Matsumoto (松本) is a large city in Nagano prefecture.  The castle and shopping streets make for a nice day, so many people stop off here if before snowboarding/skiing in Hakuka.

Budget travel tips

  • Pick up at free tourist map at the Tourist Information Center in Matsumoto station (3rd floor)

  • It’s quite possible to walk everywhere, and do it all in one day.  English language signs are everywhere.

Places of interest

Matsumoto Castle

Stunning, huge castle not far from the station.  A volunteer group provide free tours in English (booth just inside the entrance).

Price: Adults 600 yen, Children 300 yen

Open: 8:30-17:00 (closed Dec 29 – Jan 3)

Nakamachi Shopping Area

Nice shopping streets around the river, with traditional  Japanese warehouses, foods and drinks.  Check our recommended route on the map above.

How to get there

With the Japan Rail Pass

From Kyoto station, take the Shinkansen (JR bullet train) to Nagoya station, then the Limited Express to Matsumoto station (160 mins).

From Osaka station,  take the Shinkansen (JR bullet train) from Shin-Osaka station to Nagoya station, then the Limited Express to Matsumoto station (3 hours).

From Tokyo station, take the Limited Express Azusa /Super Azusa (JR train) to Matsumoto station (about 150 mins).

Without the Japan Rail Pass

From TokyoKyoto or Osaka, get a bus with Willer Express (click link at the top for English) or use the Japan Bus Pass.


Recommended Hostels and Cheap Hotels

Kaze-no Yasuyado

Free pick-up from the station and free bicycles make this a great deal for single travelers or groups. Check prices at

Matsumoto Backpackers

Best for groups or pairs.  Traditional Japanese tatami floors for the dormitory. Check prices at

More at

Free Volunteer Guides

Alps Language Service Association – onsite at Castle and in winter via (2 weeks notice required)

Matsumoto SGG Club –

Published by Matthew Baxter

Japan travel writer and onsen addict