20 Things to Do in Matsumoto

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14270531763_7559985cc9_kSource: Brian Jeffery Beggerly

Matsumoto is a Japanese city that is known for its metropolitan culture but retains very traditional sites and traditions. It is widely known as Nagano’s prettiest city. Come check out these 20 things to do while you visit this gorgeous place.

1. Matsumoto Castle

148605275_ca566a5b69_bSource: Chris J

This castle is known as one of the four castles that is considered “National Treasures of Japan”. It is one of the oldest castles in Japan and is a very popular tourist destination during the spring seasons. At the top of the castles, you can see the Japanese alps, Matsumoto city, and the swans drifting around the moat underneath. Many beautiful festivals are held here during the summer.


  • Name: Matsumoto Castle
  • Address:4-1 Marunouchi, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture 390-0873
  • Price: 610 yen
  • Opening hour: Sun-Sat 8:30AM – 5PM
  • Website: http://www.matsumoto-castle.jp/

2. Jorinji Shrine

This little shrine is nestled in central Matsumoto. It is well known for its tree gate and red Shinto poles. The shrine is most famous for its wooden gate, which is the oldest gate in Matsumoto. This is a great area for those looking for some relaxation. There is also a gorgeous garden inside that is sure to provide some interesting scenery.


  • Name: Jorinji Shrine
  • Address: 1 Chome-24-2 Chuo, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture 390-0811

3. Koboyama

Koboyama is considered to be one of the oldest tombs in Eastern Japan. However, don’t let that stop you from coming here for a nice picnic during springtime. During the spring season, the entire place is covered in cherry blossoms. A beautiful sight to behold on a spring afternoon. There is also a hiking trail for those looking for something more active during the day.


  • Name: Koboyama
  • Address:Namiyanagi, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture
  • Price: free

4. Japan Ukiyo-e Museum

This museum houses the largest collection of ukiyo-e, a special kind of woodblock print made in Japan. There are paintings and old books and includes over 100,000 pieces of art. It is an art lover’s dream! Come here to soak in one of Japan’s most interesting art forms.


5. Matsumoto Folkcraft Museum

This museum is found in eastern Matsumoto. It is a great place to learn some history about Japanese crafts. There are several major exhibits that show off wooden and bamboo crafts, glassware, and china and porcelain. The museum also offers a great view of the Japan Alps and grape farms.


  • Name: Matsumoto Folkcraft Museum
  • Address:1313-1 Satoyamabe, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture 390-0221
  • Price: 720 yen
  • Opening hour: Sun-sat 9:30AM-4PM

6. Suzuki Memorial Hall

Those of you who are musicians may recognize the Suzuki method, a famous method created by Shin’ichi Suzuki to turn young children into violinists. This memorial hall is a the house where he developed this amazing method that is still taught in music schools all over the world. Come and see the inner workings of this brilliant man.


  • Name: Suzuki Memorial Hall
  • Address:3-10-3 Fukashi, Matsumoto 390-8511, Nagano Prefecture

7. Shamisen Geiyukan

Come here for a day of traditional Japanese music. Shamisen Geiyukan is a small hall at which you can hear shamisen and hauta songs. Hauta are traditional Japanese songs from the Edo period. They are sung with the accompaniment of the shamisen instrument.


  • Name: Shamisen Geiyukan
  • Address: 2 Chome-10 Chuo, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
  • Price: 700 yen
  • Opening hours: Sunday at 1:30 and 3PM

8. Kametaya Sake Breweries

Kametaya Sake breweries is located in a beautiful area at the foothills of a mountain. It is surrounded by trees, which provides some excellent scenery for visitors. The brewery is actually one of the original farmhouses of Matsumoto. Visitors can also take home various blends of sake to enjoy.


  • Name: Kametaya Sake Breweries
  • Address:2748 Shimadachi, Matsumoto 390-0852,Nagano Prefecture
  • Price: 2000 yen
  • Opening hours: Sun-Sat 9AM-5PM

9. Kamikochi and Hiking

Kamikochi is translated as “where gods descend”. It is the main attraction of he Central Mountains National Park. The park has an amazing pond and a beautiful bridge, making it a popular tourist spot. Hiking and climbing Kamiochi is a popular activity with the most popular mountains being the Yari-ga-take and the Hotaka-dake.


  • Name: Kamikochi
  • Address: Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, JapanPrice: Varies

10. Monkey Onsen

467053435_3456a9bd1b_bSource: Steph Gray

The Jigokudani Yaen-Koen is a very interesting spot and a must-go for tourists. It is well known as the “Monkey Onsen”. During the wintertime, there are many monkeys who come to this area. They are used to humans and so many photographers come by to photograph them. It is definitely an unique experience!


  • Name: Jigokudani Yaen-Koen
  • Address: Yamanochi-machi Shimotakai-gun,Nagano
  • Price: 500 yen
  • Opening hour: Sunday-Saturday: 8:30AM-5PM
  • Website: http://jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp/

11. Daio Wasabi Farm

For those in love with spicy sushi, Daio Wasabi Farm is definitely a treat. It is considered Japan’s largest wasabi farm. It is popular for its delicious soba noodles and wasabi flavored ice cream and food products.


  • Name: Daio Wasabi Farm
  • Address: 3640 Hotaka, Azumino, Nagano Prefecture 399-8303, Japan
  • Price: free
  • Opening hour: Sunday-Saturday 9AM-5PM
  • Website: http://www.daiowasabi.co.jp/#_=_

12. Shop at Matsumoto Ekimae

This is a shopping center with many shops that specialize in regional souvenirs and specialties. It is a great place for tourists looking to bring back a little piece of Japan with them and to give away as gifts.


  • Name: Matsumoto Ekimae
  • Address:2 Chome-1-23 Chuo, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture 390-0811

13. Eat some soba noodles

3672471620_92bd8e162d_bSource: yoppy

If you are in Matsumoto, you must get some Soba, which is the Japanese buckwheat noodle. This area is famous for them. While most people are familiar with ramen noodles, soba is something very different. Be sure to try a sob restaurant to experience some tasty Japanese food.

14. Get some Oyaki

Oyaki is a local delicacy that has been eaten in Matsumoto and the Nagona area for a very long time. They are steamed buns with some vegetable and meat fillings. They are very popular and can be bought almost everywhere!

15. Fukujuso Festival

If you find yourself in Matsumoto during the spring time, be sure to check out the Shiga Fukujuso Festival. The Fukujuso is a type of wildflower that is the flower that blooms the earliest in Matsumoto. It is an exciting time because it signifies that the winter is coming to an end!

16. Nighttime Cherry Blossom

Cherry blossoms are already beautiful on their own during the day time. However, an event at Matsumoto castle occurs at night when all the cherry trees are lit. It makes for a magical night and the event is free. You can also drink traditional Japanese tea and eat some delicious food while taking in the sights.

17. Japanese Court and Open-air Architectural Museum

This museum was built during the Meiji era and is currently the only wooden court in Japan. There are many exhibits and displays which include the equipment used by Police in the 1800s such as the infamous Ninja Stars. There is also an outdoor area that shows prisons and an old silk factory. There is plenty to see at this interesting historical museum.


  • Name: Matsumoto Open-Air Architectural Museum
  • Address: 2196-1 Shimadachi
  • Price: 400 yen
  • Opening hour: Tues-Sun 9AM-4:30PM

18. Craft Fair Matsumoto

If you are a creative type, this is a great event in Matsumoto for you. It is one of the biggest craft fairs in Japan. There are many types of crafts you can explore such as woodworking, ceramics, glass-working, smithing, and more. Definitely an event to check out for the summer if you want to get some unique items to bring home!

19. Heavenly Marathon

For those who are very active runners, the Heavenly marathon in Norikura is held in the summer. It is a very popular marathon for runners all over Japan. More than 1200 runners enter every year and it is an unique and great way to sightsee while you are in Matsumoto!

20. Yasaka-sama Festival

Another great summer festival held in downtown Matsumoto. During this holiday, children visit the shrines of their neighborhood and pray for happiness while offering reed and paper banners. Each child writes their name and age in calligraphy and honors the mighty Yasaka God.

Matsumoto is a vibrant place that has plenty to offer for in terms of historical sites and interesting events. Come every season for something new in the area!

Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Chubu Region, Japan, Nagano Prefecture