Top things to do

Top Choice Castle in Matsumoto

Matsumoto-jō

Must-see Matsumoto-jō is Japan's oldest wooden castle and one of four castles designated National Treasures – the others are Hikone, Himeji and Inuyama. The striking black-and-white three-turreted donjon (main keep)…
Museum in Matsumoto

Utsukushi-ga-hara Open Air Museum

Atop Utsukushi-ga-hara-kōgen plateau you'll find this seemingly random sculpture garden with some 350 pieces, mostly by Japanese sculptors. The surrounding countryside provides an inspiring backdrop. Nearby are plea…
Museum in Matsumoto

Matsumoto Open-Air Architectural Museum

Adjacent to the better-known Japan Ukiyo-e Museum, amid fields and rice paddies beneath the gaze of the Alps, stand these five examples of striking late Edo- and early Shōwa-era architecture for you to explore. The …
Japanese Curry in Matsumoto

Delhi

One of our favourites, this little 'ma and pa' outfit has been serving delicious curry rice (Japanese style) in an adorable former storehouse by the river since 1970. If you like tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlets), …
Ramen in Matsumoto

Menshō Sakura

Miso and ramen fans should not go past this purveyor of fine noodles. Miso-rāmen and black Kuro-miso rāmen are the specialities of the house: both rank highly. The gyōza (dumplings) are crunchy and the beer is cold.…
Museum in Matsumoto

Japan Ukiyo-e Museum

Housing more than 100,000 woodblock prints, paintings, screens and old books, this renowned museum exhibits but a fraction of its collection. The museum is approximately 3km from JR Matsumoto Station (about ¥1600 by…
Parade in Matsumoto

Asama Onsen Taimatsu Matsuri

Around the start of October, Asama Onsen celebrates the spectacular and slightly manic fire festival, wherein groups of men, women and children, shouting 'wa-sshoi!', like a mantra, parade burning bales of hay throu…
Area in Matsumoto

Nawate-dōri

Nawate-dōri, a few blocks from the castle, is a popular place for a stroll. Vendors along this riverside walk sell antiques, souvenirs and delicious tai-yaki (filled waffles in the shape of a carp) of varying flavou…
French in Matsumoto

Restaurant Taiman

Dress in your Sunday best for lunch or dinner course menus of exquisitely presented French haute cuisine, prepared from fresh local produce where possible. Elegant and refined, this très jolie restaurant is bound to…
Parade in Matsumoto

Matsumoto Bonbon

Matsumoto's biggest event takes place on the first Saturday in August, when over 25,000 people of all ages perform the 'bonbon' dance through the streets, well into the hot summer's night. Be prepared to be drawn in…