As you travel throughout Japan, you must visit Matsumoto・Kiso Area in Nagano prefecture. There are many attractive sightseeing places in this area. In addition, this area is easily accessible from Shinjuku station. Today, we provide some places in Matsumoto ・Kiso Area should be near the top of your “must go” list while traveling throughout Japan.
ABOUT MATSUMOTO ・KISO AREA
This area has many historical architectures and places. Especially, Matsumoto-jo castle and Narai-juku are one of the most famous historical places in Nagano. On the other hands, their Kiso area is about ten locations of Syukuba that is an old town in the Edo era(1603 ~ 1867 / Samurai time).
Traditional craft is Japanese “Dento Kogei”, that is a product that has been made for a long term ago. Kiso is a famous traditional crafts area in Japan. Especially, Kiso Shikki (local lacquerware products) is a represented product of Kiso area. On the other hand, Matsumoto is well known as a craft city.
Matsumoto ・ Kiso area has a diversity nature. Northern Alps can be looked from Matsumoto. Ontake mountain which is famous as a holy volcano, can be looked from Kiso. In addition, Japanese old auther Toson Shimazaki said “Kiso rote is all inside the mountain”. Kiso has rich forest environmental.
VISIT MATSUMOTO CASTLE
Matsumoto-jo Castle (松本城) is a Japanese-style castle built about 400 years ago. This castle is called ”The crow castle”. You can take a beautiful pictures Matsumoto-jo Castle with cherry blossoms and the Northern Alps. In addition, there are some historical destinations and sightseeing places around the Matsumoto-jo castle.
Kamikochi (上高地) is a name of vary area in Matsumoto city. Kamikochi area has the official English website, it is very easy to understand. We recommend looking at the below website. And one last thing, Kamikochi is extremely changing temperature, especially, you feel really different before you walk and after you walk. You don’t forget outerwear.
VISIT UTSUKUSHIGAHARA HIGHLANDS
There Utsukusigahara Highlands (美ヶ原高原) is an almost center, a part of the biggest national park (39,857ha) in Nagano prefecture. The top of the mountain is a pasture. There are many kinds of alpine plants and several places of great viewpoints, so we recommend that you try to walk a tracking course. Please be careful of attire, because Utsukushigahara is altitude 2000 meters place.
WALK TO NAWATE STREET
Nawate street (繩手通り) is town street that are characteristic shops to form a line in Matsumoto city. Visitor can arrive about 10 minutes from Matsumoto station, 5 minutes from Matsumoto-jo castle. An origin of a name “Nawate” is “Street is long like a rope”. A rope is Japanese Nawa. This street is an only walker street, so safety. Nawate has a symbol character that is “Frog”. If you like a frog, you must visit this street. Every year, the frog festival is carried out.
WALK TO NAKAMACHI TOWN
There are many historical buildings in Nakamachi Dori (中町通り) Street in Matsumoto City. Nakamachi has various kind of individual cool shops, Cafe, Art & Gallery, Resturant, Sweets, and Souvenir, and much more… There is an important notice, a number of shops are closed on Wednesday. We recommend looking at the below website.
WALK TO NARAI-JUKU
Narai-Juku (奈良井宿) is a Japanese traditional townscape. Samurai period〔Edo (Tokyo〕 era 1603-1868), this area was one of the main ways (this way was called Nakasendo) to transport from Kyoto to Edo（Tokyo）. We can look a state of remaining Japanese traditional townscape and feel a historical atmosphere.
WALK TO TSUMAGO JUKU
Tsumago-juku (妻籠宿) is located in Nagiso town, Kiso area. This place was like the same role as Narai-juku, during the Edo period, traveler, merchant, administrator used transport Edo (now Tokyo) with Kyoto. We recommend buying “Kuri-Kinton” in Tsumago-juku. Kuri-Kinton is one of the traditional Japanese sweet, that is a small bun made from steamed chestnuts and sugar.
VISIT KISO VALLEY
Kiso Valley (木曽谷) is one of the Nagano’s well kept secret place. There is 6 town and villages between the Central Alps and Mt, Ontake. Samurai period, Kiso was one of the main ways (this way was called Nakasendo) to transport from Kyoto to Edo. We can look a state of remaining Japanese traditional townscape and atmosphere. On another hand, there are many nature spots in Kiso Valley. Especially, Nezame no Toko (寝覚ノ床) is constructed for strangely shaped rocks and crystal clear river. we can feel the old culture and beautiful nature in Kiso Valley.
THINGS TO DO IN MATSUMOTO・KISO AREA
We’ve given you some recommend places of Matsumoto ・ Kiso area in Nagano, but there are many more just waiting for you to discover. Add a little bit of creative flavor to your next travel in Japan by including destinations Matsumoto ・ Kiso’s attractive places on your travel itinerary.