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Collect your favourite destinations, experiences and travel styles in your bucket list

Collect your favourite destinations, experiences and travel styles in your bucket list

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Matsumoto

Surrounded by the Northern Alps of Japan, Matsumoto city offers one of the most popular Castles in Japan. It also is the hometown of Yayoi Kusama, the famous contemporary art designer. A great abalnce of art, traditional and excellent photo opportunites.

Matsumoto can be reached from Tokyo by traveling to Nagano Station by Bullet train, and then take a local rapid train for approx. 1 hour to Matsumoto. Coming from the western parts of Japan, such as Kyoto or Osaka, you can access Matsumoto via the Nagoya station, and then take the Wideview Train to Matsumoto. The Matsumoto Castle is one of the main reasons why the Japanese and Overseas Visitors a like visit Matsumoto. And why wouldn't it be? The Castle fortress on the top floor, is a Japanese National Treasure, and the Castle itself holds a very important part in Japan's history.  The color of the castle is very unique in itself and is called the "crow castle".   Located only 7 minutes walk from the station, it is easy to access and really no need to use the public transport unless you are short on time. The Matsumoto Castle grounds are a pleasant walk and if you walk over the northern parts of the grounds you will be able to firstly see, the Matsumoto Shrine, and then with another 5 minutes walk, you can reach the Former Kaichi Primary School, which offers a great example of European Architecture, but also has the Japanese influence clearly seen.    

There are several other very important shrines in Matsumoto, such as the Yohashira (Four Pillars) Shrine, and you can walk through the grounds to take you to the traditional area of Matsumoto city, the Nakamachi Dori (Street) area. Here you can see the traditional style house and storage houses which are predominantly in a beautiful white color. Some of the stores here are as old as the buildings themselves, we as some are very modern cafes, interior design, antique, gifts stores and even the Matsumoto Craft Beer have a store in one of these well preserved houses.

If you are even only a little interested in art, contemporary art, you can take the loop bus of Matsumoto which is the red dotted bus to the Matsumoto City Museum of Art, which has a great Japanese Woodblock Print exhibition, although the main draw card is the permanent Exhibition of Ms Yayoi Kusama. Yayoi Kusama is famous for her contemporary art which is now seen all over the world, and in locations such as the Naoshima contemporary Art Island.  Maybe her most famous works are the Pokker dotted pumpkin objects. 

Matsumoto has Hotel accommodation available, but if you have more than one night, maybe taking the local bus approx. 20 minutes, you would like to stay in some very unique Ryokan (Traditional Japanese Inn) accommodation, all included with natural Hot Springs.  

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"Experience Japan Travel", that is the name of the company that created our Japan trip, and what wonderful "experience" it was. Scott Kent, was exordinary in hi ability to help plan a wonderful and effortless family vacation in the 9 days we had to travel. He worked closley with me to get a clear understanding of what we were looking to see and do and made me feel like I was his only client. Planning a great trip is only part of the equation. He and the company are based in Japan, his currant knowledge of what is happening in the country was invaluable. Desired adjustments and changes to the itinerary (do to weather for example) were made effortlessly. This also included finding a doctor for my daughter. Within 30 minutes of the request, we were in a specialists office with Scott standing by to interpret as needed. Its the kind of thing one can't anticpate in advance but Scott was able to make it happen without stress. Thank you for that Scott. Our Teen age kids really enjoyed this trip, here are thier comments; "Scott tailored the trip and our activities to our families interests. He was able to give great insight to what its like to be a kid growing up in Japan. (the educational system was an incredible eye opener!) He also made everyone feel like they were being shown around in Japan "by a friend". An amazing experience we will never forget." It was a trip that exceded all of our expectations, and for that we are are very grateful to Scott and Experience Japan Travel. Loved Tokyo, and all of the diverse areas. Our guide in Tokyo was so knowledgable and fun to be with. In addition to seeing the sights, we had many conversations about Japanese culture and life style, past and present. Got a great sence of what life was like there. Had the best sushi we have ever eaten at wonderfull and intimate sushi restarant. On the way to Kyoto we were able to stop in Hakone to visit the "Open Air Sculpture Museum" defiantly a highlight of the trip. In Kyoto, we saw all the "must see " sights, The Bamboo forest, The Ryoanji Temple and stone garden, and the Golden Pavillion. All beautiful and very worth while. We went ceramic shopping and Scott was able to find us the most interesting shops as well as help with purchases. I would say our private visit to a Buddist Temple was the unexpected highlight of the trip. Magical, and life altering. We were all so touched by this special visit that Scott was able to arrange The only change would be to have more time. There is so much to see, so much to experience (theres that word again). We just left wanting more. Perhaps the next time, we would go in a differnt season.... READ MORE

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