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Things to do in
Matsumoto

Our most recommended things to do in Matsumoto

Japan: eSim Mobile Data Plan

1. Japan: eSim Mobile Data Plan

Make your trip to Japan hassle-free with your convenient eSIM. Stay connected on your travels with high-speed coverage in Japan. Purchase and install your eSIM anytime and anywhere, and choose from a variety of data packages, validity options, and coverage in additional countries. Simply scan the eSIM QR code to access all your essential apps on your trip. Avoid the trouble of managing multiple SIMs with this zero-waste solution. Get one eSIM per device and top up by simply buying and activating additional eSIM plans as you go. Once activated, your coverage will begin according to your selected duration. Most devices released after 2019 are compatible with eSIM (e.g. iPhone XR, XS of models beyond, Google Pixel 4 and beyond). If you are unsure, please check the compatibility guideline photo to confirm eligibility. If you cannot connect to the internet after install this eSIM, please follow the Self Help Troubleshooting Guide in your GYG voucher. Carriers to use: Docomo/Softbank/KDDI

Matsumoto Castle Tour & Samurai Experience

2. Matsumoto Castle Tour & Samurai Experience

What better place to have your samurai experience than in a city with an authentic castle from the feudal era? This is what Matsumoto offers you! In this city you will find many people who cherish their castle and the town’s samurai past. To this day, residents of Matsumoto remain proud of that heritage. Discover the history of Matsumoto Castle and the Samurai, then step into the shoes of an apprentice Samurai and experience this ancient art of combat for yourself! First take a tour of Matsumoto Castle! With over 400 years of history, Matsumoto Castle is 1 of only 5 castles designated a “National Treasure” of Japan. The original construction dates from 1593 to 1594. The castle walls contain the oldest original five-tiered, six-story castle tower that still exists in Japan today. During the tour, you will learn about the Matsumoto Samurai lords, the history of Matsumoto City, the different classes and residential areas and even some of the castle's defensive strategies. Then experience a live hands-on Samurai Sword Fighting activity! A Master Samurai will teach you some of these ancient fighting techniques. You will meet passionate people who will patiently guide you every step of the way, all the while emphasizing the importance of just having fun! The experience begins by dressing in samurai outfit and then selecting your sword. Once prepared, the samurai master will instruct how to assume basic attacking and defensive stances and use of your sword. In doing so, you’ll learn more about the samurai as you master the weapon that in many ways defined them. The samurai master’s passion and expertise is certain to inspire you to linger longer and learn more about Matsumoto’s proud feudal past.

Full-Day Tour: Matsumoto Castle & Kamikochi Alpine Valley

3. Full-Day Tour: Matsumoto Castle & Kamikochi Alpine Valley

The tour begins at JR Nagano Station at 8:15 AM. Your guide will greet all guests and quickly have you on your way toward the historic city of Matsumoto. Arriving around 09:45 AM, your guide will lead you to Matsumoto Castle one of Nagano’s most impressive cultural sites, known for its structural beauty set against a splendid mountain backdrop. Before making your way to the castle. Explore the famous "Frog Street" Nawate-Dori. Home to more than 50 shops, restaurants, and cafes most famous for selling all things frog-related. At the castle you will be guided into the castle grounds as your guide reveals the history and features which make it so lauded, before giving you time to explore for yourself. It’s then time to head high into the mountains, as you are transported into the Northern Alps and onto Kamikochi. Situated 1500 meters above sea level deep within the Chubu Sangaku National Park, Kamikochi is famous for its pristine natural state, beautiful rivers and ponds, lush forests, and dramatic mountain peaks rising to over 3000 meters. The next few hours are yours to enjoy as choose. You can choose to stroll further along the river or sit at a café or restaurant, and simply take in the view. At 5:30 PM the tour bus will depart and begin the journey back toward Nagano.

From Matsumoto/Nagano: Nakasendo Trail Walking Tour

4. From Matsumoto/Nagano: Nakasendo Trail Walking Tour

Join a guided hike of the historical Nakasendo walking trail from the well-preserved old Japanese town of Tsumago to Magome with roundtrip transportation from Matsumoto. Pass by eateries, souvenir shops, Japanese inns, and waterfalls along the way. Meet your guide in Matsumoto Station and be led to the tour bus to begin the journey to the Kiso Valley. Sit back and soak in the scenery on the way to Tsumago. Make a stop at a Japanese Michi-no-Eki, or a roadside service area. Leaving the Michi-no-Eki, continue to Tsumago, a well-preserved, rustic town of wooden buildings and mountain views. Be rewarded with a glimpse into Japan’s past. Enter one of the many buildings that are open to the public to see the lifestyle this town once followed. Follow your guide around on a walk and stay entertained and informed the whole way. After everyone has finished up at Tsumago-juku, it is time to start the 8 km hike to Magome. Keep an eye out for wildlife of various kinds – birds, lizards, and maybe even deer or badgers. Along the way, you will see parts of the path lined with cobblestones from the Edo Era (1600-1868), when this road was one of the major transportation connections between what is now Tokyo and Kyoto. Observe how the path now imparts an atmosphere of tranquility rather than bustling commerce. On the trail, find 2 adjacent waterfalls – Odaki and Medaki – the perfect spot to take a short break and feel the cool mist on your face. Or head inside one of the traditional houses offering water and relaxation. Share the same experience that travelers on this road have for hundreds of years. After the hike, rest up or treat yourself to a little snack from a wide variety of eateries in the post-town of Magome. Take in views of the surrounding mountain scenery. Walk through the main street lined with wooden buildings. See the waterways on either side of the street that power waterwheels.

Nagano/Matsumoto: Matsumoto Castle and Narai-juku Day Trip

5. Nagano/Matsumoto: Matsumoto Castle and Narai-juku Day Trip

Meet your guide at Nagano Station and board the bus to Matsumoto Station, the second pickup point of the tour. Once all guests are aboard, make your way to the historic center of Matsumoto, established as a castle town in the days of the Samurai. Begin the tour at Nawate-dori, known as “Frog Street”, home to more than 50 shops, restaurants, and cafes famous for selling all things frog-related. Browse shops selling an array of specialties including o-senbei (rice crackers), taiyaki (fish-shaped pastries), dagashi (candy), ice cream, and more. After looking at frog-themed sculptures and souvenirs, head to the Matsumoto Castle which dates to the end of the ‘Warring States Period’ with much of the original structure still intact. Explore the oldest surviving 5-tiered 6-story castle tower in Japan. Follow your guide into the castle grounds as you uncover the history and features that make it so lauded. Then, step into the castle itself, ascending all the way to the top of its 6 stories. Observe intricate woodwork and views of Matsumoto City. See a collection of historical guns, artifacts, and other items that offer a glimpse into the life of a Japanese warrior when the castle was first built. From there, enjoy some free time to take a longer look around the castle grounds and visit a few shops around the castle. Then, continue your journey to Narai-juku, which once flourished as a place for travelers to rest up on their journey from Tokyo to Kyoto on the Nakasendo road. Sit back and soak in scenic views of fields and mountains – often capped with a glistening blanket of snow. Arrive at the entrance to Narai-juku, near the train station, from where the guided portion of the tour begins. As you walk down the main street, learn about the quirks of Narai-juku’s construction and hear stories from its golden age. After the guided walk, get an hour of free time to look at the shops on the main street or grab a bite at a café or restaurant, before returning to Matsumoto or Nagano Station.

Matsumoto Castle Town Walking Tour

6. Matsumoto Castle Town Walking Tour

Matsumoto is a city proud of its history and traditions - a city of living history kept alive by the preservation of its historic streets and knowledge of local residents. Our half-day Matsumoto Castle Town Walking Tour is designed to reveal the living traditions of our city by following a different route to and from the castle, and in doing so, bring the history and tradition of the famous castle town to life! Starting from the station, your guide will lead you on a historical route to and from Matsumoto Castle that traces the steps that samurai would once have taken. After all, a direct approach to the castle was not then possible - a strategic measure to protect it from attack. In doing so, you’ll be introduced the history of Matsumoto before arriving at the castle before being taken inside by your guide. You’ll learn its history and about the samurai that once defended it, and of course the legends you’d expect of such a historic place. After the castle, your guide will lead you onto Nawate Street – a small shopping street that once ran between the imposing moats of the castle. Today, it remains a thriving street of food vendors and small stores run by vocal merchants. Separated by a small river, Nakamachi Street runs parallel to Nawate and another is another street that embodies the history of the city. Your guide will accompany you along the Nakamachi, introducing its many cafes, restaurants and craft stores.

Welcome to Nagano: Private Tour with a Local

7. Welcome to Nagano: Private Tour with a Local

Get an exclusive welcome to Nagano on a private tour with a local guide. Transform your way of traveling to make it as much about the people you meet as the places you see.  Follow your friendly local as they share their passion for the place they live. Learn all the tricks to make the most of the city and get tips on the best things to see. Meet in the neighborhood where you are staying to get familiar with the best places to eat and buy groceries. Hear about the easiest ways to get around, and the top things to do. By the end of the tour, you'll feel more comfortable and confident navigating the city on your own, secure in the knowledge that you have all the information you need to make the most of your stay!

Matsumoto Castle Audio Guide: Japan's National Treasure

8. Matsumoto Castle Audio Guide: Japan's National Treasure

■Audio guide spot 1. Matsumoto Castle(number of guides: 13) 【Start:Black Gate】 ↓ About 4 minutes on foot 2. Matsumoto Shrine(number of guides: 2) ↓ About 11 minutes on foot 3. Four Pillars Shrine (number of guides: 3) ↓ About 1 minutes on foot 4. Nawate Street Shopping District(number of guides: 3) Audio guide time: 49 minutes(It takes about 1~2 hours more to actually listen while walking around the site) Number of guides: 21 ■What can you hear in the audio guide? You can hear the history of Matsumoto Castle, one of Japan's premier historic castles and one of the designated National Treasure of Japan. Dives into Japan's culture, history, and architecture, focusing on the Edo period and Shintoism. Starting at Matsumoto Castle's grand entrance, you can learn about the significance of gates, art, and craftsmanship. Highlights include the Mizuno Tadanao and Toda Family lanterns, the Ogasawara Peony Garden. The guide also explains the castle's architecture, life within its walls, and the transition from feudal to modern Japan. Then on the spot near the castle area, you can learn about Shinto shrines, and concludes at Nawate Street. ■Be sure to check *This is an audio guide using your smartphone *English audio guide *No ticket redemption required *Admission tickets are not included *This is not an official audio guide *Please do not make direct inquiries to the facility regarding this audio guide *Please make sure to check the opening hours on the official website(not GetYourGuide)before visiting the site. *Official or unofficial free audio guides are available on site. This audio guide is for those who prefer a more in-depth, rich and voluminous experience. ■HOW TO USE 1.After purchase, we will send a message to your email address registered with getyourguide. 2.From the URL in the message, please select "Listen on the app" or "Browse on Web". 3.You can listen to the audio guide.

Other Sightseeing Options in Matsumoto

Want to discover all there is to do in Matsumoto? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Matsumoto

Overall rating

3.0
(2 reviews)

Both activities were amazing! We started with the samurai experience! Honestly great! Our Sensei was too strong, I'm sure Sylvain our guide is too! I really appreciated it!! The visit to the Château took place with Sylvain! Incredible too! Immersion in the castle with a top story! Thank you for all this rich information! What a beautiful heritage and what a good guide! Outside of the activity Sylvain was able to teach us lots of things and answer our questions, etc.! I highly recommend if you spend time in Matsumoto! (Ah and plan an outfit depending on the weather haha!)

If you’re into history of samurai life, Matt is awesome!! He knows his stuff intimately for those like me that want to get into the weeds of how many hands was a typical horse back then, or which clan held which castle etc. He also kept us at a decent pace to make sure, despite the long queues, we were able to get the full sword class which was a highlight! He’s not only knowledgeable, he’s congenial and engaging, even about non-samurai stuff. I’m telling all my buddies to add Matt’s tour to their Japan bucket list!

We had a great tour with Naomi. She was very kind, patient and told us a lot about Matsumoto and the castle. She also knows a lot about Nagoya, which was our next stop. So she wrote down a itinerary for us. We got a little origami present as well. Thank you Naomi.

Easy “installation” everything works quickly and easily. And around 1200% cheaper than the Vodafone data package. Which is really a disgrace. Thank you very much, everything is great 👍🏼

I activated my eSim before I started traveling. When I arrived in Japan, I had direct access to the Internet. I had internet everywhere!