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Disaster/Emergency Warnings and Safety Tips App

Yesterday morning, when a missile passed over the northern part of Japan, 12 prefectures were alerted via their areas’ emergency alert systems which included sirens and warnings via mobile phones.
In light of this, we wanted to direct visitors and residents of Matsumoto to information and resources that may be of use to you during an emergency.
Please note that we are not experts and cannot bear any responsibility in the event of a disaster or emergency or for any loss or damage resulting from the use of third party websites or applications.

Although Japan is a relatively safe country, there is still a chance that you may find yourself awoken by a siren and/or a warning alarm coming from your phone.

Sirens: Typically, sirens are accompanied by loud speaker announcements that indicate what the sirens are being sounded for.
If you don’t hear any announcement accompanying the sound of siren, the chances are that the warning is not emergency related as sirens are sometimes used to indicate that it is a certain time.

Phone warnings: Warnings may appear on your phone for disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and landslides. These warnings will indicate how you should react including if you should seek shelter or evacuate. Please see the information below on an app that will provide warnings in English, simplified and traditional Chinese, and Korean.


Information Resources:

 Safety Tips App

The Safety Tips app is a free app created by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO).  It is a push-enabled app that was originally designed to issue warnings for events including earthquakes and tsunamis. The app offers other functions in addition the warning function such as communication cards. It will allow you to add up to five locations that you would like to receive warnings for. Find out more about the app here. You can download the app via the JNTO or search for “Safety Tips” in your app store.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)

The JMA provides information on natural disasters including earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Their Emergency Warning System is detailed here and more information can be found on their homepage.

General Advice:

  • In most cases, you should not run outside during an earthquake. You may be hit by falling debris, so try to wait until the shaking stops.
  • If an earthquake occurs and you’re near the coast, move inland. Objects can be swept away in even shallow water.
  • If you are on or near a volcano and notice trembling or smoke, leave the area.
  • If there is heavy rainfall, either suddenly or continuously, and you are near a mountainous area, move away from the mountains, especially if you are near an area with few trees, which may be more susceptible to landslides.

Good news: ATM for foreign C/Cards and Bus to Utsukushigahara

I heard two good news for foreign travelers to Matsumoto.

ATMPhotoOne is a new ATM machine has been installed in the tourist information center at one block south of Matsumoto Castle. You can withdraw Japanese yen by your international cash or credit card as well as ATMs in Seven-Eleven convenience stores and post offices.
See this PDF leaflet for the details.

Another is new bus service to Utsukushigahara Heights. Until last year, a bus to the Utsukushigahara Heights Art Museum operated only early August to mid-August. This year, another direct bus to Utsukushigahara Heights operates weekend of June 18 to Sep 19 and everyday of July 25 to August 31. It departs from the Alps (west) Exit of the station at 8:00 and 13:30 (twice per day).

11 Free Wi-fi Spots, Smartphone Screen, New Map Page are Available Now

This March, Matsumoto City installed free Wi-fi at 11 major sightseeing spots.

See this map to find the spots and here for the SSID and the condition of use.

Please look for the following symbol mark to find the wi-fi spots.

Smartphone Screen

Smartphone Screen

At the same time, we optimized the screen of this site for smart phones and also developed a new Google map page to make it easier to find your destination, restaurants, shops and hotels.

“Matsumoto Concierge Map” will be distributed

“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!

Come to see our gorgeous cherry blossoms!

According to the blossom forecasts for cherry trees this year, best timing to visit Matsumoto castle will be April 9th to 16th.

“Yozakura kai (night sakura viewing festival)” will be held during the season, free admission to the castle’s inner garden (can not enter in the castle’s keep at night, though) .

There will be traditional tea ceremony services (500 yen), live performance of flute, Japanese traditional instruments such as “koto (琴)” and the ancient court music “gagaku (雅楽)”, as well as various food service inside of the garden.

Free WiFi in North/Eastern half of Japan for tourists. 14 Days.

This is Really useful info for Tourists traveling in the top half of Japan.

Matsumoto Castle Nominated for General Election of “TDFK47” in Trip Advisor

Matsumoto Castle is now nominated for “General Election” of “TDFK47” as a representative of Nagano Prefecture in the tourist website Trip Advisor.

It is a parody of the “General Election” of AKB48, the top idol group in Japan. The photo of the spot that got the most votes will be used as “Center” in the Trip Advisor. You can “vote” just by pushing “Like” button if you have your Facebook account.

There are 47 prefectures in Japan and our Matsumoto Castle is selected as a representative because it has been the most popular sightseeing spot in Nagano Prefecture in the site.

Matsumoto Castle and Japan Alps in winter

The election is until 23rd, Dec. Now Nagano Pref (Matsumoto Castle) is getting the most votes (the second is Hokkaido).

The webpage is in Japanese. Matsumoto Castle (松本城) of Nagano Pref (長野県) is located in the 10th row, the left column.

Please vote if you like Matsumoto Castle or Nagano Prefecture!

Matsumoto Street Performance 2013

July 14th Sunday, you will be a witness  of  marvelous & amazing performances in the whole town of Matsumoto.
Matsumoto Street Performance takes place biennially in Matsumoto downtown.

(All these amazing photos are from Matsumoto  Machinaka Daidogei Executive Committee.)

33 best professional & semi-professional performers from all over the world congregate for just one day!

It is very easy to find these astonishing artists on the street!  All you need is “JUST BE THERE”!!

International Cultural Festival:June 23rd Sunday

This coming Sunday, “International Cultural Festival” is going to be held at M – Wing in Matsumoto downtown.
There, visitors can savor various international foods prepared by Shinshu University International Student Association members.
Not only exploring dietary cultures,  you are able to experience different music, dance, fashion, and workshops in one place on that day.

Venue: M-Wing, Matsumoto downtown about 150 meters west from PARCO department store.
Date:    June 23rd Sunday from 11:30 ~ 17:00
FREE ADMISSION (food tickets are sold at the venue)

Free Wi-Fi is Available at Nakamachi Kurasshic-kan and Some Other Places in Matsumoto

Now carrying a tablet PC such as an iPad and/or a smart phone has become a normal style of travelling abroad. But, 3G Internet connection abroad is expensive and there are few free Wi-Fi spots in Japan. Most Wi-Fi services need registration or mail certification through a screen in Japanese and/or fees.

Perfectly free Wi-Fi service without any registration nor fee is now available at Kurasshic-kan, a landmark of Nakamachi Street. You can connect Wi-Fi in a open public space, a tea room (electric wave is weak, open 10:00 – 17:00 (10:30 – 16:00 in winter)), and a square in front of it, from 8:00 till 22:00.

Kurasshic-kan's public space (left) and a tea room (right)

Some other places in Matsumoto such as cafes offer Wi-Fi servcice. One of them I know is a cheep cafe restaurant with a good view on the 10th floor of Toko City Hotel in front of the Matsumoto Station.

In and near the Tourist Information Center in front of the Hotaka Station which is a gateway to the Wasabi Farm also offers perfectly free Wi-Fi service.

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