Matsumoto Castle
Matsumoto in summer
Hiking in mountains near Matsumoto, Japan Alps

About Matsumoto

Matsumoto is the second largest city in Nagano Prefecture after its capital, Nagano.

It is most famous for its castle, one of Japan’s most beautiful original castles. The city is also a good base for trips into the Japanese Alps, e.g. to Kamikochi.

Surrounded by mountains, the town is acclaimed for its beautiful views. Hiking and climbing areas in the mountains can be easily reached by local bus services.

  • Japan Ukiyoe Museum
  • Matsumoto Castle
  • Nakamachi, a former merchant district

It is attractive to travellers not only because of the traditional culture but also its calm climate and its local products. Matsumoto soba is famous and many are delighted by its delicate taste. Just to the north of the town is the world’s largest wasabi farm. Wasabi can only be grown in extremely clean water, so there is much local pride in this product.

In addition, the town is home to the Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto, held every August by conductor Seiji Ozawa and featuring the Saito Kinen Orchestra; regular guests have included Robert Mann and Mstislav Rostropovich. It is very difficult to get tickets: many people queue for two days before tickets go on sale. Like many areas in Japan, the town has abundant onsen or hot springs.

Practical information:

  • From Shinjuku Tokyo Station to Matsumoto by train (2h40)
  • From Shin-Osaka to Nagoya Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen trains and then from Nagoya to Matsumoto Station (2h50)

Matsumoto on our Google map