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Matsumoto Mid-April Trip 2023/1/23 15:52
Hi, we're planning to stay in Matsumoto from Apr 14 to 17. I'm thinking of this itinerary:

Apr 14: Arrive in Matsumoto at night
Apr 15: Senjojiki Cirque
Apr 16: Sakura hunting at Matsumoto Castle, Garyu Koen
Apr 17: Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route via Ogizawa - Murodo roundtrip

For Apr 15, will the Senjojiki Cirque take a whole day? Or can we explore other areas on our way back to Matsumoto, like Lake Suwa or any attractions near the Komagane station?

For Apr 16, besides Matsumoto Castle and Garyu Koen, are there any other place we squeeze into that day (Ueda Castle, Karuizawa)?

Lastly for the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, how's the crowd during the opening week? I want to move it to Apr 16, but it's a Sunday and I'm thinking it might get too crowded.
by JB (guest)  

Re: Matsumoto Mid-April Trip 2023/1/23 17:53
I went to Senjojiki Cirque in the summer.
In the summer, lines form for buses and ropeways, but it's still winter in April, so I don't think it will be too crowded.
Take the bus from Komagane for about 40 minutes, then take the ropeway for about 8 minutes.
According to the route search on Google map, it takes about 2 hours to 2.5 hours one way from Matsumoto to Komagane by train.
In the summer, it took about an hour to walk the hiking route and about 15 minutes to rest at the hotel cafe.
The hiking route is probably not walkable, so your stay may be shorter.
The ski resort opens in mid-April, so it will take longer if you want to ski.
Lifts are not available, so you'll have to walk yourself up to the slide.
By the way, since it was over 2600m, I had mild symptoms of altitude sickness.
If you are not accustomed to high places, it may be better to research measures against altitude sickness in advance.
It's not as high as Mt. Fuji, so I didn't have any symptoms up there.
If you go down the mountain on the ropeway, the symptoms will subside.
On April 15th, it may be difficult to see by Lake Suwa.
Komagane is famous for sauce katsudon, so please try it if you are interested.
Things to do in Komagane
by haro1210 rate this post as useful

Re: Matsumoto Mid-April Trip 2023/1/23 18:11
Apr 16: Sakura hunting at Matsumoto Castle, Garyu Koen
You can go, but it's a long way off.
Garyu Koen is located in Suzaka after changing trains from Nagano.
These two places are also two or two and a half hours apart.
I haven't been there, but Nagano is famous for its cherry blossoms at Takato Castle Ruins Park, so I thought it might be a good idea to stay in Ina on Apr 15, see the cherry blossoms at Takato Castle Ruins Park, and then return to Matsumoto to see the cherry blossoms at Matsumoto Castle. think.
It seems that the Takato Castle Ruins Park will be lit up.
Last year's event content
There will be a 2023 version when the time comes.
Inn of Ina
Alternatively, if you're on a day trip, it might be a good idea to stop by on your way back from Senjojiki Cirque.
by haro1210 rate this post as useful

Re: Matsumoto Mid-April Trip 2023/1/23 20:10
I was at Senjojiki Cirque the last week of May a few years ago, and there was still too much snow to walk the trail there, so I rather doubt that it would be clear in mid-April. The bus trip from Komagane to the cable station was pretty, and I enjoyed the cable ride up the mountain to the cirque area, but was a little disappointed that I could not walk the trail. I did see some people snowboarding, but it was a local organized competition over a short course. The skiing conditions at the time were gless than idealh but would likely be fine in April as long as you donft mind walking up the hill.

As for getting there from Matsumoto, it will be an experience if you go by trainc Along with some nice scenery you will see a large number of remote, local Japanese train stations. I do see a quicker routing (1 hour, 39 minutes) from Matsumoto, but it involves a 3-minute layover at an intermediate station. (I wouldnft take my chances with that. But the times might be different in April.) However, you might be able to get there faster by direct bus. When I went, I went from Nagano and opted to take a bus to Komagane because the train trip just had too many stops. I like to ride trains in Japan, but would never do this from Matsumoto myself as a round-trip day trip. But as long as you have figured out the transit (you might have found a reasonable bus already), itfs doable, I guess. As for doing anything else that day, youfd have to time things extremely carefully because it will get dark before you know it. Even after you get to Komagane, you still have a long-ish bus ride to the cable station, and then you need to add the cable ride, a little time to enjoy the scenery at the top, and the return trip to catch your train (or bus back).

When I went to Senjojiki, I spent the night in Komagane at a delightful ryokan and then continued on to Iida and spent the night at a wonderful local hotel after enjoying the scenery at the Tenryukyo Gorge, and then I proceeded to Nagoya. It was a fantastic 3-day outing, and I would love to go back to Komagane at some point (in summer when I could walk the trail at Senjojiki, even if there are a lot of people there). I would probably do it as a multiple-day round trip from Nagoya, though. The limited express train to and from Iida is a nice ride.

I donft want to discourage you, but in April as a day trip from Matsumoto I wouldnft do it myself. If you have done your research and know what you are getting into, then go for it I guess... I expect it will be an out-of-the-ordinary and memorable day for you. Many people say they want to experience gthe real Japan,h and I think this would be a good-sized slice.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Matsumoto Mid-April Trip 2023/1/23 20:19
I donft know anything about the alpine route, but as an alternative to Senjojiki you might want to look at Nagano and some of the things you can do there. Admittedly, there isnft a whole lot, but the monkey park would be a lot more doable as a day trip from Matsumoto than the Senjojiki Cirque. My favorite place near Nagano is Togakushi, but I donft know what itfs like in April. The trail to the main shrine might be too snowy to walk in mid-winter, but probably fine in mid-April. Itfs a really lovely placec For that youfre only talking about a one-hour train ride and less than an hour bus ride. The monkey park would take a bit longer but much less time than Komagane.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Matsumoto Mid-April Trip 2023/1/24 11:51
Thanks guys.

Our main target for that leg of our trip is actually the Snow Corridor, with cherry blossoms secondary. We're planning to have a 7-day JR pass so we'd like to use the trains as much as possible.

Based on your inputs, I'm now thinking of replacing the Senjojiki Cirque and visit it in another season. Will look at both Takato Castle and Togakushi. Thanks again!
by JB (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Matsumoto Mid-April Trip 2023/1/24 20:39
When you are looking into Togakushi, be sure to find out if it will be fully open on the day you want to go. The hmainh or outer shrine area (okusha), where the spectacular cedar corridor is, officially closes during gwinter,h but I could not readily find any specifics as to when they re-open except gmid-April.h (I have only been in early summer myself.) My guess is that unless it has been a very snowy winter and cold spring, the trails will all be walkable on April 14, and if so, the bus will probably stop at the Okusha bus stop. During ski season, it bypasses that bus stop and goes to the ski resort instead. But Togakushi is at a much lower elevation than Senjojiki. (Note that you can get off the bus and onto the network of trails at various places, so in reality the area itself is never really gclosed,h but the Okusha bus stop is a very useful one.) Anyway, if you want to go there and canft find specific information about conditions, maybe you could ask the Nagano Tourist Information Center. They have an inquiry form on their web site.

By the way, if you are put off by the overtly religious aspects of the shrine (which you will encounter if you are researching the place; many of the photos and text descriptions center around the structures, artifacts, and history), donft let that bother you. If you want, you can essentially ignore the religious stuff and just see the entire area as a spectacular place to hike in nature. The trails are absolutely wonderfulc. You do need to bear in mind that the grounds and structures are considered very sacred, of course, so disprespectful or obnoxious behaviors are particularly inappropriate there. (In other words, behavior that would be viewed as merely disgusting in some places in Japan would be viewed as unbelievably disgusting here, is all.) But this is really nothing to worry about.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

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