Day 7 (21st Dec) would see us rise to an overcast sky in Nozawa Onsen to which we didn’t mind as we were to head off this day to Matsumoto, our overnight stop on our way to Kyoto.
Nozawa Onsen had put on a perfect 3 days of skiing for us with weather and snow and we could not thank the mountain enough. Our hosts at Villa Nozawa were great and special thanks to Gabriel – one of the owners of the Villa who took great care of us.
The drive to Matsumoto was only going to be a few hours so we took a detour to Jigokudani go an see the Snow Monkeys at Jigokudani Monkey Park. These guys are very cute and the park allows you to get right amongst them.
Ohhhh….that feels good…
Old man wrinkles…
Be warned that in winter it is a 1.6km (half hour walk) to get from the car park to the park itself – in summer I think you can drive right up to the park itself. We were OK as we were dressed for the below zero temperatures and the walk with our hiking boots. However, on our way out, we passed one Japanese Girl in only stockings, a mini skirt and high heel boots. She was only 1/4 of the way in and already you could see her boyfriend was loosing his patience – she must have given up as we saw her not less than half an our later when we were shopping.
We arrive at Matsumoto around 4pm and checked into the Hotel Harmonie Bien. A very nice and well located hotel and great value if you prefer hotels over a Ryokan. However my recommendation for Matsumoto would be a Ryokan to keep in the spirit of this traditional city.
Arriving early gave me a chance to have a good walk around in what was a very beautiful city. Kerrie chose Matsumoto as it has one of the best preserved Japanese Castles (tomorrow’s blog) and walking around you could see it is a major Japanese tourist attraction as a traditional city. Being winter a lot of things were closed and all I could imagine is that it would be a very beautiful place in spring and summer and well worth a re-visit.
The water in Matsumoto is particularly fresh and all through the town are little public drinking stations. These are done up as different water fountains with pots on long handles for you to pick up and take a drink.