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My Time in Matsumoto (Guest's Blog)

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29 2007/9/6 Alpine Route
Christine 
AUSTRALIA
Hi again Milton! Thank you for the information re forwarding luggage and for all the trouble you took to find out for us. We appreciate it very much. It certainly seems that it will be quite easy for us to do this, and hence we will be able to take the Alpine Route to Toyama. Thanks again for your wonderful help! Christine



28 2007/9/6 Place to stay
Mona Bonde 
DENMARK
Wow I am looking forward visiting Matsumoto after reading this site.
Could you please help me. Are there any youth hostels in Matsumoto or other cheep places to stay???
2 persons: 2 october to 7 october. greeting from Mona


Note of webmaster: Hi Mona,

Please look through our "Accommodation" pages. A Youth Hostel can be found in the "Accommodation Directory - Asama Onsen" page, but, one of our editors recommends other places such as a guesthouse called "Kaze no Yasuyado" in "Accommodation Directory - Downtown" page and "Ryokan Seifuso" in "Accommodation Directory - Downtown Ryokan".

Enjoy your trip!

Akira Matsuo (partly, Sayaka)



27 2007/8/28 Alpine Route
Christine 
AUSTRALIA
Hi and thanks for the wonderful website. We are visiting Matsumoto in late October and are wondering about doing the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, and then travelling on to Kanazawa. Is it possible to have our luggage forwarded from Matsumoto to either Tateyama or Toyama? I have read that such a service exists in Japan and it would be great if we didnt have to carry our bags with us. We are looking forward to our stay. Many thanks.


Note of webmaster: Hi Christine.
Sorry about the slow response
The Webmaster has found 2 options for you.
I suspect the first will suit you best.
There is a courier service from Japan's version of FedEx that can do the job. They have an English website http://www.kuronekoyamato.co.jp/english/services/takkyu.html).
The luggage would be sent to the destination (hotel) by the next day. That may mean you have to arrange a receiver if you are not there at the time it comes. To avoid that you could pick it up from the Toyama Depot or a convenience store close to your destination. I recommend the Convenience store pick up option if it can be arranged.
I have called the courier company and am awaiting their reply. Hopefully I can confirm some possibilities for you. And update this post.
Update. Just got called by Kuroneko to hear...You can also select the date of delivery with in 7 days of sending luggage. That should help with delivery arrangments when you are available.

Option 2 if you can handle Japanese, is to carry luggage from Matsumoto to Shinano Oomachi by yourself, and then use a luggage sending service from http://www.alpen-route.com/bsc2-recomm3.html (Japanese web page) to Toyama. The luggage could then be sent to Toyama station or hotel by 16:00pm if you left it at Shinano Oomachi station (Alps Roman-kan) by 11:10 am. Again you need to arrange someone to receive it.

I recommend the first service as it is flexible on times and can take your gear anywhere in Japan and practically the world. (If you want to fly some stuff home to Aussie it could be of use.)

Steps for first Service
* You will need details of destination etc. Get the address details of the hotel you are staying at or the nearest convenience store to it that receive Kuro Neko (Black Cat) deliveries.
*Print out instructions on web page here http://www.kuronekoyamato.co.jp/english/support/send_package.html
And for filling in address forms here
http://www.kuronekoyamato.co.jp/english/support/address_label.html
*Take gear to Convenience store Fill out address form with date to be delivered and send it.
*make sure you can find the destination store get a map printed of your destination area before you go.
Hopefully that should help.
If you need further help let us know.

Regards Milton



26 2007/8/14 Thanks muchly!
Matthew 
UNITED STATES
Thanks to all of those who've worked on this site to provide so much information about Matsumoto. I will be moving to Matsumoto next month to teach English, and I've found more useful and interesting information here than I've been able to find anywhere else, including guidebooks. Keep up the good work!



25 2007/8/4 Guitar shops in Matsumoto
Lee 
SINGAPORE
Hi! Are there any guitar shops in Matsumoto? I dreadfully need it!!! I'll be there for business trip on Sep 07. Please email me if there is. Thanks a lot


Note of webmaster: Lee,

I’ve asked around and apparently Matsumoto has a few good musical instrument shops and a guitar specialty shop as well as a factory. The guitar specialty shop is "Guitar Shop SPECIALS their web site is http://dsd-guitar.com/specials/index.php and the store is a 5 minute walk north of the station. Matsumoto also has the Fujigen Guitar factory which has an online shop http://www.fujigen.co.jp/webshop/default.asp and they may
sell guitars directly in the factory.

There is also an instrument shop on the 5th or 6th floor of Parco (see the shopping section for details). This is a chain store called Shimamura. There is another one near the station. To get there, take Ekimae-dori (see the map) straight east out of the Matsumoto train station. In the second block from the station there is a Tully’s coffee and a fountain and then you will find a specialty foods shop called Treasure Market. The shop is on the second floor above Treasure Market and it is called Oguchi Gakki.

Best of luck and let us know if there is anything else we can do to help with your trip.

Liza



24 2007/7/17 Thanks
Martin 
UNITED KINGDOM
I will be going to Matsumoto next week to teach English. your site has given me a lot of valuable info.

Thanks very much !



23 2007/7/14 Thank You
John Lim 
SINGAPORE
Thank you for your helpful advice. I am sure I will enjoy beautiful Matsumoto.



22 2007/7/8 Visit to Utsukushigahara, Hakuba and Hotaka
John Lim 
SINGAPORE
Hello,
I am from Singapore. I am planning to visit Matsumoto next week with my wife and 3 year old daughter.
We are planning to visit Utsukushigahara Kogen Plateau and Utsukushigahara Open Air Museum. I note that there is a bus which goes to Utsukushigahara Kogen Plateau and another bus that goes to Utsukushigahara Open Air Museum. Is it possible to walk from Utsukushigahara Kogen Plateau to the Utsukushigahara Open Air Museum? Can I visit both Utsukushigahara Kogen Plateau and Utsukushigahara Open Air Museum in one day?
I am also planning to visit Hakuba and the Hotaka Baio Wasabi Farm. Is it possible to visit both places in one day?
Thank you for your advice.
John Lim


Note of webmaster: Hello John, sorry for this late response.
Yes, you can visit both the Plateau and the Museum in one day.
If you visit the Art Museum first by Utsukushigahara Kogen Art Museum Line bus, you can take a 30-minute hike to Utsukushi-no-tou (a small symbol tower).
If you have time, go to the top of Utsukushigahara Kogen Plateau (Ougatou) by hiking 40 minutes more.
Then, walk down to a parking area (Tengu-no-roji) and you can ride the Utsukushigahara Kogen Heights Line bus to downtown Matsumoto.
Please check the timetables for these buses and make a plan before you go.

I think you can visit both Hakuba and the Hotaka Daio (not 'Baio') Wasabi Farm in one day, if you have a rent-a-car. But, Hakuba is wide and there are some sightseeing spots. Especially, Going up by cableway and hiking on major trekking courses like Happou and Tsugaike take half day trip.

If you don't have a car, you can visit Hotaka Wasabi Farm by taking a 10-minute ride with a rent-a-bike (or taxi). From Hotaka to Hakuba, it takes a 45-minute express train ride, but there aren't many trains in a day. So, it might be a hard schedule.

Enjoy your trip from Singapore!

Akira Matsuo



21 2007/6/28 What to do with children?
jacqueline 
SWEDEN
Thank you Milton for invaluable information. The tips/info you and Liza (one of the founders of the web site I understand) have given me, has changed the way I feel about my familys trip to Matsumoto. We are now excited about going.
I asked Liza about accommodation suitable, for a family staying for 4 weeks and she suggested Ryokan Seihuso it looks great and just what we have been looking for. But if you know of any other places that you think might be of interrest,( if Seihuso have not got availability) please let me know.
Now to some of your questions.
My husband is working at the music festival so we need to be close by most of the time.
Our children are used to travel and loves to find out new things and try different food etc. They probably want to get away from us at some point and play with other children so an english speaking day care place sounds great. They do not practice any martial art as yet, but are nagging so I thought that there can't be a better place to start than in Japan. Also instructions are more focused on doing and watching rather than talking. The boy plays tennis here and the girl rides.

Your initial answer has exceeded all my expectations. After trying embassys in Sweden and England and the tourist office I had only info about the same websites I had used to find there adresses from. I thank the creators of this site from the bottom of my heart and you for taking the time to write such an extensiv answer.
Jacqueline



20 2007/6/20 What to do with children?
Jacqueline 
SWEDEN
Going to Matsumoto 7/8-3/9 with 2children boy 6 and girl9. Has any body got any tips on things to do and see there during this time, martial arts classes adventure baths etc etc...? Any japanese children who want to interact with english speakers
Love to hear from you. Jacqueline


Note of webmaster: UPDATED 25-06
Dear Jacqueline

If you are here for a month there are a reasonable range of things to do but not quite of the density you may find in the main centres. It also may depend how budget conscious you are.
What are you mainly coming to Matsumoto for? General touring, Business? Will you be strictly around Matsumoto? Will you need time free from your children? There is English day care for Japanese available that your kids could perhaps go to while you kick back. Are your children inquisitive? If so a few places that may usually be more interesting to older children may be of interest
For martial arts and things; you may need to be here for longer to join but I have been advised of some contacts. Ask for more detail if your interested as in Japanese only.Can you read Japanese? Do your kids already practice a particular martial art?
Re adventurous activities. An American associated with this site Daniel Junker,who has lived all his life in Japan runs an activity/camp centre http://www.ridenorthstar.com/ and in nearby Hakuba a (site of some of the winter olympics activities) is a program see http://hakuba.lion-adventure.com/
- There are many fireworks events and festivals. One nearby is nationally famous.
- There are good pools like LaLa Matsumoto which you will need in August.
(see site http://user1.matsumoto.ne.jp/~lala/.
- You arrive on the night before an annual Noh theatre performance at the castle. (See events section on this site). Tight scheduling perhaps but not to be missed and quite an enchanting first impression for you and your Children. It’s free on August 8th 5 - 8pm.
- Do your kids learn classical music? If so you must see the Saito Kinen festival. (See Events section). Book Now!
- The ‘Bon Bon’ is a massive street party for which the whole city stops. It is a great atmosphere and a whole lot of fun. Tens of thousands of people turn out, and it is suitable for all ages. Your kids can get dressed up Japanese style and dance along.
- Public Baths; where you can bath in water with liquorice or wine or genuine flower extracts in it and where you can have your feet nibbled clean of dead skin by fish that live in hot water. Fun for kids too.
Re activities with Japanese Kids. Our webmasters kids for one would be interested in such a time. We also have contacts with kids with various levels of English who may be interested in meeting your children. One pair I teach, speak good English having spent 5 years in Australia and at identical ages and genders to you kids.

Other activities in the region.

Nagano Direction (North)
A little older and further away (75 km) in Nagano the Zenkoji Temple houses an idol of Buddah that dates back to the first arrival of Buddhism in Japan about 1300 years ago. Kids won't understand a lot but it will be impressive. Take a walk under the temple in pitch darkness to search a room for a lucky Spot.
This temple is considered to be in the top 3 most important temples in Japan. It is famous and has another famous linked temple with long history in Matsumoto (Gofukuji).
Zenkoji was also the site chosen as a base of a warlord for a series of famous nearby Battles that took place in the period* shortly before Matsumoto Castle was Built. (*Senkoku Jidai- the age of the country at war).
- A nearby Samurai Military School where the family of the Lord still live nearby and a cave network built at the end of World War two. It could be a bit serious but it may also be exciting, educational and Very Real. The school is still used for martial arts.

Kiso Direction (South west)
- There are also old villages as they were in the times of Samurai.
- If you have religious interests you can see a statue of Mary and Jesus kept at a Bhuddist temple that when discovered had its head smashed off as a warning to Kakure Kirishitan* fostering their religion in secret. (*Japanese Hidden Christians from the Mid 1600s to the end of the Edo period).

Suwa Direction (South East)
- Also on the religious front a nearby Shrine is home to the Onbashira (carrying of a pole/tree) festival.
Every seventh year (i.e. 6 years) huge logs are ridden down hills some times with fatal results. They are then carried to the local shrines and erected there. The origin of this and a range of festivals across Japan are very interesting
Your kids will probably think this particular one is probably better called Crazy! Ask me if you are interested in more info.
You possibly could/will see it on TV one day. It is considered 1 of the top 3 great festivals in Japan. Your kids won’t be able to see the festival but may be pleased to say they have been there touched the pole that hundreds of people slide down a hillside on.
Although it is the wrong time of the year, part of this shrines traditions strongly support Jewish ancestry in the community.
To this day they celebrate a festival around April 15th that rehearses an event very similar to the Abraham and Isaac story and the name of the mountain behind the Shrine is almost identical to the one in Jewish history. This amongst other elements of the shrine are amazing as the festival goes back to a time shortly after massive numbers of Jews left modern day Israel a few hundred years BC.

- While in this part of the greater Matsumoto region there is also a farm type place where children can have contact with animals etc. "Tyrolean woods" http://www.tirol.gr.jp/
- A little bit further away are some other kid focused attractions. Ask me in reply.
- There are free hot foot spas and a drum festival on a lake front in a nearby city (where your kids can probably have a turn drumming).

Please Reply..You’re inspiring me to write some kids focused items for this site.

What are you and your kid’s current plans interests and schedule? Does any of the above interest you?
But for now I hope this is useful.

Do reply…

Milton



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