Destinations & Attractions Nearby Matsumoto Castle
From Mastumoto Castle, visitors have access many nearby destinations and activities including some of the best highlights of Central Japan.
Approximately a 1 hour drive from Matsumoto, Kamikochi is one of Japan’s most spectacular alpine landscapes – a true oasis nestled deep within the Chubu Sangaku National Park. Offering some of Japan’s best hiking, stunning alpine vistas, and range of accommodation options, a visit to Kamikochi can be easily combined with your visit to Matsumoto Castle.
Hirayu Onsen – part of the larger hot spring area known as Okuhida – is only a 20 to 30 minute drive on from Kamikochi (depending on your guesthouse of choice). The area has many traditional ‘ryokan’ (guesthouses) with their own ‘onsen’ (natural hot springs) in which to soak and unwind. While accommodation in this area can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. This makes Hirayu and Okuhida Onsen a great nearby option for visitors to Kamikochi – just a couple of the many great onsen towns in Central Japan.
Also in Okuhida, the Shin-hotaka Ropeway is famous throughout Japan and on a clear day, offers outstanding views of Mt Hotaka and the surrounding North Alps.
Approximately 1 hour to the west of Kamikochi, and 2 hours from Mastumoto, Takayama is famous for its old town and an increasingly popular destination for international visitors. An hour on from that, Shirakawa-go and Gokayama have World Heritage Status and draw visitors from all over world.
Also located in the Chubu Sangaku National Park, Mt Norikura is another popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts while the fabled Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route is one of Japan’s most iconic attractions.
Famous for its 20 meter high snow walls in early spring, the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route is another outstanding destination for alpine enthusiasts in both summer and autumn – offering more fantastic hiking and trekking opportunities.
Located just outside Matsumoto, Azumino is a quiet and tranquil rural area known for its abundant farmlands, hot springs, temples and shrines, and local festivals – a perfect destination for visitors wanting to unwind and discover the rural heart of Japan.
A highlight of Azumino, Daio Wasabi Farm is one of Japan’s largest producers of the surprisingly subtle and versatile root vegetable. Visitors to the farm can try everything wasabi-flavoured – including wasabi ice cream and wasabi beer – while strolling the picturesque farm.
In winter, the many fantastic ski resorts of Hakuba – located approximately 1.5 hours drive from Matsumoto – are extremely popular with international visitors. Known for their epic powder, many accommodation options, along with numerous restaurants and services catering to non-Japanese speakers, Hakuba is Nagano’s most international winter sports destination.
To the south of Matsumoto, the Nakasendo Trail is an increasingly popular destination for international visitors seeking an ancient road to a place where tradition lives on. Walking the old trade road between the postal towns of Narai, Magome and Tsumago – particularly in autumn as the leaves change the landscape a rich mosaic of gold, amber, and red – is a highlight of any visit to Central Japan.
Easily accessible by train or private car from Matsumoto, Nagano City is the region’s major hub and your gateway to Central Japan. Home to the near-1400 year old Zenko-ji Temple, Nagano has a rich history worth exploring before heading-on to the region’s most famous ambassadors, the hot spring-bathing monkeys of the Jigokudani Monkey Park.
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