What to See in Matsumoto: A Travel Guide to Discovering the City's Charm

What to See in Matsumoto: A Travel Guide to Discovering the City's Charm

What to See in Matsumoto: A Travel Guide to Discovering the City's Charm

Matsumoto, a scenic city located in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, is known for its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and charming traditional buildings. Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, or simply seeking a unique travel experience, Matsumoto has something for everyone. Let us embark on a virtual tour of this enchanting city and discover its many wonders!

Matsumoto Castle

No trip to Matsumoto is complete without a visit to its iconic Matsumoto Castle, also known as the "Crow Castle." This impressive feudal-era castle, designated a National Treasure of Japan, has a unique black exterior that sets it apart from other castles in the country. Explore its five stories, climb to the top for a panoramic view of the city, and marvel at the perfectly preserved architecture and historical artifacts within the castle.

Nawate Street

Take a stroll along Nawate Street, a charming pedestrian-friendly street located in the heart of Matsumoto. Lined with traditional shops, cafes, and restaurants, this lively street offers a glimpse into the city's local culture and offers a chance to indulge in traditional Japanese snacks and local delicacies. Don't forget to visit the "Frog Street Museum," featuring an extensive collection of frog-themed artifacts and exhibits.

Matsumoto City Museum of Art

For art enthusiasts, the Matsumoto City Museum of Art is a must-visit attraction. This modern museum showcases a diverse collection of contemporary and traditional Japanese art, including paintings, sculptures, pottery, and calligraphy. Explore the various exhibitions and immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Japanese art and culture.

Hotaka Shrine

Located amidst serene surroundings at the foot of the Japanese Alps, Hotaka Shrine is a tranquil retreat away from the bustling city. This beautiful Shinto shrine is dedicated to the mountain deity and offers a peaceful atmosphere for prayer and contemplation. Take a leisurely walk along the shrine's grounds, admire the intricate shrine architecture, and experience the spiritual aura that envelops Hotaka Shrine.

Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum

If you have an appreciation for art and nature, a visit to Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum is highly recommended. Situated within Matsumoto's picturesque Agatanomori Park, this art museum presents a blend of contemporary and traditional Japanese art amidst gorgeous natural surroundings. Admire the artwork, soak in the peaceful atmosphere, and enjoy the scenic beauty of the park.

Kaichi School Museum

Step back in time and visit the Kaichi School Museum, an architectural gem that symbolizes the Meiji Era's educational reforms in Japan. This well-preserved Western-style building offers a glimpse into the country's historical education system. Explore the classrooms, browse through exhibits of student artworks, and learn about the significance of education during this transformative period in Japanese history.

Utsukushigahara Open-air Museum

Venture outside the city limits and head to the Utsukushigahara Open-air Museum, nestled in the beautiful Utsukushigahara Highland. This unique museum combines art, nature, and breathtaking panoramic views. Explore the outdoor sculpture park, discover various art installations, and be captivated by the stunning vistas that surround the museum. The Utsukushigahara Open-air Museum is truly a feast for the senses.

Matsumoto City Matsumoto Folkcraft Museum

Gain insight into Matsumoto's rich craftsmanship and traditional arts at the Matsumoto City Matsumoto Folkcraft Museum. This museum showcases an impressive collection of local crafts, including lacquerware, ceramics, textiles, and woodwork. Immerse yourself in the city's traditional arts and crafts scene, learn about the techniques and processes behind each craft, and appreciate the skill and creativity of Matsumoto's artisans.


For railway enthusiasts, Kurassic-kan is a must-visit attraction. Housed in a historic train station building, this railway museum offers a fascinating journey through the history of railways in Matsumoto and the surrounding region. Explore the exhibits of vintage locomotives, passenger cars, and railway artifacts. Don't forget to hop aboard a restored steam locomotive for a memorable ride through the beautiful countryside.

Chikuma River

Take a leisurely walk or cycle along the banks of the Chikuma River, the longest river in Japan. Enjoy the tranquility of the river, admire the picturesque scenery, and take in the fresh air. During cherry blossom season in spring, the riverbank comes alive with a stunning display of pink blossoms, offering a truly magical sight.

MATSUMOTO-City, Nagano, Japan

Coordinates: 36.2380° N, 137.9710° E