24 Hours in Matsumoto

We enjoyed Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, ate Japanese western cuisine and marvelled at that medieval masterpiece-of-a-castle.

24 Hours in Matsumoto
Matsumoto castle is one of three original medieval castles left in Japan. Photo by Rogério Toledo / Unsplash

Matsumoto is a city in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, that offers a rich blend of history, culture, and nature. We added it to our Japan trip because of its castle. The small city is indeed home to one of Japan's most beautiful original castles, Matsumoto Castle, which dates back to the 16th century and is designated as a national treasure. Matsumoto is also a gateway to the Japanese Alps.

Whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventurous trip, Matsumoto has something for everyone. I will share with you some of the best things to do in Matsumoto.

Good Coffee

Honestly, we were in Matsumoto for less than 24 hours and we got our caffeine fix from vending machines and a top-up with delicious pastries at SWEET Co. Naware along the canal.

Local Shop

panagorias offers vintage clothing and finely curated objects to the discerning Matsumoto youth. My dad spent a lot of time browsing here only to find a suede jacket that the owner was unable to part with. So, be sure you select items that are available to buy!

Splurge Meal

Well, to be fair, we didn’t really splurged in Matsumoto. However, we did spend a lot more money than we intended to at Okonomiyaki. The beautifully designed bistro only serves the delicious Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes) but WOW, it’s good. We ate lots and drank two bottles of French wine.

10-15, Cho 2-Chome, Matsumoto. Phone: +81 263 31 5695

Eat with the locals

Okinado is a western-style Japanese restaurant. You will find dishes such as boeuf bourguignon or pork chops re-imagined to please the more delicate and subtle Japanese tastes. For example, I enjoyed ketchup-flavoured rice wrapped in a paper-thin omelettes serviced with a panko-crusted chicken schnitzel. Exotic, delicious and unexpected. The restaurant also looks like a cross between an antique shop and a German beer-hall. Brilliant.