15 Best Things To Do in Matsumoto City

Matsumoto is known as one of the most picturesque Japanese towns. It is located in the Nagano province. Thousands of local and foreign tourists visit this town every year to see Matsumoto’s famous castle. The locals believe that it is the best castle ever built in Japan.

You get a chance to see the beauty of the Japanese Alps and many scenic locations when spending your holidays in Matsumoto. It’s the best Japanese city for slow tourism. You must spend at least two days in this city to enjoy a memorable holiday.

Continue reading this Matsumoto travel guide and you will know 15 things to do in this beautiful city.

Visit the Matsumoto Castle:

Matsumoto Castle
Matsumoto Castle

It’s the most beautiful Japanese castle built during the Sengoku period in 1504. It was originally known as the Fukashi Castle and now people simply call it the Matsumoto Castle. It must be a part of your Matsumoto itinerary plan if you love to visit historic sites.

Very few Japanese castles survived after the 2nd World War. Matsumoto Castle is the original building standing tall as the real heritage of the Japanese culture. This castle offers a warm welcome to all the tourists. You can take a beautiful view of the city if you climb at the top!

The Matsumoto City Museum and gallery are located inside the castle. The museum endorses old Japanese weapons and many ancient Japanese artefacts. Therefore, you must visit this castle.

Visit the Matsumoto Timepiece Museum:

Matsumoto Timepiece Museum
Matsumoto Timepiece Museum

This beautiful museum is an ideal destination to visit during the daytime. It features Japan’s largest pendulum clock! That’s the main attraction, but it also guards charming clocks. The large clock is visible from the road and you get 300 more clocks and watches inside the museum.

This museum protects several watches and clocks from the medieval period. Here you reveal how ancient Japanese craftsmen used to build clocks at that time. All the clocks and watches were collected and preserved to reveal the quality of Japanese artisans and watchmakers.

It’s the best place for hiking!

Japanese Alps
Japanese Alps

Matsumoto city is surrounded by eye-catching countryside ranges. Some people also call these ranges “Japanese Alps”. You would love to get a closer look at the mountain ranges if you are staying in this city. Move out of the city center and you are all set for hiking.

Matsumoto’s outskirts feature picturesque hot springs, traditional bathhouses, and unlimited greenery. Go for hiking and explore these areas. You will feel exhausted after climbing the mountain ranges. Relive that tiredness by taking a refreshing bath in one of Matsumoto’s bathhouses.

Locals often go camping in the surrounding regions. It offers an opportunity to see the rural regions of Japan. You can hire a local guide or pick a map to follow the best hiking route and enjoy a day trip in lush greenery.

Enjoy local cuisines:

Soba Noodles
Soba Noodles

The restaurants in this city serve many delicious cuisines. You should try the local delicacies. Soba noodles are quite popular in this region. Although these noodles are famous across Japan, the local restaurants serve this cuisine a bit differently.

This city is famous for producing wasabi. Local restaurants serve delicious soba noodles with wasabi paste. It changes the flavour of the dish and you get something unique to try in the lunch and dinner.

Basashi is another popular cuisine served in the restaurants. It means raw horse meat and Matsumoto’s chefs prepare it quite well. There are many other Japanese cuisines and other meals you can try, but you should begin with Soba noodles and Basashi.

Plan a trip to Matsumoto Open Air Architectural Museum:

Matsumoto Open Air Architectural Museum
Matsumoto Open Air Architectural Museum

This beautiful museum is located near the famous Ukiyo-e Museum. Thousands of tourists visit this museum when they pay a visit to the neighbouring museum. It is a scenic site because it’s situated between the encircling mountain ranges and beautiful rice paddies.

This museum offers some rare and beautiful architectural pieces from Showa and Edo periods. Don’t forget to stroll around and click some pictures for your Instagram timeline. Breathtaking view of mountains will force you to revisit this beautiful location.

Attend the Asama Onsen Taimatsu Matsuri event:

Asama Onsen Taimatsu Matsuri is a widely celebrated event in Matsumoto. The celebration takes place at the beginning of October and you shouldn’t miss it if you are in the city during this time of the year. The locals celebrate it as a festival, which is the celebration of Asama Onsen. People stroll across the city and shout local mantras to celebrate the occasion.

Visit Nawate-Dori to buy local goods:

Nawate-Dori
Nawate-Dori

It is the best place for shopping in Matsumoto. This place has served shoppers for many centuries. Located around the beautiful riverbank, Nawate-Dori provides all sorts of Japanese goods. Go for a walk there and you will return with many impressive things.

You can buy traditional snacks, antiques, and some old books at this place. Everything is sold at a reasonable price and shopkeepers are quite friendly. Do not return to the hotel without seeing the frog sculpture because that’s the official mascot of this place.

Go on a bus tour:

It’s the best way of touring the entire city if you do not have too much free time. You will save some time and the bus will take you through all the famous tourist attractions. Ask your guide for the Town Sneaker Bus, which is available every half hour from the main bus station.

The driver stops this bus on all the popular tourist spots. You don’t get enough time to spend on each tourist attraction, but you won’t regret it. Pick places you want to visit again and then use the local transportation service to spend quality time there.

Visit Matsumoto Folkcraft Museum:

Matsumoto Folkcraft Museum
Matsumoto Folkcraft Museum

Japanese people are artists and seasoned craftsmen. They have built many spectacular things till the date which attract a global audience. The Matsumoto Folkcraft Museum offers you a chance to learn everything about local arts and crafts.

This museum features art pieces from the Taro Maruyama’s private art collection. He has collected these unique artefacts for a long time. This museum offers an opportunity to see those handcrafted pieces and learn how the artists had made those things during ancient time.

Visit the Utsukushi-ga-Hara Open Air Museum:

Utsukushi-ga-Hara Open Air Museum
Utsukushi-ga-Hara Open Air Museum

You must be wondering there are so many museums in Matsumoto. That’s true but all the museums are located in scenic locations. Besides, these museums show some of the rarest things which you won’t see anywhere else in the world.

You travel to the Utsukushi-ga-Hara-Kogen Plateau to reach this museum. It features more than 350 sculptures built by talented Japanese craftsmen. It’s basically a garden in which all the sculptures are located in different places.

Learn Soba recipe at Fureai Yamabekan:

Soba Noodles
Soba Noodles

As mentioned earlier, Soba is the most popular cuisine in the city. All restaurants serve it. If you loved the taste and want to prepare it at home, you should visit Fureai Yamabekan. Here you will learn how to prepare Soba and that delicious paste served with the noodles. You won’t too long time to learn it if you love cooking.

Participate in Matsumoto Bonbon:

Matsumoto Bonbon
Matsumoto Bonbon

Bonbon is another popular festival celebrated annually in this city. You can participate in the bonbon if you visit this beautiful city in early August. Above 25,000 people dance on city streets. They perform the famous bonbon dance while walking as a parade.

It’s a spectacular sight and you can be a part of it. Ask your local guide or friend to teach you that amazing dance. Anyone can join the celebration and enjoy the festival on the street. So, go for it if you are in Japan and want to attend the festival.

Visit the Ukiyo-e Museum:

Ukiyo-e Museum
Ukiyo-e Museum

This beautiful museum is the best place in the city to see traditional Japanese woodblock printing. It’s the largest ukiyo-e museum in the world because it displays above 10,000 pieces. It was Yoshiaki Sakai, who had collected all the pieces about 200 years ago. It is a rare collection of woodblock examples and you shouldn’t miss a chance to see it.

Visit the Former Kaichi School:

Former Kaichi School
Former Kaichi School

This beautiful structure was built in 1873 and it still serves as a museum. Although it won’t be easy to visit this site, you should try if your guide can arrange a visit. This museum displays the old teaching and learning methods practised in Japan for many centuries. This school is not too far from the famous Matsumoto Castle. Therefore, you must visit it if possible.

Enjoy Tofu:

Tofu
Tofu

Matsumoto’s inhabitants have been preparing and eating Tofu since the ancient time. Try Tofu Ryori Marui, which is a devious vegan dish served in the restaurants. Several restaurants and roadside food shops offer different recipes to try. Enjoy it because it is quite delicious and your Matsumoto trip is incomplete without it.

It will be a great journey if you can visit most of the suggested destinations. Try everything shown in this Matsumoto travel guide because these things make this place quite special for every vacationer.

15 Best Things To Do in Matsumoto City
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Pranav Das

I’m Pranav Das, Indian Travel blogger & Reputation Management Expert by profession and lover of world cultures, languages, souls, mountains, oceans, and wild spaces.

Articles: 104

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