of Norikura, the many post-towns along the ancient Tokaido Road through Kiso Valley and much more!
The city is also a short distance from Takayama, an easy location to begin exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Shirakawa-go traditional village!
And finally Matsumoto is the ideal departure point to begin your journey from Japan’s heartland right up to Kanawaza, Tokyo and the foothills of famous Mount Fuji!