Matsumoto City is probably most well-known overseas for its historic castle, the Matsumoto Castle, which is over 400 years old and a National Treasure of Japan. Nagano’s second largest city also has lots else to offer, which WAttention will introduce in this 4-part Matsumoto Must sightseeing series. 


Around an hour and 15 minutes by bus and train from Matsumoto lies one of Japan’s 100 famous mountains, Mount Norikura, which is the third tallest peak of the Northern Japan Alps at 3,026m. It is a popular destination for enjoying the autumn colors and a popular way to enjoy the mountain is by taking the bus to the summit and walking down to the next bus stop.


The wooden “post town” or accommodation in the Kiso Valley for weary travelers who walked thousands of miles between the trade route of Kyoto to Edo continues to provide accommodation for those looking to travel back in time to 200 years ago. Some of the buildings now sell traditional snacks such as oyaki or souvenirs. The houses are built at an angle to each other and not flushed in a line so that all the houses are visible in a row. Just 45 minutes west of Matsumoto by the JR Chuo Line.


Known as the Swiss Alps of Japan for its picturesque mountain scenery, Kamikochi is 51km west of Matsumoto and has hiking trails of various levels, the shortest of which can be completed in an hour. Come here for fresh alpine air and river fish. Or stay overnight at some of the accommodation available at this national park and try some river fish, such as ayu or iwana. Private cars are not allowed to drive into the park, but there are buses and taxis that ply there.