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Showing posts with label Matsumoto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Matsumoto. Show all posts

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Japan Ukiyoe Museum Matsumoto

日本浮世絵博物館

What should a tourist visit in Matsumoto? Without hesitation, I recommend the magnificent Matsumoto Castle. But after that, should you stop at Italian Tomato for a bite to eat? (It's good.) Maybe you'd like Mr. Donut? (Mmmm! We did.) Or maybe you'd like to leisurely browse through the local Animate shop? (Did that one, too.)

How about going to Matsumoto's Japan Ukiyo-e Museum? It houses the largest private collection of woodblock prints in the world. The Sakai family has amassed over 100,000 pieces of this beautiful art. How about it? Sound good? Let's go!

Japan Ukiyoe Museum


I think you will need some assistance to find the museum. We were told it is a 15 or 20-minute walk from the castle grounds. That isn't too far.

We've been walking now for about 15 minutes... should be getting close. Is that a street or a neighborhood pathway? Do you see any signs? What does the map say?

I am getting kind of tired. We've been walking for 30 minutes now. Should we keep going? What's that building over there? A school? Oh.

Where are we? I see a bus stop. There's a man in that little office over there. I think he's selling all those old appliances lying in the gravel lot. Ask him if he can call us a taxi. The man called his friend, but the friend wasn't home. Where is this museum? Wouldn't you think a museum with such a big collection would want people to come and see it? What is the man doing now? He's trying to wave down a bike rider... no, a lady driving a van!

The lady stopped. I can't believe it. If someone did that in America you would be too scared to stop. She's looking at the map carefully and speaking to Amanda in Japanese. She's going to give us a ride to the museum! The people in Japan are so nice!

Look, we're at the museum! We made it. I want to buy a print to take home. Aren't you glad you came with us? Remember the next time you walk here you should turn right at the old farm stand. Pass it on.

The Japan Ukiyo-e Museum (JUM)
2206-1 Shimadachi
Matsumoto
Nagano
390-0852
Hours: 10am-5pm; closed Monday



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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Azusa & Super Azusa Trains

あずさ、スーパーあずさ

If you are heading north west from Tokyo towards the delights of Shinshu: Matsumoto Castle, Yokota Onsen, Hakuba and Kamikochi the most comfortable and affordable route is on the Azusa or Super Azusa trains from Shinjuku Station to Matsumoto.

Super Azusa

These frequent JR trains (about once an hour from Shinjuku Station) take around 2 hours, 30 minutes to reach Matsumoto via Kofu. The service, named after the Azusa River in Matsumoto, started in 1966 with the tilting, 130kph "Super Azusa" commencing service in 1994. Both trains have been completely no-smoking since 2007, something of a rarity in Japan.

Super Azusa

There is some wonderful countryside to enjoy on your journey from Tokyo to Matsumoto. Fares are around 6500 yen and a JR Rail Pass is valid on this route.





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Monday, March 03, 2008

Matsumoto Castle

松本城

Matsumoto Castle, in Nagano Prefecture, is one of Japan's oldest castles and along with Hikone Castle, Himeji Castle and Inuyama Castle, is designated as a National Treasure.

Matsumoto Castle, Nagano, Japan

Matsumoto's black painted, wooden keep (donjon) is the oldest surviving such structure in Japan, dating from 1595. The black color gave the castle its nickname "Karasujo" (Crow Castle) and the brooding color was designed to sow fear in the hearts of any approaching attacker. Matsumoto Castle is built on flat ground and has a large moat as a means of defence.

Construction of the fortress began under the Ogasawara clan in 1504 and was remodeled by Lord Kazumasa Ishikawa, a retainer of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, in the mid-1590s.

Matsumoto Castle, Nagano, Japan

The castle has six floors, including the obligatory hidden floor where the samurai rested and kept their powder and food. Visitors to the castle must take off their shoes as they clamber up the steep stairs. There is a commentary in both Japanese and English and exhibits of firearms, armor and samurai crests. There are expansive views of the Southern Alps from the top.

Matsumoto Castle

The castle was not designed for permanent residency, purely for defence. On your progress to the top floor look out for the openings for archers (yazama), guns (teppozama) and for dropping stones (ishiotoshi).

Matsumoto Castle
4-1 Marunouchi
Matsumoto
Nagano
390-0873
Tel: 0263 32 2902
Admission: 600 yen (with reductions for foreign visitors on presentation of a passport)
Hours: 8.30am-5.pm (last entry 4.30pm)

The ticket also includes admission to Matsumoto City Museum (Tel: 0263 32 0133) in the south east corner of the castle park.

Access

There are direct Shinano trains from Nagoya Station (2 hours) and from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo by Azusa and Super Azusa trains (2 hours; 30 minutes).
Shinshu Matsumoto Airport has flights to Fukuoka, Osaka and Sapporo.
There are direct buses to a variety of destinations including Shinjuku, Osaka, Nagoya, Chubu International Airport and Takayama. By road, Matsumoto is accessed from the Chuo Expressway.

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