Matsumoto 松本

Matsumoto Castle Matsumoto

Easy access by taking JR's Azusa train from Shinjuku 新宿 or Tachikawa 立川. Matsumoto is a great hub for going to Kamikochi 上高地 for some easy hiking in the mountains or Shirahone Onsen 白骨温泉 for milky white hot springs! Of course, you've got to check out the origin black castle, Matsumoto Castle 松本城, very photogenic from all angles day or night. Another thing to see here is Matsumoto City Museum of Art 松本市美術館 featuring stuff by Yayoi Kusama 草間彌生, the lady that made that very famous polka dot pumpkin in Naoshima 直島. It's quite small. There are also some small shrines around as well as an old street with some local shops.

Matsumoto Castle Matsumoto Castle night Matsumotojo Matsumotojo night
Yayoi Kusama Museum Matsumoto Yayoi Kusama Matsumoto
Matsumoto Matsumoto
山賊焼 Don't miss the local dish, which I translate as "Grilled Mountain Thief " 松本名物 山賊焼, basically a large piece of fried chicken but somehow even more delicious! There's an old elementary school called Kyu Kaichi Gakko 旧開智学校 from the Meiji Period that's mildly interesting with some cool old photographs from way back when. We also walked to Matsumoto Alps Park 松本アルプス公園 There are 2 buses there/back a day but we walked, half of it uphill (not too bad though). We just followed the signs (in Japanese). You do get nice views of the mountains and there are places for kids to play as well as a petting zoo. The "Dream Coaster" roller sled (410 yen for a 630 slide) was closed at the end of the year and it was really quite cold so we didn't stay long even though it took over an hour to walk here (past the castle then the old elementary school and up the road). We came in winter, but I think it would be much nicer at other times of the year - apparently it's quite nice during hanami season.
Kyu Kaichi Gakko
Kyu Kaichi Gakko 旧開智学校
Kaichi Gakko Matsumoto Alps Park
Alps Park アルプス公園
Dormy Inn Matsumoto
awesome roof top onsen
We stayed at Dormy Inn Matsumoto ドーミーイン松本 which is a 5-minute walk from the east exit of Matsumoto Station down the main road - it's on the right with a big white-on-blue sign up top. There is a Circle K convenience store very close by as well as many dining options. It takes 10 minutes to walk to either the castle or the art museum featuring Yayoi Kusama's work.

Our double room is 16 m2, with a shower, bathroom, and a separate sink. The mini fridge can be switched on/off. Comfortable bed. Good amenities. Wifi works well. The rooftop outdoor hot spring bath (3pm-10am) is small but amazing especially in the snow. In the morning, they sometimes put fruit in it, which is really a nice touch! There's also a sauna, a cold bath, an indoor hot spring, as well as 2 washers (free, with soap) and coin-operated dryers (100 yen for 20 minutes). To enter the women's changing room, a key code that changes daily is required for extra security. Japanese comics are available for guests.

Buffet style breakfast from 6:15-10 am was good with both Japanese and Western options. They also offer free soba in soup from 9:30-11 pm. Microwave, ice machine, and plastic cutlery can be found on the 6th floor. They really go the extra mile and pay attention to detail to make the stay nice, even offering us hot towels when we checked in. Stayed tor 3 nights & will definitely not hesitate to stay here again.