Matsumoto Travel Guide   松本

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Thermal Alps

Overlooked by nine peaks over 3000m, Matsumoto and its castle is a true natural fortress.

The scenery is breathtaking, and it is easy to get lost in the contemplation of the Japanese Alps reflecting in a lake in the mountain mist, or in admiration of the cherry blossoms. Mastumoto is definitely the pearl of the Japanese Alps.

A Beautiful Itinerary

With Nagano or Takayama for neighbors, perched on the plateau of Utsukushigahara (literally "beautiful meadow"), Matsumoto offers an attractive itinerary.

Between the beautiful hiking trails in the Alpine National Park (near Mount Norikuradake), hot springs (no less than 16) rich in minerals and renowned for their health benefits, as well as its culinary peculiarities (the sake of the region is produced from the finest grains of rice in Japan) Matsumoto is a must see.

From Castle to Warehouses

But what stands out the most in Matsumoto is the imposing Matsumoto-jō , also known by the Japanese as "raven",  because of its black color. Its keep offers an magnificent view in any season. With 6 floors and 5 levels, it is the oldest of its kind in Japan and its architecture is typical of the Sengoku era (1477-1573), a troubled time marked by civil wars and the building of many castles in Japan.

A fort city, Matsumoto was at one time also industrialised, which is still reflected in the neighborhood of Nakamichi with its typical warehouses of the Meiji era. Many of these kura be visited today, now converted into galleries, shops and restaurants. It is also nice to walk in the very pedestrian Nawate street, offering a resemblance of the south with its many cafes in street edge.