Matsumoto, Japan

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Matsumoto, Japan

Region: Nagano Prefecture

Geographic Coordinates: 36.238000, 137.972000
Temperature Range: -10.0°C to 30.0°C (14°F to 86°F)
Climate: Cold winters, mild springs and autumns, and hot summers with high humidity.
Population: 239115
Language: Japanese

Matsumoto, Located in Nagano Prefecture of Japan, Is a city known for its natural beauty, Cultural heritage and historical landmarks. With a population of approximately 240, 000 people and an area of around 978 square kilometers, Matsumoto offers visitors a unique blend of experiences. One of the most popular attractions in Matsumoto is the Matsumoto Castle which was built over 400 years ago. Visitors can explore the castle’s interior which features exhibits on samurai culture and weapons. Another must-visit destination in Matsumoto is Nakamachi-dori Street where traditional wooden buildings have been converted into shops, Cafes and restaurants.

Matsumoto boasts several museums that showcase its rich cultural heritage. The Matsumoto City Museum focuses on local history while the Japan Ukiyo-e Museum displays traditional Japanese woodblock prints from famous artists such as Hokusai and Hiroshige. Nature lovers will appreciate Matsumoto’s proximity to Kamikochi National Park which offers stunning views of snow-capped mountains, Crystal-clear streams and lush forests. The park is home to several hiking trails that range from easy strolls to challenging climbs for experienced hikers. visitors can experience authentic Japanese hot springs at one of Matsumoto’s many onsens (hot spring resorts).

These natural hot springs are believed to have healing properties due to their high mineral content and are a popular way for locals to relax after a long day. whether you are interested in history or nature or simply taking a break from city life, Matsumoto is an ideal destination for travelers looking to experience authentic Japanese culture with delicious cuisine options along with opportunities to relax and unwind.

Important Landmarks

  1. Matsumoto Castle – One of Japan’s most beautiful and oldest castles.
  2. Nakamachi Street – A historic street lined with traditional buildings and shops.
  3. Daio Wasabi Farm – A farm famous for its wasabi fields and products.
  4. Hotaka Shrine – A Shinto shrine with impressive architecture and natural surroundings.
  5. Matsumoto City Museum of Art – An art museum featuring works by local artists as well as international exhibits.
  6. Agatanomori Park – A large park with beautiful cherry blossom trees in the spring.
  7. Nawate Street – A charming street filled with souvenir shops, cafes, and restaurants.
  8. Kamikochi National Park- A stunning natural reserve located in the Northern Japanese Alps.
  9. Matsumoto Folkcraft Museum- A museum displaying traditional crafts from the region.
  10. Kaichi School Museum- A former school building now turned into a museum showcasing the history of education in Japan.

Primary Industries

  1. Tourism: Matsumoto is a popular tourist destination due to its historic castle, hot springs, and scenic mountain views.
  2. Manufacturing: The city has a robust manufacturing industry that produces precision machinery, electronic equipment, and automotive parts.
  3. Agriculture: Matsumoto is located in the Nagano prefecture which is famous for producing high-quality fruits such as apples and grapes.
  4. Healthcare: Several hospitals and medical facilities in Matsumoto provide healthcare services to the local community.
  5. Education: Matsumoto boasts several universities and colleges that offer courses in various fields such as engineering, business management, and arts.
  6. Retail: The city has numerous shopping centers and department stores that cater to both locals and tourists.
  7. Food industry: Matsumoto’s food industry includes traditional Japanese cuisine such as soba noodles, miso soup, sushi rolls etc., as well as international cuisine like Italian pasta or French pastries which can be found in many restaurants throughout the city.

Noteable History

  1. Matsumoto Castle: This castle was built in the 16th century and is one of Japan’s most significant castles. It played an important role during the Sengoku period.
  2. Yayoi period: The area around Matsumoto has been inhabited since the Yayoi period (300 BC to 300 AD). Archaeological sites have been found in the area, indicating that it was a thriving community during this time.
  3. Ogasawara Clan: The Ogasawara clan ruled over Matsumoto during the Edo period (1603-1868). They were known for their military prowess and their contributions to Japanese culture.
  4. Kaichi School: The Kaichi School is a historic school building that was established in 1876. It played an important role in modernizing education in Japan.
  5. Nakamura Utaemon IV: Nakamura Utaemon IV was a famous Kabuki actor who lived in Matsumoto from 1959 until his death in 2001.
  6. Higashiyama Kaii: Higashiyama Kaii was a famous Japanese artist who lived and worked in Matsumoto for many years.
  7. Shinshu University: Shinshu University is one of Japan’s top universities and has its main campus located in Matsumoto.
  8. World War II bombing raids: During World War II, several bombing raids were conducted on Matsumoto by Allied forces, resulting in significant damage to the city’s infrastructure and buildings.

Overall, these events and people have contributed significantly to shaping the history and culture of Matsumoto, making it an important city within Japan’s rich cultural heritage landscape today.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Matsumoto Castle
  2. Japan Ukiyo-e Museum
  3. Matsumoto City Museum of Art
  4. Nawate Street (Old Town)
  5. Agatanomori Park
  6. Kaichi School Museum
  7. Yohashira Shrine
  8. Nakamachi Street (Old Town)
  9. Kurassic-kan Museum
  10. Matsumoto Folkcraft Museum

Sports Teams

  1. Matsumoto Yamaga FC: Founded in 1965, this football club plays in the J3 League, which is the third tier of Japanese professional football.
  2. Matsumoto Phoenix: A basketball team that competes in the National Basketball League of Japan.
  3. Matsumoto Sable: This women’s volleyball team plays in V.League Division 2.
  4. Matsumoto City Rugby Football Club: An amateur rugby club that was founded back in 1974 and now competes in local leagues.
  5. Shinshu University Baseball Club: This baseball team represents Shinshu University and has produced several professional players over the years.
  6. Matsumoto Cycling Club: An active cycling community with regular group rides and events throughout the year.

Overall, Matsumoto has a strong tradition of supporting local sports and fitness activities for all ages and abilities.

Cultural Events

  1. Matsumoto Castle Festival is a two-day event held in early November to celebrate the beauty of Matsumoto Castle, which is illuminated at night.
  2. The Taiko Drum Festival takes place in July and features traditional Japanese drumming performances by local taiko drum groups.
  3. The Matsumoto Bonbon Festival is a summer festival held in August that offers visitors a variety of street performers, food vendors and cultural activities.
  4. Celebrating the local soba noodles of Nagano Prefecture, the Shinshu Soba Festival is held in October with food stalls and cooking demonstrations.
  5. From late September to early November, the Kamikochi Autumn Leaves Festival celebrates the changing colors of autumn foliage in Kamikochi National Park with various events and activities.
  6. Every August, international musicians gather for the Matsumoto International Music Festival where classical music performances take center stage.
  7. Held every three years (next one scheduled for 2022), the Japan Alps Art Festival showcases contemporary art installations throughout Matsumoto city and surrounding areas.
  8. On the first Saturday of August each year, visitors can enjoy a beautiful display of pyrotechnics at Hotaka Shrine Fireworks Display that lights up the night sky over Hotaka Shrine.


Local Delicacies in Matsumoto

  1. Soba noodles: Matsumoto is famous for its soba noodles made from locally grown buckwheat.
  2. Hida beef: This high-quality beef is produced in nearby Takayama and is often served as steak or shabu-shabu.
  3. Oyaki: These steamed buns filled with vegetables or meat are a popular snack in the region.
  4. Wasabi: Matsumoto is home to one of Japan’s largest wasabi farms, and fresh wasabi can be found at many local restaurants.
  5. Izakaya: These Japanese-style pubs serve a variety of small dishes and drinks, making them a popular spot for locals to socialize after work.

Recommended Restaurants in Matsumoto

  1. Sobadokoro Rikyu (そば処 利久): A traditional soba noodle restaurant located near Matsumoto Castle.
  2. Daio Wasabi Farm (大王わさび農場): A farm-to-table restaurant that serves dishes made with fresh wasabi grown on-site.
  3. Kura (蔵): An izakaya that specializes in Hida beef and local sake.
  4. Yamabe (やまべ): A cozy restaurant known for its homemade oyaki and other traditional Japanese dishes.
  5. Jizakeya Nakanoya (地酒屋 なかのや): A sake bar that offers a wide selection of local brews along with small plates of food to pair with them.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Matsumoto Castle Park is a beloved public park that surrounds the iconic Matsumoto Castle. This park is an ideal spot for cherry blossom viewing, picnics, and walking trails.
  2. The Nawate Shopping Street is a historic street lined with traditional shops selling souvenirs, snacks, and crafts.
  3. Agata no Mori Park is a stunning forested park offering hiking trails and a playground for children.
  4. The Alps Azumino National Government Park is located just outside of Matsumoto city and boasts camping facilities, hiking trails, fishing spots, cycling paths and other outdoor activities.
  5. Kamikochi National Park offers some of Japan’s most beautiful scenery in the Northern Japan Alps with breathtaking mountain views and hiking trails.
  6. The Matsumoto City Museum of Art showcases works by local artists as well as international exhibitions.
  7. Kappa Bridge is an iconic pedestrian bridge located in Kamikochi National Park that provides incredible views of the surrounding mountains.
  8. Visitors can also relax in natural mineral waters at several hot springs (onsen) around the area after exploring the city or hiking in the mountains around it.


Enjoy The Journey.

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