Andrea Urbinati

From Tokyo to Matsumoto: Let’s Go!

Di Andrea Urbinati

blogger, andrea urbinati, marketing, copywriting, seo
Tokyo to Matsumoto

Tokyo to Matsumoto is an exciting journey that offers a blend of modernity and tradition. As you plan your trip, it’s essential to consider the various transportation options available. Whether you prefer the convenience of a direct train ride or the flexibility of driving, understanding the logistics will enhance your overall experience in Matsumoto. Join me as I explore the best ways to travel from Tokyo to Matsumoto and uncover the hidden gems of this charming city.

Exploring the Heart of Japan: Your Journey from Tokyo to Matsumoto

Japan, a land of striking contrast and vibrant culture, offers an unparalleled travel experience. Tokyo, the bustling capital city, serves as the perfect gateway to the cultural and natural wonders awaiting you in Matsumoto.

Tokyo: A Lively Metropolis

Cityscape Photography
Photo by Pixabay

Tokyo, a mesmerizing blend of tradition and modernity, captivates visitors with its neon-lit skyscrapers, historic temples, and world-class cuisine. From the serene gardens of the Imperial Palace to the vibrant streets of Shibuya, Tokyo offers an endless array of experiences. Dive into the sensory overload at Tsukiji Fish Market, shop for the latest gadgets in Akihabara, or find tranquility at the Meiji Shrine.

Why Matsumoto? Unveiling the Charm of the Japanese Alps

A Matsumoto Castle in Japan
Photo by suradeach saetang

Matsumoto, nestled in the enchanting Japanese Alps, beckons with its timeless allure and rich heritage. At its heart stands the iconic Matsumoto Castle, a feudal masterpiece amidst picturesque surroundings. The city’s authentic ambiance, traditional craft shops, and serene hot springs offer a serene escape from the urban bustle. Embrace the local customs, savor the renowned sake, and be enchanted by the raw beauty of rural Japan as you explore Matsumoto’s hidden gems.

Choosing Your Mode of Travel: Tokyo to Matsumoto

Speed and Scenery

Traveling from Tokyo to Matsumoto offers a blend of speed and beautiful scenery. The Shinkansen, or bullet train, connects these two cities efficiently, with a travel time of around 2.5 hours. As the train glides through the countryside, passengers are treated to stunning vistas of Mount Fuji and the Japanese Alps. Enjoying the picturesque landscapes while swiftly making your way to Matsumoto is an unforgettable experience that perfectly combines efficiency and natural beauty.

Abstract background of clear waves of sea rolling fast creating white foam in motion Photo by Damir Mijailovic

On a Budget

For budget-conscious travelers, the bus is a fantastic option for getting from Tokyo to Matsumoto. It not only saves money but also provides an opportunity to see the countryside at a leisurely pace. Express buses are available with comfortable seating and amenities, allowing passengers to relax and take in the sights without breaking the bank. This mode of travel is an excellent choice for those who want to manage costs while savoring the journey through Japan’s scenic landscapes.

The Scenic Route

Embarking on a road trip from Tokyo to Matsumoto offers a unique and unforgettable experience. The scenic routes are adorned with awe-inspiring natural beauty, charming rural towns, and cultural landmarks. Driving through the Japanese countryside presents a different perspective, allowing travelers to stop at their leisure and immerse themselves in the local culture. Taking the scenic route provides an enriching journey, offering glimpses of Japan’s hidden gems that cannot be accessed by train or bus.

Empty Road Against Mountain Background Photo by Matt Hardy

Renting a Car

Renting a car is a convenient option for travelers seeking flexibility and autonomy. It allows for exploration at your own pace and grants access to remote destinations off the beaten path. With a well-developed road network and excellent infrastructure, driving from Tokyo to Matsumoto is a seamless experience. The freedom to stop whenever and wherever desired, capturing the essence of Japan’s countryside, makes renting a car an appealing choice for adventurous individuals.

People Walking on Street during Night Time Photo by Qihong

The Train Experience: A Step-by-Step Guide

Visiting Matsumoto from Tokyo by train is an excellent way to witness the stunning Japanese landscapes while enjoying the comfort and convenience of rail travel. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the entire train experience effortlessly.

Booking Your Tickets

Before embarking on your journey from Tokyo to Matsumoto, it’s essential to secure your train tickets in advance. The most convenient way to do this is through the official website of the Japan Rail Pass, where you can easily book tickets for the desired date and class of travel. Alternatively, you can purchase tickets from JR East Travel Service Centers or Travel Service Centers located throughout Tokyo.

Train Travel Photo by Süha

Navigating Tokyo Station

Upon arriving at the bustling Tokyo Station, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the layout and facilities. Tokyo Station is a major transportation hub, so it’s advisable to arrive well in advance to locate your departure platform. The station offers a myriad of amenities, including shopping arcades, restaurants, and even a hotel, allowing you to indulge in some last-minute shopping or enjoy a delectable meal before your departure.

Tokyo Station Photo by Oshada Vinod

On Board the Train

As you board the train from Tokyo to Matsumoto, you’ll be greeted by immaculately clean carriages equipped with comfortable seating and large windows that provide uninterrupted views of the passing scenery. Sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in the captivating vistas of Japan’s picturesque countryside as the train glides smoothly towards your destination. Don’t forget to capture the breathtaking landscapes on your camera to cherish these moments forever.

Scenic Highlights

The journey from Tokyo to Matsumoto showcases an array of scenic highlights, from lush greenery to idyllic villages and meandering rivers. Keep an eye out for iconic landmarks such as the majestic Mount Fuji, which often makes a stunning appearance on the horizon, offering a postcard-perfect photo opportunity. Additionally, the train route encompasses charming rural landscapes, providing a glimpse into the serene beauty of the Japanese countryside.

By following this step-by-step guide, you can make the most of your train experience from Tokyo to Matsumoto, creating unforgettable memories as you traverse the captivating landscapes of Japan.

Matsumoto Unveiled: Top Attractions and Hidden Gems

Matsumoto is a city that blends tradition and modernity seamlessly, offering a myriad of attractions to explore. From the iconic Matsumoto Castle to the enchanting Nakamachi streets, there’s something for every traveler. Let’s delve into the top attractions and hidden gems that make Matsumoto a must-visit destination.

Matsumoto Castle

Park near Matsumoto Castle in Japan Photo by SHIMADA MASAKI

Matsumoto Castle, also known as the “Crow Castle,” stands proudly as one of Japan’s premier historic castles. Its elegant black exterior and architectural grandeur have earned it the status of a National Treasure. Exploring the castle’s interior provides a captivating glimpse into Japan’s feudal past. As you climb to the top, the panoramic views of the city and the Japanese Alps are simply breathtaking.

The Matsumoto City Museum of Art

For art enthusiasts, the Matsumoto City Museum of Art is a treasure trove of creativity. The museum houses an impressive collection of both modern and contemporary art, featuring works by renowned Japanese artists. From intricate paintings to thought-provoking sculptures, every corner of the museum invites you to explore the rich tapestry of artistic expression.

The Timeless Streets of Nakamachi

Nestled in the heart of Matsumoto, Nakamachi is a charming district where history comes to life. The preserved traditional buildings exude an old-world charm, housing a delightful array of quaint shops, cafes, and sake breweries. Taking a leisurely stroll along these cobblestone streets feels like stepping into a bygone era, making it a perfect spot for immersing oneself in the city’s cultural heritage.

Local Eats

Indulging in the local cuisine is an essential part of the Matsumoto experience. From savory soba noodles to delectable oyaki dumplings, the city’s culinary scene offers a tantalizing blend of flavors. Whether you choose to dine at a traditional izakaya or savor street food delights, each bite provides a glimpse into the region’s culinary traditions.

Matsumoto’s allure lies not only in its well-known landmarks but also in its hidden gems waiting to be discovered around every corner. Whether you’re a history buff, art aficionado, or simply a traveler with an appetite for authentic experiences, Matsumoto promises a tapestry of unforgettable moments.

Where to Stay in Matsumoto

Considering the wide range of accommodation options in Matsumoto, you’ll find something to suit every budget and preference. From traditional ryokans to budget-friendly hostels and luxurious hotels, the city offers a diverse array of choices.

Budget-Friendly Hostels and Guesthouses

For travelers on a budget, Matsumoto provides an excellent selection of cost-effective hostels and guesthouses. These choices not only offer affordable rates but also create a communal atmosphere that can be perfect for socializing and meeting like-minded travelers. One such option is Matsumoto Backpackers, known for its cozy ambiance and friendly staff. The hostel’s communal spaces and shared kitchen provide a great opportunity to connect with fellow visitors while experiencing the local culture.

Backpackers Approaching Front Desk Photo by cottonbro studio

Traditional Ryokans

Intrigued by the idea of experiencing traditional Japanese hospitality? Staying at a ryokan presents a remarkable opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions. These establishments typically feature tatami-matted rooms, communal baths, and exquisite kaiseki dining. With their serene ambiance and warm hospitality, ryokans like Yamazatokan offer a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, enabling guests to enjoy a peaceful retreat that’s deeply rooted in Japanese customs and heritage.

Luxury Hotels

For those seeking luxury and sophistication, Matsumoto hosts a selection of high-end hotels that offer unparalleled comfort and style. From stunning city views to lavish amenities, establishments such as Hotel Buena Vista are designed to cater to the most discerning guests. Housed in modern architectural marvels, these hotels provide a seamless blend of contemporary elegance and traditional Japanese hospitality, ensuring an opulent and unforgettable stay.

Black Outdoor Lounge Chair in Between Blue Swimming Pool Under White Cloudy Blue Sky Photo by Donald Tong

Planning Your Itinerary: Maximizing Your Time in Matsumoto

When planning your trip to Matsumoto, it’s essential to maximize your time to experience the best the city has to offer. Whether you’re considering a day trip itinerary or an extended stay, ensuring you make the most of your time is vital for an unforgettable adventure in this picturesque city.

Day Trip Itinerary

Exploring Matsumoto in a day requires strategic planning and prioritizing key attractions. Start your day with a visit to the iconic Matsumoto Castle, a designated National Treasure of Japan. Take a leisurely walk around the castle grounds and delve into the rich history and architectural splendor of this well-preserved landmark. Ensure you capture the perfect photo of the castle’s striking black facade, an enduring symbol of Matsumoto’s heritage.

Next, embark on a journey along the Nakasendo Way, an ancient trade route connecting Kyoto and Edo (present-day Tokyo). Opt for a scenic train ride from Matsumoto to Nagiso, the nearest station to the charming town of Tsumago. Immerse yourself in the nostalgic ambiance of this historic trail, which offers a glimpse into Japan’s storied past. Consider extending your day trip to include visits to Kiso-Fukushima and Narai, where you can partake in leisurely hikes and further appreciate the region’s cultural richness.

Extended Stay

For travelers opting for an extended stay in Matsumoto, a more leisurely exploration of the city and its surroundings is in order. Spend ample time immersing yourself in the local culture, savoring delectable cuisine, and discovering the hidden gems within the city’s quaint neighborhoods. Additionally, consider venturing beyond Matsumoto to nearby locales such as the serene Hotaka and picturesque Azumino for a deeper appreciation of the region’s natural beauty and traditional charm.

Seasonal Events and Festivals

Matsumoto’s calendar is replete with vibrant festivals and seasonal events that offer unique insights into the city’s heritage and contemporary culture. Depending on the time of your visit, you might have the opportunity to partake in lively festivities such as the Taiko Drum Festival, the captivating performances of the Matsumoto Bon Bon dance festival, or the mesmerizing displays of the Yohashira Shrine Festival. Embrace the spirit of community and celebration as you participate in these dynamic events, creating lasting memories of your time in Matsumoto.

Travel Tips and Hacks for a Smooth Journey

Before embarking on the Tokyo-Matsumoto trip, it’s crucial to ensure smooth travels by being well-prepared. Packing essentials play a significant role in ensuring comfort and convenience throughout the journey. With a bit of insight into navigating language barriers and understanding cultural etiquette, you can enhance your overall experience.

Packing Essentials for the Tokyo-Matsumoto Trip

Flatlay of Traveler Essentials on Wooden Table Photo by Rachel Claire

When packing for a trip from Tokyo to Matsumoto, it’s essential to consider the diverse activities you might engage in. Comfortable walking shoes, weather-appropriate clothing, and a portable power bank are must-haves. Additionally, pack a universal adapter and a compact umbrella for unexpected weather changes. A small medical kit and reusable water bottle are practical additions for a hassle-free journey.

Navigating Language Barriers

Gray Rock Formation on Grass Field Photo by Pixabay

While English is somewhat understood in major cities, it’s advisable to carry a pocket translator or language translation app. Learning a few basic Japanese phrases can go a long way in bridging communication gaps. Politeness and patience are cherished values in Japanese culture, so being respectful and appreciative while attempting the local language can foster positive interactions.

Cultural Etiquette

Understanding and respecting Japanese cultural norms can enrich your travel experience. Bowing is a customary greeting, and it’s important to remove your shoes when entering traditional establishments. When visiting shrines or temples, observe quiet contemplation and follow the prescribed customs. Embracing cultural practices demonstrates appreciation and mindfulness towards the rich heritage of Japan.


Q1: What makes the journey from Tokyo to Matsumoto unique compared to other travel experiences in Japan? A1: The journey from Tokyo to Matsumoto is unique because it offers a blend of urban and rural Japanese experiences. Starting from the modern, bustling metropolis of Tokyo and transitioning to the tranquil, historic setting of Matsumoto, it encompasses the diversity of Japan’s landscape, culture, and heritage.

Q2: What are the main attractions in Tokyo that travelers can explore before heading to Matsumoto? A2: In Tokyo, travelers can explore a wide range of attractions including the serene gardens of the Imperial Palace, the vibrant streets of Shibuya, the historic temples, and the bustling Tsukiji Fish Market. They can also visit Akihabara for electronics and anime culture, and Meiji Shrine for a spiritual experience.

Q3: Why is Matsumoto a significant destination in the Japanese Alps? A3: Matsumoto is significant in the Japanese Alps for its historic and cultural value. The city is home to Matsumoto Castle, one of Japan’s most beautiful feudal castles and a National Treasure. It offers an authentic ambiance with traditional craft shops, hot springs, and local sake, showcasing the charm of rural Japan.

Q4: What transportation options are available for travelers going from Tokyo to Matsumoto? A4: Travelers can choose from several transportation options including the Shinkansen (bullet train) for a quick and scenic journey, budget-friendly express buses, or renting a car for flexibility and the opportunity to explore the scenic countryside at their own pace.

Q5: What is the estimated travel time and cost for the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Matsumoto? A5: The travel time for the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Matsumoto is approximately 2.5 hours. The cost varies depending on the class of travel and whether you have a Japan Rail Pass, but it generally ranges from 6,000 to 10,000 yen one-way.

Q6: How does the experience of a bus journey from Tokyo to Matsumoto differ from the train journey? A6: A bus journey from Tokyo to Matsumoto offers a more economical option and a slower pace, allowing travelers to enjoy the countryside views. While it takes longer than the train, it provides a more relaxed experience and the opportunity to see different aspects of the Japanese landscape.

Q7: Can travelers rent a car to travel from Tokyo to Matsumoto? What are the benefits of this mode of transportation? A7: Yes, travelers can rent a car to travel from Tokyo to Matsumoto. The benefits of this mode include the flexibility to stop at desired locations, the ability to explore off-the-beaten-path areas, and the convenience of traveling at one’s own pace.

Q8: What are some recommended accommodations in Matsumoto for different budgets? A8: In Matsumoto, accommodations range from traditional ryokans like Yamazatokan, offering a cultural experience, to budget-friendly hostels like Matsumoto Backpackers. For luxury options, travelers can consider hotels like Hotel Buena Vista, which offer modern amenities and comfort.

Q9: What cultural and historical sites should travelers not miss in Matsumoto? A9: Travelers should not miss visiting Matsumoto Castle for its historical significance, the Matsumoto City Museum of Art for art enthusiasts, and the Nakamachi district for its traditional architecture and craft shops. These sites offer a deep dive into the region’s history and culture.

Q10: Are there any tips for first-time travelers on navigating language barriers and cultural etiquette in Matsumoto? A10: For first-time travelers, carrying a pocket translator or language app can help navigate language barriers. Learning basic Japanese phrases is also beneficial. Understanding cultural etiquette, such as bowing, removing shoes in certain places, and observing customs at shrines and temples, will enhance the travel experience in Matsumoto.


In conclusion, traveling from Tokyo to Matsumoto offers a range of transportation options, including the convenient and scenic Chuo Line train. Once in Matsumoto, getting around the city is easy with the option to explore on foot, rent bicycles, or utilize the Town Sneakers bus service. Additionally, there are various accommodation choices catering to different budgets, from the mid-range comfort of cafe&stay CASTANA to the budget-friendly and welcoming atmosphere of tabi-shiro. With its rich history and beautiful surroundings, Matsumoto is a destination well worth exploring.

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About the author
blogger, andrea urbinati, marketing, copywriting, seo

Hi! I’m Andrea, a passionate freelance writer with a knack for captivating storytelling.

With a decade of marketing expertise and a genuine love for crafting compelling content, I bring your ideas to life!

Let me know if you need a writer for your blog!

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