Explore the tranquil city of Matsumoto-tasting Soba and visiting the old castle.

One of the places I visited using the Japan rail pass, was Matsumoto. I’ve heard that this city was a little bit underrated, so I wanted to give it a try. The weather was beautiful, sunny and warm and the blossoms were already decorating the city.

The last week of March, the city was calm, I saw a few people riding their bycicles and very few tourists. The Metoba river gave the city a charming and welcoming feeling; and the beautiful drainage covers looked like a mosaic collage. The flags moving with the wind with the red dots of artist Yayoi Kusama showed how proud Matsumoto is of this artist who actually lives in New York but was born in Matsumoto. You can find her work at the Matsumoto city museum of art.

Within a short walk from the train station you can find Matsumoto castle, the castle was not crowded, the entrance is free but if you want to go inside, you will need to pay a fee. I was enjoying the warm weather from a bench, first row and in front of me I had the beautiful castle and a school of carps looking for food and opening their big mouths in the water. It was too nice to go inside, I thought.

If you go to Matsumoto, I would reccomend trying Soba, a buckwheat noodle dish typical of this region. My choice was a delicious soba dish with plenty of vegetables at Matsumoto Kobayashy soba restaurant which happened to be next to my hotel, the Soba was very tasteful and the portions were abundant. I also enjoyed the “Cafe” atmosphere of this place and the service was very good. They explained to me the different menu options in English, such as the cold or warm Soba dishes.

During the evening, Matsumoto is very quiet, we had dinner at a restaurnat called: Mt. Baru which had a good selection of wines, and a variety of mediterranean dishes, the vegetables and the truffle fries were delicious!

I think that Matsumoto is a nice place to visit, it is very pedestrian friendly, and even if it is a city it has the charms of a big town, for me one day was enough to enjoy it.

Accomodation:

Where I stayed: Hotel mor-schein Matsumoto

This hotel is walking distance from the train station and also walking distance from Matsumoto castle. The service was very good and friendly and the rooms were spacious and very comfortable.

How to get to Matsumoto:

I went from Takayama to Matsumoto by train using the JR pass. There are trains deparing from Shinjuku and it will take around three hours to arrive to Matsumoto. For especific schedules please visit Hyperdia.

Metoba river in Matsumoto

Matsumoto castle

Matsumoto guide castle

Exploring Matsumoto

Metoba river in Matsumoto

Matsumoto shop

Matsumoto city

Matsumoto kusama artist

Beautiful drainage covers in Matsumoto.

Beautiful drainage covers in Matsumoto.

Matsumoto food soba

Matsumoto food soba

Matsumoto Kobayashy soba restaurant.

Mt. Baru restaurant in Matsumoto.

Man making soba in Matsumoto

Young man making soba in Matsumoto

Have you ever visited Japan? I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

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angela

12 Comments

  1. Even an underrated city is a chance to explore different lifestyles and try out some of the local tastes. Nice post!

  2. I have never tried soba and now I am so curious! Thank you for introducing Matsumoto – looks like a wonderful place to visit <3

  3. Lovely post Angela! I’ve been really inspired to go to Matsumoto for ages but didn’t have the time. I don’t think I have an excuse now. The soba restaurant sounds delicious and the presentation is always a win in my eyes.

    • Hi Sarah, I am glad that my article inspires you to visit Matsumoto. I am sure you would like it as much as I did.

  4. Nice to see your post on Matsumoto and its fantastic castle. I visited this town twice in order to visit Mt Tateyama.

    • Mt. Tateyama must have been such a nice experience, I would love to visit it one day.

      • I hope you can visit it one day. The dam (midway up the mountain) and the mountain are very beautiful. Just watch out for the weather because it changes.

  5. I would love to try soba. If only Japan was closer… One day Thanks for sharing all tips.

    • You are right, Japan is so far away from Europe, that’s why I am enjoying Asia now before I go back to Europe .

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