For castle enthusiasts, Matsumoto is a must see. Lying two and a half hours’ train ride north of Tokyo up in the Japan Alps, imposing Black Crow Castle is one of the few in Japan that hasn’t been reconstructed, and the only one where you can tread the original wooden boards of the interior. It is also a key spot for late cherry blossom viewing and the town has one of Japan’s most extensive collections of traditional ukiyo-e art. From here, the mountain roads on to Takayama or up to Kamikochi lake plateau are some of Japan’s most scenic, especially in the red and gold autumn leaf season.
Features in the following itineraries
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.Bill Bryson