Matsumoto may be most famous for its impressive castle, but its layout and surroundings are just as picturesque. Occupying a valley with views of towering mountains in every direction, this city owes its majesty to significant developments in the 8th, 14th and 15th centuries.
Pleasant days can be spent meandering through the streets, taking in the cafes and galleries that line these pretty thoroughfares. As the sun dips behind the mountains each evening, visitors congregate to watch the spectacular light show that nature puts on with the Japanese Alps as a backdrop.
For those wishing to take a closer look at the stunning peaks, Matsumoto represents the perfect base for trekking, with several well-established routes at their disposal. Alternatively, head out of the city to a wasabi farm to see how this ubiquitous Japanese ingredient is grown.