Nagano is full of great cities to explore but if you ask me, Matsumoto is the most iconic city of Nagano. With sophisticated neighbourhoods to explore, there really is no shortage of things to do. This is the list of the most photogenic monuments, museums and cafes to help you find the best views in Matsumoto.
Seeing a city from above allows you to immediately gain perspective, as well as be inspired by the beautiful cityscape. Fortunately, you can climb the castle tower of Matsumoto which offers a panoramic view of the city.
Former Kaichi School
The former Kaichi school was founded in 1873 and built in 1876 with a mixture of Japanese and Western styles of architecture. Some architectural materials of old temples were used as interior decorations. The school provided a diversified education for women and children with an elementary school and junior high school. It has a way of transporting you to a previous era with how stuffy and old the school is. But somehow it also affectionately welcomes visitors with open arms. The original school building was moved in 1964 and opened as a museum in 1965, exhibiting old textbooks, diaries and furniture.
Former Priest’s House
Another interesting sight if you have more time on your hands is to make your way to the former priest’s house, which is hard to miss. It is located in front of the former Kaichi school. If you prefer to do your sightseeing without crowds, be sure to visit in the early hours.
Matsumoto City Museum of Art
Matsumoto City Museum of Art is another one of those “hard to miss” sights in Matsumoto, mainly due to the collection of Kusama Yayoi artworks. Fittingly, there are many highly celebrated artworks on display by some of the greatest artists from Matsumoto.
The attractions I visited in Matsumoto were about a 20-30 minute walk from one another – and good walkers should be able to cover everything in a day. However, if you want to stay somewhere central that also feels homely and quintessentially Japanese, Marumo Ryokan annexed Cafe Marumo is the perfect choice. With room decor by Matsumoto Mingei Furniture, Cafe Marumo is set in a tranquil and comfortable space featuring handcrafted furniture. You can see the traditional and nostalgic roots of the folk craft movement in Matsumoto.