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Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town

Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town

Stronghold of the Sanada Clan with an Open Secret Beneath its Feet

Key features

  • Samurai Town
  • Matsushiro Castle Park
  • Edo Period
  • Culturally Important Sites
  • Sanada Residence
  • Bunbu Military School
  • Samurai Residences
  • Zozan Imperial Wartime Tunnels
  • Festivals
  • Samurai Experiences

Public Transport

Old Matsushiro Station Bus Stopimmediate
Shinonoi Station15 min drive
Nagano Station30-35 min by bus

Popular Attractions

Matsushiro Castle Park5 min walk
Sanada Treasures Museum5 min walk
Zozan Tunnels20 min walk

Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town

Stronghold of the Sanada Clan with an Open Secret Beneath its Feet

Key features

  • Samurai Town
  • Matsushiro Castle Park
  • Edo Period
  • Culturally Important Sites
  • Sanada Residence
  • Bunbu Military School
  • Samurai Residences
  • Zozan Imperial Wartime Tunnels
  • Festivals
  • Samurai Experiences
Around 12km to the south of central Nagano City, Matsushiro is a small town known firstly for its samurai heritage while also home to an open-secret beneath its feet. Once the stronghold of the ruling Sanada clan, Matsushiro was established as an important strategic base during the Sengoku (Warring States) Period and thriving domain of the samurai class during the latter Edo Period. Today, the town’s samurai heritage lives on many excellent Edo Period attractions including Matsushiro Castle Park, the former Sanada Residence and Bunbu Military Academy, other samurai residences, temples, shrines and museums. Yet it is what lies beneath Matsushiro that increasingly attracts as much attention as its heralded samurai past…
Constructed in the final months of World War II, the Zozan Imperial Wartime Tunnels were excavated as the intended headquarters from the Japanese military, government and Imperial Family during the expected Allied invasion. Chosen for distance from the coast, suitable flat terrain surrounded by the natural defense of mountains, ability of the substrata to resist intensive bombing and ability of the local people to keep a secret, the majority of the expansive tunnels and bunkers were completed but had never been used, when the war came to an end.

The tunnels can still be visited today, a poignant, sombre yet very important testament to the huge cost of war on all sides. As such, Matsushiro has a lot more to offer than my first seem so upon arrival. At its best during the blossoms of spring and changing leaves of autumn, Matsushiro makes a great morning, afternoon or daytrip from Nagano City.

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  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town
  • Discover Matsushiro - Nagano City's Samurai Town

Recommended Highlights from Snow Monkey Resorts

Matsushiro Town: Stronghold of the Sanada Clan

Matsushiro Town: Stronghold of the Sanada Clan

Within easy reach of central Nagano, Matsushiro was once the stronghold of the Sanada clan and their powerful samurai.

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Highlights of Matsushiro: Nagano City’s Samurai Town

Highlights of Matsushiro: Nagano City’s Samurai Town

Best known for its samurai heritage, Matsushiro is home to many important historical attractions and an open-secret beneath its feet.

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Visit the Zozan Imperial Wartime Tunnels

Visit the Zozan Imperial Wartime Tunnels

Excavated in the final months of WWII, the Zozan Imperial Tunnels were the intended headquarters of the Japanese military and government during the expected invasion.

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Private Tours & Charters in Matsushiro

Private Tours & Charters in Matsushiro

Based in Nagano City, we have you covered for tours and charters to Matsushiro and beyond.

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News / Info

Getting To & Around Matsushiro

Getting To & Around Matsushiro

Most visitors heading to Matsushiro will first need to come to Nagano City and go from there.

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Live & Learn Like a Samurai

Live & Learn Like a Samurai

Turn your visit to the Bunbu Military School into a real experience with these traditional practices.

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Festivals of Matsushiro

Festivals of Matsushiro

Matsushiro hosts festivals in both spring and autumn – the ideal times to visit and explore Nagano’s famous samurai town.

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Enjoy Matsushiro: Tourist Information, Tips & Suggestions

Enjoy Matsushiro: Tourist Information, Tips & Suggestions

Here’s our tips and suggestions to help you plan your visit.

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Nearby Recommendations

Matsushiro Castle Park

Matsushiro Castle Park

The Heart of Matsushiro

Though the original castle no longer stands, the castle park remains at the heart of this proud samurai town.

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Sanada Family Residence

Sanada Family Residence

Home of the Sanada Clan

The only remaining original building associated with the castle, the former Sanada Family Residence transports visitors to a different world.

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Matsushiro Bunbu Literary & Military Arts School

Matsushiro Bunbu Literary & Military Arts School

History Comes to Life

The former school of the sons of samurai, traditional experiences including archery and martial arts can still be enjoyed at the beautifully restored school.

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Zozan Imperial Wartime Tunnels

Zozan Imperial Wartime Tunnels

Matsushiro's Open-Secret

Intended as the underground headquarters of the Japanese military and government in the event of an invasion, the WWII tunnels were never used but can still be visited today.

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Zenkoji Temple

Zenkoji Temple

Nagano's Spiritual Heart

Boasting a near-1400 year history, Zenkoji remains the spiritual and cultural heart of the region.

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Togakushi

Togakushi

Nagano's Ninja Stronghold

Contrasting Matsushiro's samurai heritage, nearby Togakushi is home to the Togakure school of ninjas and some of Japan's most important Shinto shrines.

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Jigokudani Monkey Park

Jigokudani Monkey Park

Nagano's Famous Monkeys

Open all year round, the monkey come to the park in spring, summer, autumn and of course, winter.

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Shiga Kogen

Shiga Kogen

Japan's Largest Ski Resort

Within easy reach of Nagano City, Shiga Kogen lays claim to being Japan's largest and highest ski resort.

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Amenities

Tourist Information Center
Historic Attractions
Public Transport
Public Toilets

Access

Public Transport

Old Matsushiro Station Bus Stopimmediate
Shinonoi Station15 min drive
Nagano Station30-35 min by bus

Popular Attractions

Matsushiro Castle Park5 min walk
Sanada Treasures Museum5 min walk
Zozan Tunnels20 min walk