During the Edo period (1603-1867) in Japan, Nakamachi Street was located in the center part of the castle town of Matsumoto City thus denoting its name: “Naka” – meaning in or center, and “machi” – meaning town. It was located on the old Zenkoji Kaido, a route connecting Zenkoji Temple to Nagoya and Kyoto and prospered as the main business district where wholesale dealers sold their goods (mainly sake brewers and kimono merchants). Many of the historical buildings found in Nakamachi used to function as storehouses. These buildings are called kura or dozo and some are more than a 100 years old. (See the section on “Kura” for more details).
Presently, Nakamachi has a variety of shops including folk art shops, craft shops and restaurants, and cafes, as well as the Kurassic-kan, which was once a sake brewery building, and the Scale Museum which is housed in a former scale shop. Many of the restaurants allow you to try more local fare.
While you will find that many shops are open into the early evening, please note that a number of shops are closed on Wednesdays. The street runs parallel to Nawate Street, which has the large frog statue at the entrance.
- Hours: 10:00 – 17:00
- Winter Hours: Nov. to Mar. 10:30 – 16:00
The Matsumoto Scale Museum
- Hours: 9:30 – 17:00
- Closed on Mondays and Dec. 29 – 31
- Admission: ¥200 (free for elementary and junior high students)
This small, homely shrine is tucked away on a narrow side street toward the eastern end of Nakamachi. When a big fire broke out in and around Nakamachi, this shrine was believed to have stopped the flames from going beyond it, thus the shrine is considered to house the guardian deity of Nakamachi.
Located across the river from Nakamachi, Nawate Street is a car-free zone lined with small eateries and quirky shops where you can buy trinkets and Japanese-style snacks. The street retains its Edo-style atmosphere and is popular with tourists. You will also find Yohashira Shrine along this street. While many of these shops are also closed on Wednesdays, the atmosphere of the old buildings and shrine makes it worth walking down.
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Being founded in 1889, this hospital has a 120 year history of serving the local community. Their new building was built in 2009.
Enjoy local dishes made with fresh, seasonal vegetables and a great selection of sake.
Closed: Open Sun & holidays from 13:30. For other days, RSVP 5 days ahead.
Relax while sipping tea and listening to nostalgic Japanese songs and live shamisen performances in this quiet gallery. You can also try playing the shamisen yourself! Geiyukan is listed in the Michelin Guide.
Closed: Open weekends & nat. holidays
Enjoy freshly prepared mitarashi dango (skewered rice cake balls glazed with sweet soy sauce) and goheimochi (grilled rice cakes on a skewer). This shop also sells bedding.
This shop exhibits and sells original furniture made by the owner, and woodwork and ceramics from local artists.
Closed: Mon (open if a national holiday, and closed on the following day)
You will find a hairdresser on the 1st floor (booking required) and a café on the 2nd floor where you can enjoy popular items such as the sandwiches (from ¥620) and homemade cakes (from ¥400). The entrance is shared.
Closed: Wed, 2nd Thu & 3rd Sun of the month
Handbags and comfortable, Italian- and French-made shoes for men, women, and babies. A selection of Japanese-made shoes and socks, which make great souvenirs, is also available! Also offers shoe repair service.
Closed: Wed & Sun
Enjoy dining while listening to live piano music at this adult-oriented dinner bar, which makes a great hide-away where you can relax with the music at the end of the day.
Closed: Open daily
Awesome hamburgers that will leave even Americans blown away! Make sure you try the terrific pancakes or you’ll regret it. HuLa-La is the first restaurant in Matsumoto specializing in Hawaiian food.
A unique sewing machine shop with clothes made from vintage fabrics such as cotton, hemp, and oshima tsumugi (a famous silk fabric).
Free Rental Cycle
Free bicycle rental is available at Sui Sui Town in the Nakamachi “Kuranoaru” Parking Lot near Kurassic-kan (see the location on the map). Rental hours from 9:00 to 17:00.
Events & Festivals
Ameichi (Candy Festival): Nakamachi's portable shrines go around the streets of Matsumoto. Held on a weekend in early or mid-Jan.
Tenjin Festival: Fukashi Shrine's lively annual festival where traditional wooden floats, including those from Nakamachi, parade through the streets. July 24th and 25th.
Matsumoto Bon Bon: Tens of thousands of people dance on the streets of Matsumoto. The first Sat. of Aug.
Shimin (Citizens’) Festival: A colorful festival with a samurai procession, vehicle free streets, and plenty of street stalls. Nov 3rd.
Farmers from around Matsumoto bring seasonal vegetables, flowers, fruit and fruit juice, edible wild plants, and mushrooms to this morning market. It is very popular as the produce is both fresh and inexpensive and the farmers give the market-goers tips on cooking and pickling.
In 1888, most of Nakamachi burnt down in a big fire. In response, many fire-resistant kura buildings were built to protect the town from fire, which employed a traditional fireproofing method that involved creating very thick walls, anywhere from 20 to 30 centimeters. The walls were treated with a number of layers of mud on the inside, but beautifully designed with a white, mortar grid pattern on black tiles known as namako kabe. While most buildings were used as storehouses, some were occasionally used for residences as well. Even today, many such buildings remain around the Nakamachi area.
Matsumoto has an abundant supply of natural ground water and several old wells can still be found in the city. There are a few wells in Nakamachi and the surrounding neighborhoods including the hand-pump well at Kurassic-kan. The water is safe for drinking. You can check the locations on the guide map, available to download below!
A traditional, Japanese-style bar that serves a variety of food.
This is a small side dish served to all customers at izakaya-style pubs/bars before ordered items are served. It is most often charged for and is a common Japanese practice that functions as a kind of cover charge. It can create trouble for foreigners who don't understand why they have been charged for what they haven't specifically ordered. However, do note, although they may not appeal to everyone’s tastes, even if declined, the charge will still be required as a part of Japanese pub culture.
Buckwheat noodles, famous in Nagano. They can be served as hot noodles, with trimmings such as tempura or edible wild plants, or served chilled on a basket as “Zaru Soba.”
Literally translating to "bandit chicken," sanzokuyaki is a local dish with marinated, chunky, deep-fried chicken.