Sylvain Danjaume

Sylvain

Originally from the Hautes-Alpes department of France, Sylvain came to Matsumoto where he found an environment which reminded him of the French Alps where he was born. So, feeling very much at home, he soon decided to settle there and has now been living at the foot of the Japanese Alps for a year. Having worked in a hotel welcoming foreign tourists and as a translator for the city of Matsumoto, he also took part in the creation of its official internet site. He will therefore be a perfect guide to show you around every nook and cranny of the city.

His/Her background

Having finished his studies in Marseilles, Sylvain first lived in Strasbourg, working in real estate for 4 years. But he still had a strong desire to set off for adventures and faraway horizons, so he decided to go and live in Australia for a year.

On his way back, he made a detour into Asia and more particularly Japan, a country for which he had always felt a great affinity, and this trip would prove to be the beginning of a new adventure.

When he got back to France, he then went off and worked in Portugal, still thinking about his plans to move to Japan. And when he came back from Portugal after less than a year, he worked in Lyons while he prepared his Japanese project.

He then happened upon an opportunity to work in Japan and more specifically in Hakuba valley. Since then, he hasn’t left the region of Nagano and now lives in Matsumoto.

His/Her advice for you

Must-see :

Matsumoto castle is one of the 4 castles in Japan which have been labelled as national treasures and it is therefore one of the finest Japanese cultural heritage sites. You can also visit the historical districts and discover the traditional and contemporary arts which thrive in the city.

Matsumoto is also a major center for classical music in Japan and it is the birthplace of Seiji Ozawa, a celebrated Japanese musician and recipient of the French Legion of Honor. It is also the birthplace of the Suzuki method, way of teaching music which has today been adopted across the whole world.

Come and discover the Talent Education Institute, where the Suzuki method was taught for the first time and also visit the Memorial site dedicated to Suzuki Shin’ichi.

To bring back with you :

A water bottle: Matsumoto abounds in a large quantity of top-quality water, which can be found in abundance throughout the city’s wells. Come and fill your water bottle in one of the wells and enjoy the water which is naturally pure, cool and refreshing.

Things to do :

Onsens: Matsumoto is a first-class spa destination thanks to the presence of several hot springs throughout the city and its surrounding area. Some of its thermal springs offer breathtaking views into the bargain. Come and relax in the region’s thermal waters and enjoy a restful and relaxing time.

Make your own Soba and eat it on site or as a takeout. This is an unmissable experience, just like having a go at the Taiko, a traditional Japanese drum, during a workshop where you can learn the basics. Also come and discover traditional Shamisen music.

A few kilometers from Matsumoto, there is also a wasabi farm which is well worth seeing.

Words to Know :

Yama wa Kirei” which means “the mountains are beautiful”. The inhabitants of Matsumoto love their mountains and are very proud of them; they will appreciate hearing these words.

Dishes to Try :

Matsumoto is famous for the quality of its Soba and it the ideal place to sample this typically Japanese dish. Horse meat is also one of the region’s specialties, and you will find plenty of restaurants offering this dish on their menu.

To go with your meal, try some of the region’s wine, especially from the Shiojiri area, a town close to Matsumoto which is considered as wine country.  

Traps to avoid :

Settle for only visiting the castle and not the city’s historical districts, also missing out on enjoying the city’s surrounding areas. Matsumoto is not just a city, it is also an ideal starting point for exploration of the Japanese Alps and to enjoy nature in all its glory.

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