• See some of Nagano prefecture’s cultural heritage sites and try samples of Nagano’s most famous foods and drinks • Easy transportation between attractions of Matsumoto and Nagano by a sit-in-coach bus • See Matsumoto Castle, one of the few remaining original castles in Japan • Visit and wander around the Japan’s biggest wasabi farm and learn how the plant is grown • Enjoy a local lunch • Try Nagano’s soul foods like miso, sake, and wasabi and challenge your expectations • Learn about sake at one of Matsumoto’s breweries
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.