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My Time in Matsumoto (Guest's Blog)

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13 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



12 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



11 2007/6/1 NAGAKNOW
aida 
JAPAN
Hello. Do you know how I could get a copy of NAGAKNOW? I am in Ibaraki right nw w/ my daughter. I am a nikkei-jin from the Philippines and my grandfather is TAKATERA SHIGEO frm Ueda-shi, Nagano. I have been to Nagano only once n 1994 and met the youngest brother of my grandfather MASAYOSHI. I would like to know more about Nagano. Thanks for the help.


Note of webmaster: Hi there.

You can download pdf files of it from the site NAGAKNOW.
The site also has a distribution point list.
You won't be able to get one where you are unless it is sent to you by a friend.
I hope that does the trick!



10 2007/5/30 <3
Ella J 
Visit Website SWEDEN
Now I have been here over a month and Im really enjoying the town of matsumoto and other sightseeingspots around. I think its a good place for foreigners to be!
Though, the ATMs are hopeless . I would never have managed to take out money without my friend.

I have a small request that i think other foreigners also would want to know. I bought a japanese camera (=cant charge it in sweden) So where is the place to buy adapter?

Regards
Ella


Note of webmaster: hi Ella,

A not unusual problem. You can find adapter plugs in Jusco (Katakura Mall) just up the river a bit from Frog Street. You'll have to hunt around upstairs on the second floor (1st floor if you're British!) around the suitcases section.

You will also find a choice of plugs in most electronics stores - try "Laox" on the top floor of Parco in town (use the lift on the Isemachi side), or "Eden" out by the 'Nagisa Life Center' on R19. Suggest you take your camera & original plug along just in case.

As for ATMs, you're right: Japanese ATMs & banks in general are useless. You may also have hassle eventrying to use overseas credit cards eg JR caps purchases at Y10,000 per transaction!
Don't panic though. You'll find some helpful information here:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2208.html on using ATMs in general
And how to use the ones at the post offices in particular here:
http://www.yu-cho.japanpost.jp/e_a0000000/aa000100.htm

Good luck! Jim



9 2007/5/21 Koboyama
sugarcane 
THAILAND
I'm planning to visit Matsumoto next year, and found this website helpful.
I'm interested in Kobayama, to see cherry blossom, and wish to have a day trip from Matsumoto.
Unfortunately, I cannot find how to reach there.

Please advise.

Thank you.


Note of webmaster: Hello there.
Mt Koboyama is quite close to Matsumoto. A Taxi from the downtown railway station or perhaps the slightly closer 'Minami Matsumoto' station would only take a 5 or so minutes. I suggest visiting the nearby museum also to get the picture on the history and artifacts. You could also take advantage of the free loan bikes which can be loaned from the City offices. ... sorry about no map. I will prepare an update to the page on how to get there and to the related culture Museum in the next few days.

Milton



8 2007/5/21 help me please
Abigail McHugh 
SPAIN
oh I do hope that the editors really read this on occasion! I am an American English teacher currently living and working in Spain and am hoping to teach in Matsumoto next year, though I am having trouble finding adverts for job openings. Of course there are millions of jobs availible in Japan, but I specifically want to be in Matsumoto, which complicates things slightly. Do the editors have any suggestions of where I should look? Even just a yellow pages listing of all of the English schools in Matsumoto would be great (in English). I would really appreciate any ideas or help that you could offer. I have CELTA cerification, 3 years English teaching experience and additional teaching experience in the field of music, references, a master's degree, and am fairly normal and respectable looking. Thanks so much. abigailmchugh@hotmail.com


Note of webmaster: Hi there Abigail
I tried to reply earlier but had a few technical problems. I will e-mail you directly a list of the numbers in the Yellow pages of the phone book.
We avoid being on the ground helpers in Matsumoto as we are volunteers and have limited time. We first of all seek to make this site a resource that hosts all the useful information possible to a person visiting or interested in visiting the area.
But as this is likely to be an area of ongoing interest for those visiting, I will soon make a simple list of English schools in a corner of this site. (Links area).
Moreover we have amongst us editors those with interests or jobs in particular English schools which we try to keep neutral ground on.
So check your inbox for the list.
The school year begins in April and many jobs change also at that time. So in the few months before April you will find a lot more opportunities.

Milton



7 2007/4/21 Great English Website--THANK YOU!
Diana 
UNITED STATES
I finally have a chance to venture out to other parts of Japan after having lived in Tokyo for almost four years! Your website has made it so easy to take the jaunt up to the J-alps. Thanks very much!



6 2007/4/20 Matsumoto, here I come!
Ella J. 
Visit Website SWEDEN
Hello from an icecold and rainy sweden!

First of all I would like to thank you for making such a complete and well-designed site! It was really needed for me since I am going to Matsumoto next week

One thing I would love to know is if the internet-usage at the tourist information really is f r e e? o_o

Oh and btw, at first I thought that your site was the official one xD Really nice.

Kind Regards,
Ella


Note of webmaster: Hello Ella J.
Good to hear that you are on your way to Matsumoto. I hope that you have a wonderful time here. Please let us know your thoughts. I would love to hear what you enjoyed as well as anything we could help you with.

The answer to your question is yes. The Internet access at the tourist information center is free. At the Tourist information center on Ote street in front of the main gate of the Matsumoto castle, there are two PCs (one is Windows and the other is Mac). Travellers may use these computers freely.

And, if you have your own PC, there is free wireless access at Tally's coffee shop near Matsumoto JR station and in the Matsumoto airport. Unfortunately there is no PC or wireless access in the tourist information center at Matsumoto JR station, but we have now made that suggestion.
Thank you for the wonderful comments and question.
All the best on your adventure,
Liza



5 2007/4/8 hi
katarina rhiner 
UNITED STATES
hi i am from iowa and i am doing a project when i stupled across your page as a matter of fact i am going to japan in june as an excange student and i really do think that it will be cool to see.



4 2007/3/26 Great site!
Colleen Rumpf 
UNITED STATES
I stumbled on your site tonight after searching for Asama Hot Plaza. It's been a few years since I've been in Matsumoto and I am homesick for it! Your site is terrific. I wanted to say that I have stayed at Ikedaya and it was lovely (I had a tatami room). They were so nice there and it was a huge improvement over the old Sunroute where I used to stay. Also, Sweet is my favorite cafe -- I used to go for a fabulous pastry and coffee in the morning and they would play The Beatles. Wonderful memories. Again, thanks for this site!


Note of webmaster: Hi Colleen
It's great to have your comments
If you would like to do a wee paragraph on any of the places you mentioned we would be glad to add it to the site in the related area.
Perhaps with instructions we may even be able to take a shot of the cafe or inn you have stayed at, to sit along side it. I understand you using the word "homesick" when relating to Matsumoto. I can well imagine feeling that way if I were now so far from it
Do write back with some details if you have the time.
Milton



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