Now, autumn is a season of beautiful, colored foliage, mushrooms in forests, and don’t forget the harvesting of yummy FRUITS as one of Nagano’s specialty!
This year, a young farming couple (with a baby) who moved from Tokyo starts apple picking experience with pick-up service from Matsumoto Castle, on Oct 11.
They live in a traditional farmer house near Alps Park, so the experience is not only picking fresh apples in their orchard, but also sitting in their tatami room, having Japanese tea and various autumn food, and touring around their Japanese-style house if you want.
The fee ¥3000 includes all-you-can-eat picked apples and carry-out of two.
You can book the service from the reservation form on their English website. Reservation is required by noon of the day (preferably by the previous day). They are closed on Sundays.
See the following flyer for the details.
* The picking experience will end on Nov 21th because their apples will be finished earlier than expected.
About other orchards (without pick-up service) and more info about fruits including grapes, see this blog.
Fuji Apples with “Honeycore”
Two Kinds of Fresh Grapes
In Matsumoto, Nagano, Autumn is a season for beautiful colored leaves, mushrooms in forests, and yummy FRUITS!
You can buy and eat various kinds of apples and grapes in farmers’ markets.
But, if you pick apples in orchards and eat them immediately, you would be surprised that taste of fresh apples are different from usual ones you eat.
Experience of picking grapes and eating under grapes is fun and it will be good memory.
Some of the orchards where you can experience fruit picking in or around Matsumoto are,
“Craft Fair Matsumoto“ is the biggest and oldest craft fair in Japan, attracting 50,000 ~ 70,000 visitors during the event.
This year, celebrating its 30th anniversary with 280 craftsmen from all over Japan, along with many relative events in downtown Matsumoto city.
May 24th (Saturday) & 25th (Sunday) / Free admission
The “Five Tips” to enjoy Matsumoto craft fair even more are….
１） 歩・・・Take a walk
The craft fair venue is at “Agata-no-mori Park“, just 2 kilo meters away from JR. Matsumoto station. It is a nice walking course with lots of natural spring wells (w/ drinkable water) and unique shops. Arriving Agata-no-mori, exploring the buildings of the “Former Matsumoto High School” . The school buildings full of western influences were constructed in 1920, and designated as a national important cultural properties. In the campus, old trees of zelkova and cherry are forming an atmosphere of small forests.
２) 知・・・Expand the knowledge
280 craftsmen including wood carvings, ceramics, lacquer wares, metal works, weaving, dyeing, glass works, leather and food producers will be all over the park. From traditional to modern techniques you can learn various craft art forms all together.
３) 聴・・・Live concerts
As you may already know, Matsumoto is so-called the town of music. Here at the site, live music concerts will be held on Saturday evening (May 24th). Admission Free, can bring your own food and drink, or temporary mini bar is available at the site. It is so relaxing to listen to nice music on live in homey atmosphere.
There are always full of booths selling various foods and drinks. Usually they are situated at the north-east side of the park, and so many to choose from: Japanese, Cambodian, Indian, Italian, German, Macrobiotic and so on. And there are many nice restaurants on the way from the station, too. It’s worth visiting just for experiencing different taste!
Nothing to explain here, I guess! Hope you are able to find a special piece and take home with other beautiful & unforgettable memories of Matsumoto City.
*The vendors often don’t accept credit cards at the site. Go to International ATM (the main post office on Honmachi St. is closer from the park) before visiting the event if you wish to purchase there.)
Read also an article of Matsumoto Craft Fair by Winifred Bird on The Japan Times
The 43rd Plum Blossoms Festival(sumomo-matsuri) will be held at Ichinose Ranch（一の瀬牧場）in Norikura Highlands on May 18th Sunday.
The ceremony starts from 10:30 a.m., admission is “ｆree”. Live music with Alpine Horns, Taiko(Japanese drums), Yodel Chorus and Japanese traditional dance are offered to the visitors along with “Sake”, “soba” and “Miso soup” services.
Sumomo（Japanese plum) trees grow naturally in Norikura Highlands, they usually start blooming from mid- May and last until Mid June.
Sumomo jam, wine and ice ream are on sale at the shop in Ichinose ranch.
And don’t forget about famous Norikura Onsen(hot springs)! There are several inns and public bathhouse for day trip visitors.
Yukemurikan(湯けむり館）opens from 9:30~20:00, admission fee is 720 yen for adults, 300 yen for kids.
There are many small inns and hotels with onsen in Norikura area. ⇒Norikura accomodations
To reach Norikura highlands, Haruyama bus(春山バス） services are available until June 30th.
The bus departｓ from Shinshimashima bus terminal in Matsumoto, and takes visitors to the snowy corridors on Mt. Kuraigahara.
⇒Haruyama bus info
“Matsumoto Concierge” is a civic volunteer group guiding tourists from JR Matsumoto Station and the downtown tourist information booth.
“The Castle Town: Matsumoto Concierge Map” was created by “Matsumoto Concierge” members after numerous discussions, and the most useful, often unwritten, tourist information has been selected.
Recommended restaurants with price range, availabilities of credit cards, free wi-fi and English menus, and the locations for free bicycle pick-up, convenience stores, drug stores, banks, coin lockers, camera equipment stores are addressed on the map. Since all the spots, shops and restaurants introduced on the map are selected by the locos (Matsumotorian), the short comments tell real stories of Matsumoto.
This unique and very useful map is provided at the major hotels and inns in the downtown area, and will be distributed at the “Matsumoto Concierge” booth which is located in front of the wicket gate of JR Matsumoto station during tourist season starting from this golden week.
However, the number of the map is very limited, it may not be available to every tourist who will visit Matsumoto in this year.
Please download the map image from ⇒ “Matsumoto Concierge Map“, so you can install in the tablets of yours and use them while strolling the town.
Have lots of fun along with this handy information!
Annual Yebisu Festival (a festival honoring Yebisu [the God of Wealth]) will be held at Yohashira Shrine downtown Matsumoto city from November 16th to 17th. Shrine maidens are going to give out talismans made of bamboo grass to worshippers and visitors. During this festival, popular traditional confectionery, “Kintsuba” will be sold in the shrine precinct. Dozens of various sweet shops around this region are selling their specially made kintsuba on both days. Kintsuba is a round or sometimes square shaped traditional cake made of bean paste covered with lightly baked mochi like skin, which signify squarish guard at the end of the grip of a bladed ‘katana’ samurai sword. There must be some plausible reasons or anecdotes to consume Kintsuba on Yebisu festival day for such a long period of time especially in this area, yet I haven’t been found one still.
Kintsuba is also available on local traditional confectionery shops. The photo of Kintsuba is provided by “Hanayagi” 3-7-49 Fukashi, Matsumoto (near Fukashi Shrine).
Yebisu Festival・・・・・Yohashira Shrine Nov 16th & 17th
Nagawa is a small village located on the western mountain range, about one hour away from JR Matsumoto Station by both train and local bus.
There, “Soba Festa” has been held until November 4th. During the festival, various Soba restaurants are serving this year’s first cropped soba and having stamp rally. Collect stamps by trying at different soba restaurants during this season, guests will get some prize. But forget about prize and such, Soba in Nagawa is already rewarding!!
This Sunday the 20th, they are serving “Nagawa Soba” which only use this region’s buckwheat for 500 yen at Sansai kan. After having wonderful meal, travelers can relax at the local inn’s natural hot spring “Onsen”. Enjoy autumn’s breath taking colorful foliage on the mountain and delicious local soba in Matsumoto’s back yard!
３０ different Sake brewing manufactures in this region are gathering at the Flower Clock Park, in front of south entrance of PARCO department store from October 12th to 14th. Each opening day, １０ local brewers are serving their special Sake to the ticket holders.
This is a rare and marvelous opportunity to taste various flavor of Sake and best matching appetizers.
October 12th, 13th & 14th ： from 11:00 ~ 15:00 (Last order 14:30)
Venue: Flower Clock Park (in front of PARCO department store)
Advance Ticket : 1,000 yen Ticket at the gate: 1,500 yen
Taste various local sake from 30 different brewers and try delicous appetizers which matches with sake!
Advanced tickets are available at the local restaurants and brewers (Kurano-Mukou, Shuraku, Raiden, Yamazato, Furinkazan, Banzaiya, Anju, Warikan , CROSS, Yamaya Sake Store, Miyosawa Sake Store, Aizawa Sake Store, Nakajima Sake Store, Otsuka Sake Shop, Yonetaya and Omoya-Hiraide Sake Store).
October 14th, 10:00~15:00 at Matsumoto castle inner gardern
Free entrance to the inner garden on the 14th, “500 yen” for each tea ceremony attendee .
(*You need pay castle admission fee to see inside of the castle building!)
Annual official tea ceremony event held by five different tea ceremony schools.
Even though you are not familiar with formal & authentic tea ceremony manners, masters of tea ceremony are there to show the foreign guests how to enjoy tea.
Please enjoy our traditional refreshment!
Soba Festival at Matsumoto Castle is on October 12th to 14th (Sat to Maonday) this year.
The biggest annual “Soba” festival in Nagano prefecture which attracts more than １６０，０００ epicureans and tourists from all over Japan. Not only soba, bunch of other local food and drink booths are arranged around the castle. This year, local “Sake” tasting event（1,500 yen /ticket) is also taking place at “Flower -Clock Park” in front of PARCO department store in downtown.
On the way to the castle, on Daimyo-cho street, live “Taiko (Japanese dram)” performance and other live performances by local artists will be played all day long.
Soba chefs from many other regions are competing their original hand made soba in the castle garden and downtown area for 3 days. This is going to be a perfect opportunity to taste different kind of soba with regional varieties, since each soba dish costs around 500 yen for this event.
You never get bored hanging about Matsumoto during this event since local soba, beer, sake, beef steak, fruits, vegetables and many other specialities are available.
Please come and enjoy this wonderful gastronomical party in Matsumoto!!!