Apart from the Matsumoto Castle there is not much to see in Matsumoto. We briefly visited the City Museum to learn about the castle, the city and its annual events but left after 30 minutes.
We then strolled south from the castle across the Metoba River until we hit the ‘frog’ street – apparently there used to be lots of frogs close to the river, but they moved away many years ago. Still, you can buy frog souvenirs in the street.
Apparently the frog mascot of Matsumoto is also as a pun on the Japanese word for return and you can purchase and give a frog as a charm, so that your loved one would return safely.
One street further down to the south, Nakamachi Street, is lined by several nicely preserved, old buildings, including a number of warehouse-type buildings (kura) with massive, white painted walls, a characteristic of former merchant districts.
Some of them house small shops, restaurants and ryokan. This is a nice area of the city to walk through, with lots of knick-knacks to sell, from lucky cats, red double-decker buses welcoming you to Japan…
… and some old-looking stamps.
We stayed one night at the average Hotel Matsumoto Tokyu Inn, because we had thought we’d spent more time in Matsumoto. But there was not much to do, so we took an early train to Shinjuku, Tokyo on the next morning.