Visit the Nakamachi in downtown Matsumoto on September 6 or 23 for a fun Japanese culture experience for the whole family! This event features several hands-on Japanese arts and crafts activities such as Japanese calligraphy, traditional tea ceremony, and origami; as well as other interactive activities like sake tasting, kimono rental, and rickshaw rides. Most activities are free and you will receive a free souvenir for participating. As a bonus, several of the shops around Nakamachi will also be offering different cultural activities or games. See below for an overview of the event program and where you can get the official details, event flyer, or see the event on Facebook!
Place: Kurassic-kan in Nakamachi, Matsumoto
Date & Time: Sep. 6 and Sep. 23, 10 am – 4 pm (times for activities at the shops differ. Check the event flyer or webpage)
Event webpage: http://nakamachi-street.com/en/experiencedays/
Event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1607791399271217/
* Local high school students, local guides, and volunteers will also be present to help with translation and interpretation.
Get the official PDF flyer here which includes a map and all activity details:
Click to download the full event flyer (PDF)
List of main activities at the Kurassic-kan:
- Origami folding
- Japanese calligraphy
- Japanese Tea Ceremony (traditional way of making matcha green tea)
- Japanese folding fan decorating
- Play with old-fashioned and traditional Japanese toys
- Sake tasting with Nakamachi’s original-brand sake
- Kimono (yukata) and ninja costume rental (paid activity)
- Rickshaw rides around Nakamachi (paid activity, discount with kimono rental)
- Ninja blowgun activity (paid activity, free with ninja costume rental)
List of shops offering activities around Nakamachi:
- Geiyukan: Try plaing the shamisen, a traditional Japanese music instrument.
- Kuriya: Make fresh wasabi from real wasabi root.
- Senri: Japanese wine, sake, amazake, and juice tasting
- Yamahei: Introduction of some Japanese local foods
- Yaguchi: Try wearing geta, a traditional form of Japanese footwear.
- Ihara: Chopsticks and beans game
- Itoya: Play the konpira fune-fune game, a traditional game played at geisha banquets, and other activities.
- Okinado Kura Branch: Try playing the Japanese taiko drum. Also, exhibit of traditional tools used for making Japanese confections/sweets
- Temariya: Free Japanese tea
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Take a model 2-day trip around Nagano City and enjoy another side of Japan!
National Treasure Zenkoji
The main hall of Zenkoji Temple
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From Nagano City to Karuizawa, the resort town on the eastern edge of the prefecture, it is a blazingly fast 30 minutes by Shinkansen bullet train.
Red carpet treatment to board Rokumon at Karuizawa Station
Or, as a luxurious alternative, you could take Shinano Railway’s special Rokumon train and enjoy a leisurely 2 hour 20 minute ride through Nagano’s scenic countryside.
For those that care to indulge, you can partake in a gourmet meal along the way: French featuring cheese from Tomi City’s esteemed Atelier de Fromage, on the run from Karuizawa to Nagano, or kaiseki-style Japanese from Obuse’s famous restaurant Suzuhana on the return.
I had the opportunity to ride from Karuizawa to Nagano. The warm wood interior furnishings of the train and the friendly smiles of the attendants combined with the carefully prepared dishes featuring an abundance of local ingredients would have made the trip a perfect 10 for me.
However, what made riding Rokumon extra special was the enthusiastic hospitality we received along the way, from local preschoolers to the Station Master at Ueda.
Rokumon — the perfect unhurried way to enjoy Nagano’s countryside.