The Official Tourism Site of Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan
The Matsumoto Welcomes You website has been renewed and is now Visit Matsumoto (! We are still working on fixing a few problems and you may notice some links do not work yet. We will fix them as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Local Transportation


If you want to jump on a local bus, get some local help first or you'll never be seen again...Ask at the tourist office inside the train station. Before you do this, you should make sure which suburb you are trying to get to, and the "name" of the bus stop (and even better, the 'line' of the bus). Ask the driver to tell you where to get off? Ha ha ha.

One of the buses,
designed by Yayoi Kusama
Some buses announce the names of stops as they go. To my knowledge, only one stop is in English in the whole city (and I had to pay for that!). Some buses have 'no-step' access.
Point of departure usually our drab 'bus station' under Ario (the department store opposite the station, more or less) across the road. There's only one bus co. in town (hence the prices). You'll need to find out which gate to board at. Predictably, schedules are very reliable! Unfortunately, last buses are very early in the evening.
Most buses do now have English & Japanese destinations on the front - but you have to get on at the back door (and take a ticket from the machine as you do so - grasp it tightly). Pay as you get off - dump cash in the hi-tech tumble dryer thingy - you can watch your fare increase as you go on the 'bingo' display at the front. The number on your ticket allegedly corresponds to the number of the zone you boarded at.

The city does boast an impressive number of 'tourist' routes, which will get you out of the city to points of interest far & wide. Routes & timetables Please make sure you check for 'winter' non-service.
If you want to go to Kamikochi by car, be warned, you can't! Dump your car at Sawando & get the bus up & back.

Town Sneaker

For your sightseeing convenience, there are four inner city loop lines (N, E, S, and W). The buses themselves are disguised as "Town Sneakers" and used to be a Y100 coin per boarding ('one coin'), but now the fare is 200 yen (150 yen on some sections). This is what they say:
# One Day Ticket is good for the day of issue, and in common with Northern / Eastern / Southern / Western course. # "Special Favor" (whoopee do I can hear you shouting!) With showing the One-Day Ticket, You are able to get a discount of the admission fee for Matsumoto Castle. Please show your One-day ticket at the ticket office of Matsumoto Castle. The discount apply (sic) to only one person par (sic) one (sic) ticket. See this blog for the details.

And if you read this far, please complain about the fumes most of the buses produce. Sure, some of them have green & eco-freindly stickers on them, but most of them you do not want to be behind on a bike at a red light. Oh yes, and ask for bus lanes & cycle lanes too! You know it makes sense - the suits will listen to tourists (we locals can't vote :-x )

Happy travels!


Rickshaws - I've seen one, usually in an exhibition case by Agematsu Hotel! On busy holiday weekends you might find a chap or chapess in traditional Shinshu jogging gear + chariot at the castle. Shinshu Matsumoto Rickshaw provides information on their facebook page and offers courses starting at 1,000 yen (1,800 yen for two people) for 15 to 20 minutes. Longer courses are also available.
Available for special bookings (wedding photos at the castle anybody?)

Free Bikes

Sui Sui Town

Free bicycles 'Sui Sui Town' are available daily from 9am to 5pm and can be returned as late as 9pm at various locations throughout town.
They can now be rented from the Matsumoto Sta. Oshiro Exit Bicycle Parking (8 bikes) and the Matsumoto Sta. North Bicycle Parking (26 bikes). Information is available in both Japanese and English (at the bottom of the page) on the Matsumoto City Website.
Additional locations include the public hall 'M Wing' (5 mins from the station on foot, see the Google map), the car park “Kuranoaru” on Nakamachi Street, Matsumoto City Museum next to Matsumoto Castle and The Former Kaichi School.
The other free bicycles 'Rikisha' are also available at some hotels and shops.
They're convenient for visiting sights not accessible by Sneaker Bus - you will not win the Tour de France on one, but you can get your souvenirs in the front basket. Details at Matsumoto Tourist Information.


Japan is a relatively sensible country & drives on the left side of the road. However, don't let that put you off.
Rules of the road? Well, just stand back for 5-10 minutes & you'll get the hang of it. Watch the natives & learn. Ideally you'll have a friend stand up off the rear axle (short skirt best); riding on the wrong side makes things very exciting especially if you do not have insurance; double the thrill & blast down one way streets (clearly sign posted) on either side of the road. Wearing a helmet? Come on - live on the wild side! For tamer riders, just use the footpath (pavement, sidewalk). On no occasion should you turn on lights. Local weather conditions & traditions should be observed - raincoats appear to be outlawed - you should use an umbrella (see-through ones you can buy at convenience stores for Y100) instead in the rain/sleet/snow. Adept riders will be able to text message their buddies using their other hand. Your friends will laugh at you if you are seen riding the same bike twice. Hand-signals are frowned upon.
Officially, ignore the above & be a good citizen. In event of an accident, drivers are obliged to contact the police & bow at you until they get a nosebleed/get a mortgage to pay you off. Hit & runs are becoming more common, unfortunately. Get the number of the car, and insist on medical attention. There are no street lights, assume all rounds lethal after 4pm in winter.
To see how it is done properly, please visit Matsumoto's very own cycling superstar.

See also a blog article about rickshaws and free bikes.

Renting a Car in Matsumoto

The good news for those who would like to rent a car in Matsumoto is that there are quite a few car rental places to choose from. Many businesses provide English websites. All the places listed below are within 5 minutes’ walk from the station Be sure to have a valid driver's license and passport to be sure.

In order of proximity to the station

  1. Eki rent-a-car
    Very convenient for those who wish to walk no further than the station parking. Walk past the flower shop, don’t follow the curve in the road but keep walking straight into what appears at first glance to be a service entrance. You will see the offices straight ahead. Open on public holidays.
    To visit the webpage go to, or you can phone them at (0263) 32-4690, or send a fax to (0263) 32-3257.
  2. Nissan rent-a-car
    Extremely close to the station. Walk past the flower shop, and follow the curve in the road. It’s just around the corner facing the Bus Terminal. Open on public holidays.
    To visit the webpage go to, or phone them at 0120-00-4123.
  3. Toyota rent-a-car
    See their English website.
  4. ORIX rent-a-car
    Located on the Alps Exit side of Matsumoto Station
    To visit the webpage go to, or phone them at 0263-34-3711.
  5. J Net
    No English available. It’s about 4 blocks to the right of Matsumoto station and on the 3rd block in.
    To visit the webpage go to, or phone them at 0263-35-0154, or send a fax to 0263-35-1854.
  6. Times
    * The former brand name was "Mazda Car Rental". It became a new brand "Times Car Rental" on April, 1st, 2013.
    Come out of the station, turn right, follow the road about 6 blocks or until you get to the railway bridge, turn left, and it’s on the 2nd block on your left. To visit the English webpage go to

This map was kindly provided by the Matsumoto Tourist Information Centre at the station. Incidentally this is an excellent resource for any traveller, and very English friendly!!

Renting a Car at the Shinshu Matsumoto Airport

A Japanese website of the airport says you can rent a car at the info center on the arrival floor (1F) in the terminal building. You can choose a company from Times, Toyota, ORIX Rent-a-car, and J-net.