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Matsumoto: lively mountain town with a hands-on history
Short trip from Tokyo to Matsumoto

I recommend this course!

Kevin Kato / I'm from New Jersey, USA / I have lived in Japan for 12 years.

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For years my life in Japan consisted of teaching English (in Tohoku, Kanto and Kansai) and spending my weekends and holidays cycling, hiking and camping. Now I dedicate my free time to showing my three young children the world while working as a writer and tourism activist among the mountains of Nagano. Beyond Japan I've biked, hiked, boated and otherwise locomoted my way through forty countries across six continents, mostly without a map. My favorite spots in Japan include a traditional Japanese garden in Fukushima, a ramen shop in Takayama, and any mountain with a trail.

Smack dab in the middle of Japan, surrounded by the Northern Alps, a small but vibrant castle town sits like a wide open treasure chest. Crowned with the iconic and imposing black-walled ‘Crow Castle,’ Matsumoto’s charm is easy to see. But her allure, you’ll find, extends far beyond the walls of the old Ninomaru gardens. Soak up the unique and intimate character of bustling, pedestrian Nawate-dori, the centuries-old pathway to Yohashira Shrine now known to the locals as ‘Frog Street.’ Take in the atmosphere of Nakamachi-dori, lined with shops, restaurants and museums housed in the distinctive black-and-white kura warehouses of Japan’s mercantile past. Roam the halls of the old Kaichi Sho-Gakko, Japan’s first elementary school, then check out the colorful surprises of Matsumoto’s Modern Art Museum. Visit a wasabi farm by day and relax in an onsen village by night. And then revel in all the treasures you uncovered in this eminently walkable gem called Matsumoto.

Shinjuku Station

JR Chuo Line limited express, Azusa / Super Azusa (2hr 38min)
¥6,900

Matsumoto Station

Walk (9min)

Nawate-dori pedestrian street.

  • Estimated time:1hr 30min

Take in the shops, sights and smells of playful "Frog Street"

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Lunch (1hr)

  • Estimated time:1hr

Get a taste of Shinshu along the banks of the Metoba River

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Nakamachi-dori and the Well of Genchi

  • Estimated time:1hr 30min

Explore the shops of this former merchant street, then seek out a legendary underground spring

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Walk (7min)

Matsumoto City Museum of Art

  • Estimated time:1hr
  • Estimated cost:¥410

Check out the vision of artists from Japan and abroad

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Walk (10min)

Koucho Stop

Alpico Bus (30min)
¥360

ALPICO Bus

Asama onsen Stop

Walk (5min)

Overnight stay in Asama Onsen

It's an easy ride from downtown Matsumoto to Asama Onsen Village

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Asama onsen Stop

Alpico Bus (13min)
¥360

Matsumotojo, Shiyakushomae Stop

Walk (5min)

Matsumoto Castle

  • Estimated time:1hr
  • Estimated cost:¥610

Walk through the imposing Kuro-mon gate and climb Japan's oldest castle keep

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Matsumoto Rickshaw

  • Estimated time:30min
  • Estimated cost:¥2,000

Tour the town in style, compliments of Matsumoto's tabi-clad rickshaw drivers

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Former Kaichi Elementary School

  • Estimated time:25min
  • Estimated cost:¥300

Educate yourself on one of Japan's oldest elementary schools

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Walk (3min)

Kyukaichigakko Stop

Alpico Bus (11min)

Bus Terminal Kita

Lunch (1hr)

Matsumoto Station

JR Chuo Line/Oito Line (28min)
¥320

Hotaka Station

Walk (1min)

Hotaka eki Stop

Azumino Shuyu Bus (11min)
¥800

Daio Wasabi Nojo Stop

Walk (1min)

Daio Wasabi Farm (1hr 30min)

  • Estimated time:1hr 30min

Get a close-up look at the workings of Japan's largest wasabi farm

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Walk (1min)

Daio Wasabi Nojo Stop

Azumino Shuyu Bus (16min)
¥800

Hotaka eki Stop

Walk (1min)

Hotaka Station

JR Oito Line / Chuo Line (26min)
¥7,330

Matsumoto Station(JR Chuo Line/Oito Line)

Transfer (24min)

Matsumoto Station(JR Chuo Line)

JR Chuo Line limited express, Azusa / Super Azusa (2hr 31min)

Shinjuku Station

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