Japan in a Van: Matsumoto

Day 5

Today we headed for Matsumoto Castle, touted as one of Japan’s national treasures. Entry fees for attractions in Japan are much cheaper than in Thailand and there is no dual pricing which is a refreshing trait of a first-world country. It cost us 700 yen, or around 175 baht each to get in.  

The castle was impressive, but so were the crowds. Nearly everything you do in Japan involves a queue and they’re very good at organizing them. 

We wanted to leave the van in the castle car park and walk into town to a restaurant that had great reviews online. When we finally found it we were met with another queue so the reviews at least were accurate. I’m not one to queue for food when there are hundreds of eateries around so we headed for Matsumoto’s quirky tourist street to grab some Udon noddle curry. 

Very little is displayed in English so we had to use the Google Translate app and camera on the signs to figure out what we were eating. 

It was time to get back on the road and check out the next road station where we would be staying after a planned trip back into the Alps the next day. For this evening, we drove up to Ogisawa, the starting point for the ‘Alpine Route’ trip. 

At 1,500 meters elevation, the deserted car park was cold, to say the least. Temperatures dropped to zero that night so several layers were needed for sleeping. We decided to stay here so there would be no traveling the next morning, one of the advantages of having a campervan. 

Next: Alpine Route
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