Nawate-Dori (Frog Street)
Matsumoto’s Nawate-dori shopping street is located between Yohashira Shrine and Metoba River, at the midpoint between JR Matsumoto Station and the castle. While it’s a relatively short precinct at only 200 meters in length, it is an eclectic and atmosphere street with a fun history. Affectionately referred to as “Kaeru Michi” or “Frog Street” by the locals, Nawate-dori is home to more than 50 shops, restaurants, and cafes most famous for selling all things frog-related.
In times past, when the street ran along the thin piece of land between the river and castle moat, it was home to countless frogs, whose constant chirping imbued the area with noise and character. A typhoon that ravaged the area in 1959 forced the frogs to seek higher ground, from which they never returned. The locals came to miss the reassuring croaks of the frogs and in their absence introduction their own in the form of shrines, sculptures, and frog-themed goods, which now populate and define the street!
The street sells an array of specialities including all flavors of ‘o-senbei’ (rice crackers), ‘takiyaki’ (fish-shaped pastries), ‘dagashi’ (traditional candy), ice cream, and much, much more! There bakeries, cafes and an izakaya so while Nawate-dori is a small precinct, it’s well-worth a visit on your way to or from the castle.