Friday, May 18, 2012

Matsumoto, Nagano

Only two more nights left on the trip.  We started making our way north from Mt. Fuji to a city in Nagano called Matsumoto.  We were going to see an original Japanese castle.   (The same one Karl went to see last summer.)

After a few hours on the train, we arrived.  For our one night stay in Matsumoto, we stayed at a ryokan.  This one was a completely different style from our ryokan in Kyoto, but also nice.  The people who run the ryokan speaks English extremely well and even shuttled us to and from the train station for free.  So kind of them!

After getting settled in and having some tea, the ryokan owners gave us some special English maps that their daughter had made.  They showed exactly where the castle was and had great descriptions of places to shop and eat.  This map came in very handy that afternoon. 

After seeing the castle (unfortunately there were no English guides and not many signs were in English…can’t win them all!) we wandered around and did a little shopping.  

We still had a few hours left of the day and weren’t quite sure what to do. 

Then we got an idea: using the little map,  we plotted out a course of international cuisine restaurant/bar hopping.  It was perfect!  Everything was in walking distance of each other and we would be able to try lots of different foods. 

Stop number 1: Spain

We had some delicious appetizers and some beer.  It was excellent.

Stop number 2: China

Jasmine tea, dumplings, and egg rolls.  Delicious.

Stop number 3: Italy

We were ready to have actual dinner at this point.  We ordered a beautiful salad, pizza, pasta, wine, and chocolate cake to finish.  Fabulous.

We made it back to the ryokan in time to relax in the little onsen (natural hot spring) before it closed.  A great way to wrap up any evening!

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