Utsukushigahara Highlands & Open-Air Museum
Within easy reach of Matsumoto City, Utsukushigahara is a highland area known for its panoramic views during the day and star-filled sky at night. Rising to around 2000 metres above sea level, the highlands are devoid of trees – a lush mix of open-grassland and alpine wild flowers. Walking trails suitable to anyone of reasonable fitness span-out across highlands that continue their use as alpine pastures for grazing cattle.
The Utsukushigahara Open-Air Museum is a notable attraction, featuring 400 modern and classical sculptures and outdoor installations. Several hotels are in the area, allowing for overnight stays should you want to go slower and enjoy Utsukushigahara at night. Known for its stunning star-scape, many Japanese travel to the highlands specially to view and cherish the night sky.
Due to snow in winter, the trails of Utsukushigahara are best enjoyed from spring to autumn.
Accessible all times of day
Open daily but most enjoyable from spring to autumn
Approximately a 2 to 2.5-hour drive from the Jigokudani Monkey Park
From Matsumoto Station, local buses head to Utsukushigahara regularly through the day during summer - taking around 90 minutes to make the journey - and less regularly at other times of year. Visiting Utsukushigahara is best-suited to visitors with their own car