Matsumoto (松本) is a city located at the foot of the Japanese alps in Nagano Prefecture. If you’re planning to take the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, then this city would be a good base to start your journey. Matsumoto city is the second largest city in Nagano but it has that small town feels. The city is very quite, laid back and very clean.
After checking-in at Hotel M Matsumoto, I went out and walked around the center of Matsumoto and explored the shops near the train station. Looking at the map, most tourist destinations are walk-able from Matsumoto station. If you don’t want to walk or if the weather is bad you can ride a taxi or the city bus.
◇◇◇ Top Attractions in Matsumoto City ◇◇◇
One day in Matsumoto Itinerary
Matsumoto City Museum of Art
The museum features the works of Matsumotos most famous artist Yayoi Kusama. She is known for her avant-garde works. The exhibition ” All about Love” (3 March – 22 July 2018) showcases her early works in Japan, her works in the states and her infamous mirror installations and polka dots themed artworks. Photos/cameras was not allowed inside the exhibition. The museum also features other art from all over the Japan.
How to get there: Click here
Operating hours: 9:00～17:00(Admission is until 16:30). Closed Days : Mondays (first following weekday if Monday is a public holiday) and Year Ends and New Year Holidays (12/29-1/3). **August is always open.
Fee: 410 yen for Adults (Group Admission Fee: 310 yen), 200 yen for students (Group Admission Fee: 100 yen)
Source: Matsumoto City Museum of Art
Nakamachi Dori is a street lined by Edo style old buildings. The preserved buildings are unique with its white walls and Kura style architecture. The mortar grid pattern on the black tiles are distinct design features of the buildings. Some of the buildings are handicraft shops, restaurants and ryokans (traditional Japanese Inn).
How to get there: 15 min walk from Matsumoto station or 5-10 min walk from Matsumoto castle.
Nawate Shopping District is located alongside the Metoba-gawa River. There are around 50 shops offering handicrafts, souvenirs and some street food. The are area is also called “frog street” because of the statue of samurai frogs. You can see a lot tourists taking some photos with the cute frog samurai statues.
How to get there: On your way to Matsumoto Castle, walk north on Daimyocho-Dori.
Matsumoto Castle (complex) was built during the 16th century. The dark facade of the castle earned it the nickname “Crow Castle”. Explore the well preserved interior of the castle . A 360 view of the city and the alps is viewable at the castle towers. Walk arround the castle grounds and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
How to get there: 15 min from Matsumoto station
Operating hours: Everyday ( 08:30 AM ~ 05:00 PM )
Fee: Adults: 610 yen , Child: 300 yen (6 years old or under: Free)
The Former Kaichi School
The school was built in the 19th century and features a mixture of western and eastern architecture. The beautiful building is no longer used as a school. The Kyu Kaichi Gakko is one of the oldest elementary school in Japan. Next to the school is the former Catholic Church Priest House. The blue building is another western style building used by the catholic priest during the 19th century.
Operating hours: 9:00 – 17:00 closed: Mon. (only 3rd Mon during March to November ) (open if a national holiday, and closed on the following day) Dec 29 – Jan 3.
Matsumoto to Nagoya