How To Get To Matsushiro
Located approximately 11-12KM to the south of central Nagano, the small and unassuming destination of Matsushiro is well-known as one of Central Japan’s best-preserved samurai towns. On this page you will find the following information:
Once the stronghold of the ruling-Sanada clan, Matsushiro’s story is pivotal in understanding the region and today boasts attractions including Matsushiro Castle Park, the former- Sanada Residence and Bunbu Military Academy and other important Edo Period buildings, museums, temples and shrines.
Yet it is what lies beneath Matsushiro that will command the attention of many international visitors. Constructed during the final nine months of the World World II, the Zozan Imperial Wartime Tunnels were excavated as the intended point of relocation for and headquarters of the Japanese military and government, once the expected Allied invasion occurred. Though the war ended before the tunnels were completed or could be used, they can still be visited today – a poignant and unique experience in Nagano.
We hope that the following information is of assistance in planning your visit to Matsushiro and Nagano. Now let’s start with the obvious question:
WHERE IS MATSUSHIRO?
Matsushiro lies within the boundary of Nagano City, around 11KM from Nagano Station. From the station, local buses run to Matsushiro regularly throughout the day, taking around 30 to 35-minutes to reach the area. A town of true historic importance, Matsushiro boasts multiple attractions linked to its samurai past and (never-realised) role as the chosen location for the Japanese government to retreat to should the country have been invaded at the end of WWII. Once in Matsuhsiro, visitors can walk between the attractions while also enjoying local restaurants and a friendly welcome from the residents that will be thrilled you’ve discovered their home town.
For visitors headed to Matsushiro, upon arrival you might be a little confused about where to go, as the bus stop is located around 5-minutes walk from the centre of town. The town is however in fact very easy to walk around and you’ll get your bearings quickly. We recommended heading straight to the Matsushiro Tourist Information Center located next to the Sanada Treasures Museum. Open daily from 09:00 to 17:00, friendly staff are on-hand to assist with your enquiries with rental bicycles available from 09:00 to 16:00 / JPY500 per persons. Both adult and kids bikes are available – a great way to explore the town.
HOW TO GET TO MATSUSHIRO
Lying on the outskirts of Nagano City, most visitors heading to Matsushiro will do so via Nagano Station. For information and directions about reaching Nagano for popular starting points such as Tokyo, Matsumoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Kanazawa and more, please refer to our ‘HOW TO GET TO NAGANO CITY’ page.
Once in Nagano, public buses run from Nagano Station to Matsushiro. Departing from the Bus Stop No.3 outside the station’s Zenkoji Exit, buses take around 30 to 35 minutes to reach Matsushiro, where you will need to disembark at the Old Matsushiro Station Bus Stop. Buses depart regularly throughout the day – between every 20 to 30 minutes with the first service departing at 07:00 and the last at 20:55.
It can be a little hard to spot the stop as you approach but look for the old railway station building and platform on your right.
As you approach the old railway station the bus stop is on your left. If you have any concerns you’ll miss it, just speak with the driver and ask them to let you know.
When returning by bus, the bus stop is directly opposite. Buses depart regularly throughout the day – between every 20 to 30 minutes with the first service departing at 06:25 and the last at 20:40.
A one-way journey costs JPY660 per adult and JPY300 per child. Rental bicycles are available at the nearby Matsushiro Tourist Information Center from 09:00 to 16:00 daily / JPY500 per person.
15 THINGS TO DO IN MATSUSHIRO & WHERE TO STAY
Within easy reach of central Nagano City, Matsushiro is a great destination for a morning or afternoon of exploration, in combination with the other attractions of the city. Largely undiscovered by international visitors, expect a warm welcome for residents who will appreciate you visiting their hometown and discovering its hugely important role in Japan’s samurai past and more recently, at the end of WWII. For tips and suggestions of what’s on offer, including finding accommodation in the area, see our ’15 Things To Do In Matsushiro & Where To Stay’ 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 transport including a private vehicle and driver, along with an English-speaking guide, to transport to, from and between any destinations in the region including Matsushiro.
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?
Got a question about visiting Matsushiro? Contact us and let’s get planning together!