Day 8

We got up early to head over to Kamikochi bus station and hop on the bus back to town, along with some chocolate mochi that I then left on the bus.  Even though it was about a 70 minute drive back to Shinshimashima, the bus arrived on time at the station to the minute.  The more this happens, the more disillusioned I get with trains at home.

We hopped on a local train to Matsumoto and then walked through town to the Buena Vista Hotel to drop our luggage, and it did have some pretty good views!

After 4 days of staying in ryokans we wanted a change, so we went to a Hawaiian burger joint by the river called Hula-la and had some outstanding food.  Even the fries were some of the best I’ve eaten.  We ordered a couple of cokes and ended up with bizarre white drinks that were easily tasty enough to make us forget to mention the mix up.

We walked further north until we came across the castle.  Matsumoto is famed for its castle, the largest of its kind in Japan.  To tour the castle we had to take our shoes off and carry them with us in a little bag.  There were 6 storeys  to explore and the steps were absolutely gigantic.  They were so steep to the top couple of floors that it was a little bit challenging with a bag, shoes and camera dangling about.  From the top of the castle we had commanding views in all directions and the whole place was in excellent condition.  By the end of the walk round my feet were done with steps  and we headed out to explore the rest of the town and see an array of shrines and wells.

We picked up some ice creams at the corner shop by the hotel and crashed for a little while before heading out to a very small, traditional Japanese restaurant for chicken katsu curry.  It was very tasty but it also helped me realise that the ones I can get back in the UK are very similar!

We strolled a little more around town to walk off a bit of the food before calling it a night.  Originally the purpose of the day in Matsumoto was mainly to provide a break in the ryokan food (in case I wasn’t enjoying it) and to allow us a bit of a break whilst seeing the castle.  In truth, we had some fantastic food and saw a lot more than just the castle.  It was well worth being an overnight stay.