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My Time in Matsumoto (Guest's Blog)

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39 2007/10/30 Grape Picking in Yamabe
Junie 
SINGAPORE
Hi,

Read your write-up about Yamabe Grapes & picking. How do we go there?

Also heard about the wasabi farm, is it nearby?

Thanks & cheers!


Note of webmaster: You can get close by bus from down town, Or you can loan a bike from the city office.

Milton



38 2007/10/25 Re:
Linda Yeung 
CHINA
Dear Milton,
Thank you for sharing your adventurous life from New Zealand to Japan and your very kind reminders.
God bless you and your family in every way!
Linda



37 2007/10/25 farm visits around Matsumoto
Hoosun 
SINGAPORE
Small group of us from Singapore are planning a visit to Japanese Alps including maybe 3 nights in Matsumoto at end July 2008. We will have JR rail passes, no kids, like walks in nature but not climbing mountains.
One of the things we would like is visits to the local farms. We understand there is a public bus to the DAIO wasabi farm but learned that there is no public transport to the other farms in the area.
Are there local tours we can join for farm visits? English speaking? Appreciate any advice for visiting these farms?
Thanks much!
Hoosun


Note of webmaster: Hoosun
Sorry about the slow response.
KamiKochi is a must for you if you are into Mountains and walkiing of a relaxed level. But a bus is the only practical way to get there. There are plenty of Buses to Kamikochi from Dowtown.
On the farm visits front, other than the Wasabi farm Transport would require Baike Taxi or Cars.
One farm that speaks English is is http://www.ogurayama.com, a member of WWOOF. I will try to get more info on this.
How many in your party? There are not really any established tours to farms though.
You mentioned that you have no kids with you. But were you hoping to see and be in contact with farm animals. If so there is a place focused on younger people that still may be of interest.
You can have contact with animals at. "Tyrolean woods" http://www.tirol.gr.jp/.
Also you should visit Utsukushigahara Kogen Plateau. There you can visit a wide open highland farm area with cows. You can get there by bus from down town also.
I will try to update this entry again soon.
Do add any details you can about your groups nature and purpose.

Milton



36 2007/10/23 Thank you
Linda 
CHINA
Dear Milton,

Thank you so much for your information! As advised by you, we will go to Kamikouchi when we head back to Tokyo after going to Shirahone. I hope I can see its last best secenic view with red leaves or even leaf falls on the ground.

We can also visit the Castle on 12 Nov.
A pity that I can't make it earlier and see it peak. It doesn't matter. This just gives me another excuse to come to Matsumoto again. Actually, I am a frequent visitor to Japan. This is my forth trip to Japan since May 2006.

You're working for the government or a voluntary job? Are you a local or an expatriate? Just being curious.

Anyway, great work!

Linda


Note of webmaster: Hi Linda
I am from New Zealand and have lived here with my wife and daughter for three and a half years.
I teach English at a private English school.
I actually have a Japanese student who was raised in Hong Kong and has a lovely English accent. I am probably polluting that. I worked in the finance and legal regulatory departments of a challenger Telco when in NZ.
I enjoy the work hours to after tax income ratio here, the peaceful and safe lifestyle and respectful culture. But I guess living up in the mountains here is one of the best spots in Japan?
Too bad you really likely will have missed the best of the Autumn colour.
I expect it will be quite cool when you come so do bring a Jacket etc. We can get even an odd bit of snow fall in November.

I hope you enjoy your 4th visit to Japan.

Best wishes Milton



35 2007/10/19 stay
Linda 
HONG KONG
Dear Sir/ Madam,

I will stay in Matsumoto at 11/11-12/11.

Linda


Note of webmaster: Hi again Linda

I was keen to see when you were here as they have forcasts over here for viewing the colour change of leaves. It seems you will be at the very end of the ideal period when you come.
I would have recommended you stop in at the Beautiful Kamikochi highlands on your way to Shirahone if you were here very soon. It is peaking there right now . Some very up to date photos can be seen here; http://youkoso.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp/spot/ with Kamikouchi photos at the bottom. But I am sure it will be past it's best when you come. So I suggest that the areas around Matsumoto Castle Joyama Koen and Agatanomori Park may be most convenient to you. Matsumoto Castle is a must visit being one of a few genuine castles left in Japan. Entry also includes entry to the co located Museum that at the moment features an exhibition of exhibits from China's Imperial court.
Other than that the Kiso valley just south of Matsumoto is framed with bush and is likely to still be looking good in terms of Autumn colour and it has a range of interesting historic sites to see (I recommend Naraijuku there).
But it would take half or most of your day. If traveling independently you could go via Kiso to Shirahone. There is a route from Kiso through to the road from which you trun off to go to Shirahone Onsen.

Do discuss further with me. What other priorities do you have in Matsumoto area? You may see some good suggestions also further down this blog.

Milton



34 2007/10/14 red leaves and 1 day stay
Linda 
HONG KONG
Hello! I enjoy reading this website very much. Thank you very much for all the useful information.

I'll go to Matsumoto for only 1 night and heading on to the Shirohone hotspring. We'll have 1 evening and morning spending in the city. Any suggestions what we shall see?

Will we be able to watch the red leaves at that period in or around Matsumoto?

All the best, Linda


Note of webmaster: When will you be in town Linda?



33 2007/10/6 Matsumoto city: Marumo and Seifuso, which one??
Charminglamb 
CANADA
I couldn't decide between Marumo Ryokan and Roykan Seifuso in Matsumoto. Anyone has any suggestions?

Ryokan Seifuso has a good website and looked very English speaking friendly. However it is not exactly downtown. As we're planning to drop off our luggage first thing in the morning when we arrive, (before we go visit the castle) Marumo Ryokan is only 15 mins walking distance from the Matsumoto JR station. Besides, Marumo looked like a place with more character. But I'm not sure if they have a nice accomodation because there is no picture. I don't know if they have a bath or a shower??
For distance and character , I would pick Rarumo. But I don't know enough about it to know if it is a good place to stay. For comfort and English friendliness, I would pick Seifuso even though it's further away.

Anyone can give me more information about these two ryokans( especially Marumo) would be greatly appreciated!

1) Do either of them allow luggage drop off before check in time?
2) Which one has a better bath area?
3) Which one is cleaner?
4) Which one has better food?
5) Do you know if they serve good breakfast??

I also heard there is curfew. If anyone know what time is the curfew for both roykan that would be awesome!

Thanks,
Charmaine


Note of webmaster: Comment 2 From another editor.
We reccommend Seifuso overall for the following reasons
-They allow early luggage drop off. (Both do).
-You should survive OK with English there.
-There is a traditional Japanese style joint bathing area a must if haven't already been to Japan. Marumo does too but it seems to be a little cramped. Eticate for onsen applies.
-Marumo would seem to be definately a lot more classic it dates back to 1868. Link here to web page http://www.avis.ne.jp/~marumo/
- Private shower booths are also available.
- Toilets are in some but not all rooms mention this if required when booking.
-They speak moderate English but prefer e-mail reservation requests.
-Toilets are all western style at both ryokans.
-Seifuso provides dinner, Marumo doesn't.
-Beakfast is at additional cost at both Ryokans. Marumo is a typical Japanese grilled fish and side dish type breakfast. Seifuso have both Japanese and western style that comes with drinks juice coffee etc included.
Marumo doesn't take credit cards. Seifuso does.
No curfew at Seifuso. Marumo's curfew is 11:00pm (if you call and ask before, it can be later)
Seifuso can pick up guests from the Railway staion between 3-5 PM and 7-8 PM.
Perhaps you could put your luggage in a Railway statiopn locker for the day until you get picked up in the afternoon or evening.

Next step I suggest is an e-mail your chosen Ryokan I suggest Seifuso for an easy stay for a foreigner. But Marumo is very convenient to downtown and a very genuine old Japanese style ryokan.

The Choice is yours Charmaine!
Milton n Maki
Comment 1
I don't know the answers to all of your questions, but I think that the most important thing to keep in mind is the different location and thus atmosphere of the two inns. Roykan Seifuso is a very homey place a little way out of the city center next to the river. While Marumo Ryokan is right downtown and a bit smaller. I think that you would be happy with both it just depends what you are looking for. I know Seifuso well and highly recommend it. I have never seen the rooms or bathrooms at Marumo but the cafe is wonderful and one of my favorites in town.
Hope this helps,



32 2007/9/26 Luggage Storage for Stopover
Junie 
SINGAPORE
We would like to stopover to see Matsumoto Castle on our way to Takayama. Like to know if there are luggage storage (large 29inch hardcase & 1 large backpack) near the JR Matsumoto Station so that we can go around luggage-free.

We will be taking the highway KEIO bus to Matsumoto. However, we cannot find the timetable for connecting bus to Takayama. Please help!

Thanks a million!


Note of webmaster: Junie (and all travellers),

You can find the bus timetable here: http://www.alpico.co.jp/access/express/index_e.html

If you ask the bus people very nicely when you arrive (inside and downstairs from where the bus drops you off - follow the tickets sign) they may be able to help you. No guarantee - smile & look a bit lost?!

There are coin lockers at the train station, literally across the road; various sizes but I'm afraid I haven't taken a tape measure to any.

Enjoy your stay and post your impressions?



31 2007/9/15 studying Japanese in Matsumoto
Shirley Delsart 
UNITED STATES
Hello!
I have been studying Japanese off and on for a number of years, but still consider myself a beginner, maybe high beginner. I've decided that it's time to get serious and come back to Japan, specifically to Matsumoto to study in a Japanese language course for one semester or maybe longer. Can you give me some websites to check out? Does Shinshu Univ. offer Japanese language courses to the general public? Thanks for your help.

Shirley


Note of webmaster: Re: Japanese language course in Matsumoto city

Hi! Shirley.
Unfortunately, Japanese language courses in Shinshu University are only available for the regular university students.Shinshu University Japanese Class Info
However, a private institution, Marunouchi College of Business Marunouchi Japanese Course offers 2-year course and 3-month intensive course. Since it's a small business school in down town Matsumoto,Marunouchi Business Location it will be convenient for the people without cars. Please check out !!
Good luck and hope to see you in Matsumoto soon.
Rico



30 2007/9/9 I miss Matsumoto!
Cutenekko (Selinda) 
JAPAN
I lived in Matsumoto for three years (from 1999-2001). It's a lovely city with friendly people. Some things I enjoyed while there were:
1) Bon Odori dance during Obon (around Aug.14~16th). Local people form groups and perform the Matsumoto dance all through the streets. Anyone can join in!
2) Cafe Abe (from the train station, go up the big main street. It's near the Yamaha music school on the right). Try the mocha parfait there...yum!
3) Take a local train out to Hotaka or Azumino (to see an IMAX screen, glass museum, u-pick farms, etc.)
4) Go skiing in Hakuba (I took the local train and then a free bus from Shin-Omachi Station to my favorite hill, Kashimayari)
5)Frog Street along the Metoba River...it's been completely refurbished. I especially loved the Edo(?) style police box!

To Matthew: You'll love Matsumoto! Small town and friendly people. Great music scene there too! Check out Hot Lab near the station!


Note of webmaster: Come back Selinda!



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