Best Places to Stay in Matsumoto
Matsumoto is one of Central Japan’s most historic and rewarding cities, with plenty of accommodation to choose from in and around the city including multiple hot spring towns located nearby. On this page you will find the following information:
Located in the shadow the North Japan Alps, Matsumoto is a small historic city best-known for its castle. As a registered National Treasure, Matsumoto Castle is without doubt the beacon that draws visitors to the city but once here, you’ll discover a lovely little town with plenty to keep you entertained for a day or two. Once a wealthy merchant town, the people of Matsumoto are proud of their city’s heritage and have actively tried to retain much of its historic character. Local intervention saved the now iconic castle from demolition while serving to also retain much of the historic Nawate-Dori and Nakamachi precincts; former merchant areas that now house many shops selling Matsumoto’s heralded ‘mingei’ (folkcraft) and furniture. From that heritage, a thriving and youthful city has developed with Matsumoto now boasting many great boutique shops, cafes, museums, galleries and restaurants.
25 Things to Do Around Matsumoto & Where to Stay
Located in the shadow the North Japan Alps, Matsumoto is a small historic c…
This page is intended to be read in combination with our ’25 Things to Do Around Matsumoto’ page. We hope the information on these pages helps you plan your visit and find the best hotels in Matsumoto.
WHERE TO STAY IN MATSUMOTO?
Visitors to Matsumoto have a good range of accommodation to choose from both in the city and other nearby destinations. In this section we provide information about accommodation in the following areas:
Most options within the city are mid-sized / mid-range business hotels while in the surrounding areas you have some excellent options including traditional hot spring guesthouses. Let’s begin by looking at the most convenient option:
MATSUMOTO: MATSUMOTO CITY AREA
While Matsumoto is the second largest city in Nagano Prefecture, it is in itself small – a great city to explore on-foot or by bicycle. Most accommodation in the city is located to the east of Matsumoto Station, between the station and toward the castle. Accommodation is mostly mid-sized / mid-range business and other Western-style hotels, with some smaller guesthouses and a couple of high-end options. Most hotels and guesthouses are within 10 to 20 minutes walk of the station and castle making it easy to choose where to stay. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Matsumoto: Matsumoto City Area’ hotel page.
MATSUMOTO: ASAMA ONSEN AREA
The hot spring district of Asama Onsen sits around 6KM to the north of central Matsumoto City – around 25 minutes by bus or 15 minutes by taxi. Asama Onsen is one of Nagano’s most abundant hot spring areas, blessed with seven major water sources flowing out of the ground around 50°C. Accommodation ranges from high-end hotels to smaller, mid-range to budget guesthouses. As a traditional ‘onsen’ (hot spring) town, many hotels and guesthouses include Japanese-style rooms with on-floor ‘futon’-bedding and service traditional ‘kaiseki’ (multi-course) menus and in-house hot springs. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Matsumoto: Asama Onsen Area’ hotel page.
AZUMINO / HOTAKA ONSEN-KYO AREA
Located in the rural enclave of Azumino, Hotaka Onsen-kyo lies around 15KM to the north of Matsumoto City. Another traditional ‘onsen’ area, accommodation in this area is mostly limited to traditional guesthouses with their own hot springs. There are some excellent options in the area, including high-end ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouses), most of which are within easy reach of nearby Hotaka Station. It takes a little extra effort to get there, but guests who do make the journey to Hotaka Onsen-kyo can really unwind and indulge in the shadows of the North Alps. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Hotaka Onsen-kyo’ hotel page.
SHIRAHONE ONSEN AREA
Moving further away from Matsumoto, Shirahone Onsen is yet another renowned hot spring area sitting high in the North Alps, around 40KM / 60-minutes drive from the city. Located nearby Norikura Kogen – a popular hiking destination from late-spring to autumn – Shirahone Onsen is a good option for travellers moving through the area on their way to Norikura, Kamikochi, Takayama or Matsumoto. For visitors only wanting to spend time in Matsumoto City, staying in Shirahone Onsen won’t suit your plans however if you want to spend a couple of days exploring the area, it’s a great option. Accommodation is limited to ‘onsen’ hotels and guesthouse ranging from basic to high-end. Most popular in summer and autumn, try to avoid weekends and holidays when prices can be very high. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Shirahone Onsen Area’ hotel page.
NORIKURA KOGEN AREA
Around 20-minutes drive from Shirahone Onsen – and around 70-minutes from Matsumoto City – Norikura Kogen is one of Central Japan’s most popular hiking destinations. Rising to over 3000 metres above sea level, this is a beautiful mountain that can be hiked by anyone of reasonable fitness, making it a popular destination through summer and autumn while in winter, a small ski resort draws a devoted group of mostly skiers and the odd snowboarder. Most accommodation in the area are family-run lodges and guesthouses offering a warm welcome. Much like accommodation in and around Shirahone, staying in Norikura isn’t suited to those only planning to explore Matsumoto City and prices can be steep on weekends and holidays so try to avoid those times. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Norikura Kogen Area’ hotel page.
Further to the west from Matsumoto City, Kamikochi is one of the most popular destination in the North Alps. Taking around 70-minutes to get there from Matsumoto, it is an ideal destination for travellers headed over the mountains to or from the old town of Takayama. The beautiful alpine valley is open to the public from mid-April until late-November with summer – especially the school holidays in August – and early autumn being the busiest times to year. There are some excellent accommodation options in Kamikochi including high-end hotels however it’s important to note that given demand, prices can be exceptionally high. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Kamikochi Area’ hotel page. If you can’t find anything or prices are too steep, try nearby Hirayu Onsen, which has a good range of accommodation, from high-end to budget and within 10 to 15-minutes of Kamikochi.
NAGANO CITY AREA
Only 50 minutes from Matsumoto using the Limited Express ‘Shinano’ service, Nagano is the largest city in the region and an excellent base from where to visit Matsumoto and other regional destinations as a day-trip. The area immediately around Nagano Station has plenty of large hotels catering to international visitors. Prices are typically good with many hotels offering Western-style rooms and amenities, in-house restaurants and English-speaking staff. Around 15 to 20-minutes walk from the station, the area around Zenko-ji Temple has smaller guesthouses including many ‘shukubo’ (temple lodgings) in the surrounding streets. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Nagano City Area’ hotel page.
25 THINGS TO DO AROUND MATSUMOTO
Many if not most visitors heading to Matsumoto are drawn by its iconic castle, one of the few remaining original castles in Japan and a registered National Treasure. Once in Matsumoto, visitors discover a historic and pleasant city with a thriving folk craft, art and dining scene. So while it’s castle that might attract people to visit, it’s everything else that the city has to offer that makes them want to stay. Our ’25 Things to Do Around Matsumoto’ page has lots of great tips and suggestions of things to do, including links to accommodation listings, in and around Matsumoto.
HOW TO GET TO MATSUMOTO
Matsumoto Station is located in the centre of the city, within 30-minutes walk of almost all popular attractions. Serviced by the Limited Express ‘Azusa’ service running to Shinjuku Station in Tokyo and the Limited Express ‘Shinano’ service running to Nagano and Nagoya, Matsumoto is easy to reach using the rail network. For more information, see our ‘How To Get To Matsumoto’ page.
BOOK WITH US! NAGANO’S NO.1 TOUR & CHARTER OPERATOR
Central Japan offers many, many reasons to visit. Operating all year round, we are Nagano’s No.1-rated tour and charter operator, offering a range of services including group tours, private tours and charters. We can arrange travel packages including accommodation and transport – with a private vehicle and driver – along with group and private tours and other services in Matsumoto and Central Japan.
Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from your preferred destinations in combination with any activity that suits your schedule. All vehicles are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety.
We can arrange both private tours with an English-speaking guide or a private charter, including a private vehicle and driver but without a guide. We’d love to be part of your adventure in Central Japan and help you discover even more!
Why choose us?
Awarded a 2022 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake Tour – recognised as one of the Top 10 Experiences in Japan – we have the local knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your time in Nagano.
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