Welcome to Matsumoto

Formerly known as Fukashi, Nagano Prefecture's second-largest city has been here since the 8th century. In the 14th and 15th centuries it was the castle town of the Ogasawara clan and it continued to prosper through the Edo period to the present.

Today, popular with young Japanese seeking a tree-change and perhaps signalling a new trend of rural repopulation, Matsumoto is one of Japan's finest cities – an attractive, cosmopolitan place loved by its residents. Admirers from around the world come to enjoy its superb castle, pretty streets, galleries, cafes and endearing vistas.

Top experiences in Matsumoto

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Matsumoto activities

$175.64 Cultural & Theme Tours

Matsumoto Private One Day Tour from Nagano with Tour Guide and Round Trip Train

Matsumoto, situated north of Tokyo, is the second largest city in the quiet and secluded Nagano Prefecture. The location offers a magnificent scenic view of the Northern Japan Alps and a unique cultural experience.  On this full-day private tour, your English-speaking tour guide will pick you up from your hotel or at Nagano Station between 9 to 9:30 AM. Start off the day by heading to Matsumoto and visiting the Matsumoto Castle, one of the best preserved castles in Japan that was built over 400 years ago.  After an exciting morning at the Matsumoto Castle, visit Nawate Street (a small pedestrian zone with lots of small shops and restaurants along the river), the "Frog Street" (known for its abundance of frog products) and the Nakamachi Street (famous for its old houses and has a beautiful white tone).  After half a day in Matsumoto, visit the tranquil Hotaka Town where Daio Wasabi Farm is located. It is most recognized as Japan’s largest wasabi farm covering 15 hectares and is a popular tourist destination where you can enjoy and find lots of unique wasabi products including wasabi ice-cream. Near Daio Wasabi Farm is the Hotaka Shrine, a secured hidden dwelling surrounded by old trees, and is said to have a special energy and powerful strength. If there is enough time, guests may pray for good fortune at this shrine before returning to Nagano City. Seasonal Recommendations for This Tour: Spring Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Viewing: Mid-April to Early-May Autumn Foliage (Koyo) Viewing: Early-September to Late-November Winter Festivities: Early-December to Late-March

$173.22 Cultural & Theme Tours

1-Day Nagano to Matsumoto: Castles and Culinary Explorations

Meet your guide at JR Nagano Station at 8:45 (your guide will be there at 8:30).  He/she will take you to your vehicle which will ride through Japan’s countryside to the castle of Matsumoto. Having arrived to the city, your guide will show you the castle and gardens of Matsumoto. The castle is one of the 4 last original castles and has been named a National Treasure of Japan. The castle was built 400 years ago and is still impressive, with black and white walls, giving it the nickname the “crow castle”. The interior is well maintained, and has steep stairs leading all the way to the top floor from where you can see all over the city. You’ll have free time to explore all of the castle or to stroll around the gardens. Matsumoto Castle is a must-visit when in Nagano Prefecture. After two hours of exploring the castle and its surroundings, your guide will take you back on your vehicle and take you to a local miso factory where you will learn about the fermented soy beans. Nagano prefecture produces almost 50% of all the miso in Japan. The miso factory you’ll see is one of the rare remaining miso factories that still makes the fermented soy bean paste according to traditional method. A miso worker will be waiting for you and will show you some of the factory. After learning about miso, get comfortable and enjoy a lunch at the miso factory. Get back in your vehicle and make your way to a local sake brewery. Nagano has the second largest number of sake breweries in Japan, owing to its clear water and clean rice production. In order to make good sake you need these two ingredients to be of good quality and Nagano prefecture has that down. The sake brewery has a history of over 150 years  and produces various kinds of the ricewine. Here you can sample some some of their sake while your guide will explain all about how to recognize good sake. From the sake brewery your driver takes you the Wasabi Farm of Daio. The Daio Wasabi Farm which was founded in 1915 and has grown into the biggest wasabi farm of Japan. Due to the fresh water that springs from underground it is possible to grow wasabi here all year round. While at the farm it is recommended to try fresh wasabi grated straight from the root. Even those not good with wasabi will be surprised by its fresh flavors. Not only can you try fresh wasabi, but also one of the many wasabi flavored foods and drinks, such as a fresh wasabi soft serve or a wasabi beer. At 16:00 your guide and driver will take you back to the bus and head to Nagano Station where you arrive at 17:30 approximately. Continue with your travels through Japan after your guide says his/her goodbyes to you.

$3739.15 Classic

Backroads of Japan

Tokyo and Kyoto—the modern and imperial capitals of Japan, respectively—represent the perfect merger of the ancient and the contemporary. On this trip, you’ll thoroughly explore both and everything in between, from traditional villages and miles of rice fields to ancient temples and the stunning vistas of the Japanese Alps. Snow monkeys, geishas, the teeming pedestrian scrambles of Tokyo’s Shibuya district, and the impossibly friendly staff of your traditional ryokan are just a few of the locals you’ll meet and never forget.

$4099 Classic

Backroads of Japan

Wander off the beaten path away from Japan's big cities and popular sites with this 11-day tour that takes you to destinations that are often overlooked. Visit the treasured castle of Matsumoto and learn about samurai culture, relax in a traditional hot spring-fed onsen, and explore the quaint city of Hagi by bicycle, and settle in at a community homestay to truly immerse yourself in the local culture. Of course, there's time before and after to explore Tokyo and Kyoto, making this trip a well-rounded glimpse into Japan's past and present.