Next stop was Matsumoto and what a surprise I had when I visit the castle – it was surrounded by blooming cherry blossoms. I thought I had arrived in Japan a little late in the season and had missed them – there were none to be seen in Tokyo. So I was pleasantly surprised to see them in Matsumoto.
Matsumoto town is rather large, but its star attraction is its imposing castle. Again, Matsumoto is quite easy to visit on a day trip from Tokyo (thank you Japan for your amazing rail network), but I tied it in with a two day trip from Tokyo, with the following day being spent hiking part of the Nakasendo Way between Magome and Tsumago (my next post!). As you can see by the photos, the castle is stunning. It’s free to walk around the park surrounding the castle (there were many locals enjoying the day beneath the cherry blossoms), with a charge to enter the castle and the castle’s inner courtyard.
From Tokyo, take a train to either Shinjuku or Nagano, where you can transfer to a direct train to Matsumoto. The journey time is approximately 3 hours. Trains run regularly.
Fish shaped waffles on Nakamachi Street. There are two or three shops on this pretty little street which sell these piping hot goodies. Filled with all sorts of flavours, including custard, red bean paste, apple cinnamon, chocolate, etc, for a 100 yen they are a great little snack.