John Harvey Photo

MatsumotoGo to Slide Show

A nice little town

Bridge Over Bay Spaghetti
We left off in Amanohashadate.  We knew we wanted to get to Nikko and Matsumoto was roughly half way between the two.  The day to get from Amanohashadate was crazy - we left at 10am and arrived at 11pm - local trains most of the way.  It would have been faster to go "the long way" back to Kyoto, to Tokyo and then up to Nagano, but we wanted to "see the sights".

Matsumoto is in the Japanese alps - the mountainous spine of Japan. Our train trip was mostly along the Japan Sea, but started to go inland (and into the alps) just after the sun set - we missed it all.

Matsumoto Black Castle

Matsumoto has a black castle.  The castle is only a small part of what used to be the castle complex - the outer moats are filled, the other buildings torn down and the roads rearranged.  The castle was in pretty bad shape in the 1900's and was completly rebuilt in the last 100 years - but it's still original materials.

Matsumoto Castle Castle With Swans

Underside Of Castle Armor And Rifle
The inside of the castle is set up as a museum.  They show various artifacts from the eras this castle stood.  The castle was built after gun powder was used in Japan so the castle was specific designed to resist shot.

Making Lead Shot

Outside of the castle there was a Chrysanthemum show going on. The Chrysanthemum is a classical Japanese flower, but these breeds shows are entirely modern.

Bonsai Chrysanthemum Spider Chrysanthemum Irregular Incurve Chrysanthemum

Wasabi Farm

Having seent he castle, we thought we would see something a bit more domestic - a Wasabi farm.  We took a local train east to Hotaka - a small farming town and rented bikes.  These three speed bikes with baskets on the front were wonderful to ride - having been at the mercy of trains and buses, the freedom of biking was appreciated.

Mark And David With Bikes  Wasabi Growing In FieldWasabi In Uncovered Field

The farm itself was quite interesting.  Wasabi (a horseradish type root plant) is a difficult to cultivate plant.  It grows in gravel beds with a constant supply of fresh water.  There are screens pulled over fields to cut down on sunlight.

Trimmed WasabiPotato With Wasabi Mayonnaise

The light was so nice, I decided to take some multiple exposure photos just for play.

Blurry Waterwheels Glowing Ivy

On the Road Again

Local Train
After our long trip the day before, we weren't looking forward to another train trip.  Today's trip was a 3 step trip - express to Nagano (about an hour) and then shinkansen to near Nikko, and then another local train for an hour to Nikko.

Shinkansen With LightsLittle Farm

Just after leaving Matsumoto, the fog started to roll in. Pretty soon we couldn't see much beyond the closest field. When we transfered to the shinkansen at Nagano we found out just how much of this high speed track is underground. Amazing.

David In Front Of ShinkansenRice Drying In FieldLunch On The Train

Next: The Temples and Shrines in Nikko

Spider Chrysanthemum
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Bonsai Chrysanthemum
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Matsumoto Castle
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Rice Drying In Field
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Local Train
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Making Lead Shot
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David In Front Of Shinkansen
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Irregular Incurve Chrysanthemum
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Trimmed Wasabi
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Mark And David With Bikes
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Bridge Over Bay
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Wasabi Growing In Field
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Underside Of Castle
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Armor And Rifle
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Castle With Swans
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Little Farm
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Glowing Ivy
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Shinkansen With Lights
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Lunch On The Train
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Wasabi In Uncovered Field
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Potato With Wasabi Mayonnaise
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Blurry Waterwheels
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Tags: Japan(20), farm(4), train(4), castle(3), train station(3), flower(3)
People: David(1), Mark(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > A Second Trip to Japan > Matsumoto
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > A Third Trip to Japan > Matsuyama > Matsumoto

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Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 00:42:51 Edit
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