I was going through my photos and realized I have not yet written about Matsumoto, the quaint city in the Nagano Prefecture in Japan. It was actually out of the way coming from Kamikochi to Nagoya, but after a few searches in the internet we decided to spend a night in this lovely city, and boy did we make the right decision! In fact, from our last holiday in Japan, D commented he found Matsumoto as one of his personal favorites, and would not hesitate to go back. So here are the favorite things from our trip to Matsumoto:
With a pretty much flat terrain, it’s quite easy to cycle around Matsumoto. It was not part of the initial plan, but when we were walking to the hotel we saw these green-colored line of bicycles and discovered they were rented for free, compliments of Sui Sui Town. All we had to do was register our IDs at any of the allocated parking slots (we got ours from the Matsumoto City Museum next to the Matsumoto Castle). From thereon we were able to get to several of the destinations indicated in the city map that we got. It was quite fun!
Matsumoto Timepiece Museum
The Matsumoto Timepiece Museum was a nice find for me, and I was glad that D brought me here. It’s a small museum showcasing well preserved clocks, sundials, and they also even have phonographs. I watched in awe as the mechanical clocks operated. There was a big pendulum clock outside the museum, and I was told it was the biggest in Japan.
The one word I wrote to describe the Matsumoto Castle was magnificent. It is one of the top 3 most beautiful original castles in Japan, a black castle also known as Crow Castle. We were able to get inside the castle and climbed our way up through its wooden floors. I liked how it is surrounded by the Japan Alps in the distance, and I imagined it would be very pretty especially around winter.
This is a quirky frog-themed shopping street a few minutes away by foot (or closer by bike) from the Matsumoto Timepiece Museum and the Matsumoto Castle. Every shop had a frog statue, and I read from its history that these frogs brought good luck. Souvenirs and snacks fill the shops, and I guess D’s favorite shop would be the vintage shop at the street’s entrance. He was able to buy a vintage Seiko business man’s watch here for a very good deal.
Other things that added to the city’s charm
Well, for starters, there were the pretty manhole covers.
And then there’s the Town Sneakers, red-spotted buses following four inner city loops for easier sight-seeing.
And then there’s the Former Kaichi school built in 1876.
Lastly we also saw Genchi Well, a natural spring water source of the city.
It was also in that recent Japan trip that I discovered how awesome Japanese curry dishes are. When we were about to leave Matsumoto via bus, a man greeted us near the bus station, saying “Arigato Gozaimasu”. We greeted him an “Ohayo Gozaimasu” and smiled back, and then it was a bit later on realized he was the man from the Japanese curry restaurant we ate at the previous day. It was quite touching he remembered our faces, and even said thank you for visiting his city. We were thankful for having had the opportunity as well. It was a truly remarkable vacation.