Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Page 1 of 2: Posts 1 - 20 of 25
 
1 2
next

Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/6 01:55
Hi everyone
We have 4 nights to spare coming between Iga Ueno and flying out of Tokyo. We'll go to Iga Ueno after spending time in the Wakayama/Kumano Kodo region (including Mt Koya).

One idea we had was to go to Matsumoto, and spend a couple of nights in the city plus a couple of nights in a couple of onsen places within an hour or two's drive from Matsumoto City.

My query is about what it will be like driving to e.g. Shirahone Onsen in the second week of April - around April 11th. I know that Kamikochi, for instance, doesn't open until the end of April so I was concerned that the roads might be snowy - or even closed.

From looking at previous years' weather in the region, I can see that there's a chance of it being below freezing on some days in early April, but I wanted to know if anyone had experience of driving in that region at that time of year, please.

In general, I'm fine with driving in Japan and fine with driving in mountain regions with winding roads. But I would draw the line at driving in snow.

Thanks a lot.

Also, if anyone has any ideas for an alternative nice place to spend 4 nights between Iga Ueno and Tokyo, that would be great. A city with a bit of culture, which also has one or two onsen places within a couple of hours, is the sort of thing we're looking for.
by Winter Visitor  

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/6 11:31
Hi! Matsumoto is nice for a couple of hours and there are some good french restaurants in particular if you want to stay overnight, but I've not found it to be particularly interesting for anything longer. Personally I'd look elsewhere.

If I was looking to burn 4 nights between the peninsula and Tokyo, I'd either go through the Kiso Valley stopping at Tsumago (not a huge fan but with low expectations it is fun) then up to Matsumoto for maybe a night then off the Karuizawa and maybe Bessho Onsen; or I'd stop at Hikone for a few nights then move on to Enoshima which is my favorite place to finish a trip.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/6 13:52
Matsumoto is actually a very good place to spend time and to stay. And early April is a great time to see the city. The cherry blossoms ought to be in full bloom about then, and the evening illumination of the trees around the castle is quite stunning. Look for a place to stay between Matsumoto Station and the castle, or if you are a bit more adventurous, perhaps in Asama Onsen (a part of Matsumoto with lots of hot spring baths and accommodations).

There's far more of depth and interest in Matsumoto than just French food. There are many restaurants that serve great Japanese good in town. Sad to say that if all you have to go by is the shallow descriptions and selfies you find on the typical English-language blog by people who don't understand Japanese, that's probably all you'll experience anywhere you travel in Japan, Matsumoto included. Incidentally, who would travel to central Japan for French food?

Yes, some of the historic towns in the Kiso Valley are a good place to visit, too. As was mentioned by a few other people on another thread recently, there's a village known as Narai Juku (technically, a southern part of Shiojiri City, I believe) that in many ways is nicer than Magome and Tsumago, and it's easier to reach since the train stops right there. It's just a bit harder to find a place to stay in that region.

Personally, Karuizawa is one of those places that I'd skip unless you have a good reason to go there, such as to see someone you know.
by Furansu Ryori (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/6 14:56
About Matsumoto... If you like onsen, go to Asama Onsen in Matsumoto, for sure! There are some very nice onsen there. Biwa-no-yu is the oldest, most famous, and nicest onsen:

http://www.biwanoyu.com/

The last time I was there, it cost about 800 yen ($7) for a great onsen experience. ADVICE: Borrow a robe from your ryokan or hotel room to take with you to the bath, and then you can stroll from the indoor to the outdoor bath without having to put your clothes back on. Definitely take the time to enjoy both baths.

If you have the money, consider staying at Kiku-no-yu, a very traditional Japanese place right in Asama Onsen.

Some accommodations will pick you up downtown at the train station. Otherwise, you can take the Asama Onsen bus to the last stop for 360 yen. It runs from the train station, near the castle, past Shinshu University, and out to Asama in about 20 minutes.

There's a website called "Matsumoto Welcomes You" where you can post questions on the Guest Blog and get lots of helpful information:

http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp/

Enjoy your trip to Matsumoto! It's a great place.

by Onsen Zuki (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/6 16:26
I'm sorry if I offended the Furansu Ryori poster. to clarify I've actually been to Matsumoto 3 times for a total of about 8 nights, so it isnt as though I just breezed through for "selfies and blogs" (I have taken maybe 2 selfies in my life - yuk - and dont have a blog).

The town isnt my cup of tea, though early morning walks around the castle are nice especially with the locals doing their tai chi or yoga. I have had a number of spectacular meals there of various cuisines, but the french food in particular struck me as being awesome. And to my mind, the french food in Japan is the best anywhere, as it is light on cream and garlic. To suggest that there is something untoward about enjoying french food in Japan is misinformed. It doesnt mean that I hate Japanese food - our typical trips have several nights in ryokans, so french makes a nice change.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/6 18:02
Matsumoto is definately a great place as a base - especially if you love onsen.

beside a small and calm city, with great food (horse!) there are many nice trips easily done from there:
* go to bessho onsen through a very narrow road over the mountains. beautiful, but dont forget your navi :-)
* kiso valley
* Daio Wasabi Farm (it is better than it sounds)
* Obose is also not sooo far away and has a great museum of Hokusai (and almost no foreigners there, but plenty of japanese)
* sanbontaki

for onsens in this area i recommend this book:
https://www.amazon.com/Nagano-Onsen-Guide-Day-Use-Springs/dp/153719120...
it contains a lot of "secret onsens" and is just beautiful to read, but of course a simple google research will do
by Glimpigumpi rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/6 19:03
I cannot agree with Lazy - Matsumoto has plenty to offer for several days.
Spent there a week this autumn, and additionally to city's interests (castle, museums, ukio-e, just hanging around by foot or city bikes, eating in izakayas) we made side trips to Kiso, Azumino, Utsugushigahara.
Lovely, small, calm city.
by girlwithpearl (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/6 19:27
Just read your post. I live in Matsumoto and have driven here for close to three decades. Driving in early April at city road level is no problem at all, barring a freak storm. And most elevated roads around the city are fine then, too. If you try to get too high up in the surrounding mountains, some of the roads could still be closed. But I ordinarily wouldn't want to drive to those places if I wanted to take a relaxing drive. If an Alpico (our local transportation company) bus goes there, I'd suggest leaving your car in town and taking the bus if you really want to go high up into the hills. It's much more relaxing.

Matsumoto is a wonderful city. Besides all the typical sights in town and around that were already mentioned above, I would leave at least a half day to use the free bicycles the city provides and ride leisurely through the old parts of town, and maybe even out to Asama Onsen. If so, you'll discover lots of wonderful things tucked away that the typical tourist who just hangs around the castle never even sees.

You can also pick up a guide brochure showing the many artesian wells around town and make stops along your bike ride to sample to water from some very famous, historic wells.

by A Matsumoto Resident (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/6 20:53
Thanks a lot, particularly to Onsen Zuki for the local web forum reference, and to A Matsumoto Resident for answering the main part of my question (what might the roads be like in early-to-mid April if, for instance, I was thinking of going to Shirahone Onsen?).

What I'm taking from A Matsumoto Resident's post is that the road to Shirahone, or to Bessho, might be a bit challenging - but there probably will be public transport running and that might be a more relaxing option.

As for things to do in Matsumoto...it would be our first time there but my plan would be to spend two nights in the city (which would mean about 1.5 days as we'd arrive late afternoon), and two nights in two different onsen places within say 1.5 hrs' drive.

In the city, we'd visit the ukiyo-e museum, the castle, the city museum (or whatever it's called, the one which is supposed to have some Yayoi Kusama artworks) and have a general wander around. We'll have just spent about a week and a half around the Kii Peninsula, so it will be nice to hang out in a city. I think that those things would fill 1.5 days nicely. We'd also look to visit the wasabi farm on one of the days when we stay at an onsen place. I'd have liked to visit Utsukushigahara open air sculpture museum, but it's not open until the end of April.

I've got the Nagano hotspring book, and was hoping to use that for some ideas...but my main worry was that the places which are up in the mountains might not be accessible (or that the roads to get up there might be a bit too snowy and icy to be enjoyable)
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/6 21:45
Dont worry too much about driving in April there, for example while the last part of the road to Shirahone onsen is quite small and narrow, the road, which is also the main connection between matsumoto and takayama is always very well maintained and snow-clean (even if it goes through the mountains, it is a "big" road, sometimes even like a highway). also note people go to ski there (especially in Mt. Norikura Snow Resort and Shin-Hotaka Onsen area), so roads are almost always in best shape.

the road to bessho is not very high in the mountains, (but is its very small and winded, but almost no traffic) so it should be ok aswell. you can try spontaneous depending on the weather.

anyhow: enjoy matsumoto area (of all my trips through japan, it is always one place which has a special place in my heart). and i cant agree with "A Matsumoto Resident" and "girlwithpearl" more: it is just a wonderful city for simply walking around aimlessly. it is cozy, friendly and highly artistic, even apart from the castle (which is in my consideration the best of all japan).

i am already curious on your opinion, since i saw from your other posts in other forums, that we share about the same taste :-)
by Glimpigumpi rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/7 02:13
Thanks, Glimpigumpi. That's helpful advice re. the road conditions.

Driving on a nice clean mountain road, with the chance (?likelihood?) of seeing snow on the distant mountain tops would be excellent. Driving on an icy mountain road....hands gripping the wheel....eyes glued on the next turn...wouldn't be my idea of holiday fun at all ;0)

If the rest of the family can take the thought of needing to pack an extra jumper and some thermals then I reckon we'll give it a go.
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/7 18:37
[Just in case anyone else uses this thread for research] the Matsumoto Welcomes You website mentioned above is a pretty good resource (thanks again to Onsen Zuki).

It's told me about a miso producer and a couple of sake breweries that are in/near Matsumoto city and which do tours for visitors. Just the sort of thing we're looking for!!! The miso place apparently does miso ice cream....just the sort of thing our 8 yr old will love.

On this trip we're hoping to try soy sauce flavour ice cream in Yuasa (near Wakayama), and wasabi ice cream at the wasabi farm near Matsumoto, so if we go to the miso place we can make it a trio of unusual flavours. It's a shame that I don't really like ice cream, but I think I'll manage to try it for research purposes....;0)
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/7 18:55
i know it will be hard to try this icecream, but those are the struggles someone has to bear with when travelling :-)
by Glimpigumpi rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/7 18:56
PS: there is also wasabi beer, so you maybe go for that instead
by Glimpigumpi rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/8 05:44
OMG, of course there is! Ifd seen it on the website and for some inexplicable reason had forgotten about it.
The wasabi farm is very much a thing Ifve chosen to do, and wefre pretty good about accommodating everyonefs right to choose and enjoy, so by rights that means that my fantastic wife will be volunteering to drive back and Ifll be able to have beer and ice cream!!
Oh Happy Day :0)
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/8 06:54
[Just in case anyone else uses this thread for research] the Matsumoto Welcomes You
website mentioned above is a pretty good resource (thanks again to Onsen Zuki).


I agree. Also, I think it touches on what Furansu Ryori was getting at above. The typical tourist blows into town for about two hours, snaps a photo or two of the castle, thinks that's it, and moves on to the next photo opportunity elsewhere.

Matsumoto and the surrounding areas have a rich offering of very interesting things to do, but it means taking the time to do a little research and look past the typical blog post and cliche itinerary.

I love the city and the surrounding towns and mountains, and the many special things the area has to offer. It's very different from what you'll experience elsewhere in Japan, and I hope you and your family have a great visit!
by LȐ (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/8 08:00
Thanks a lot.
I think we've got a good few things lined up.
All I need to do now is find a traditional (old building) ryokan in Asama with very good baths and food, and something similar in a place that's not too far away from the city (maybe 1.5 hours drive at most?), which has some good scenery but will be fairly accessible to drive to in the second week of April.
I'm doing plenty of looking, and am fairly confident that we'll find something, but would welcome any more advice that you good people might have.
Matsumoto here we come!!
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/8 10:30
The real nice, most traditional place I know of in Asama Onsen is called "Kiku no yu" (e̓). I've stayed there, but it was years ago and on my employer's tab, so I don't know the cost. I'm sure it was expensive, though. It's also probably not advertised in English, so you'll have to do a little searching.

There's a decent Japanese ryokan called "Sakamoto no yu" i{̓j. It's not real fancy but it's nice, and it's located right next to the nicest onsen, "Biwa no yu" ii̓j back in the NE corner of Asama Onsen.

In Asama Onsen there are some very nice Japanese hotel type places, too, such as "Koyanagi" ij.
by Ryokan Info (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/8 16:54
Thanks a lot! Ifll have a look for these places. Really appreciate your help.
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Weather around Matsumoto in early April 2018/2/8 18:29
(Continued)
For comparison: Two other Japanese-style hotels that are decent (and fancier than Sakamoto no yu), and that are just up the street from Kiku no yu in the center of Asama Onsen, are
1. Izumiso (a)
and
2. Tama no yu (ʂ̓).

A friend of mine stayed at Izumiso once and had a good experience. Tama no yu looks nice from the outside.
by Ryokan Info (guest) rate this post as useful

Page 1 of 2: Posts 1 - 20 of 25
 
1 2
next

reply to this thread