With a range of hotels and picturesque ryokan, plus the pristine Azusa River running through the city, Matsumoto is a mountain retreat with all the comforts of the city.
In Matsumoto City, you’ll find all the good stuff like a historic castle, local craft beer, clean water from the surrounding mountains, gorgeous onsen (hot springs) and even world-renowned pop art from legendary Yayoi Kusama. The city is also a great launch pad to go to other natural gems in Nagano Prefecture.
It’s a breeze to get to this chill getaway—only about three hours from Tokyo— so what are you waiting for? Here are some of the top spots, plus other highlights of Nagano if you decide to venture out of the city.
We’ll start with the biggest and best highlight, the great Matsumoto Castle. This behemoth is one of the last standing 12 original castles of Japan and is packed with history. The classic view of red bridges crossing moats is enhanced at night when the castle seems to glow with the moon overhead. The castle’s iconic scenery makes it worth visiting in any season, though if you can catch the cherry blossoms in spring, go for it! The impending black structure is one of the best places to experience a Japanese castle in central Japan.
Nearby is Nakamachi Street, where you can take a trip back to days bygone and visit old merchant houses.
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