Visit Azumino: The Best Things To Do Just Outside of Matsumoto City

Posted on 2024.02.26 in Activities and Spots

Located thirty minutes to the north of Matsumoto City, Azumino is a lovely rural enclave defined by the surrounding mountains and blessed with abundant snowmelt water, with an inland climate ideal for growing fruit, rice and wasabi. The people who live here have been regarded their mountains as sacred, the domain of gods, for centuries.

Azumino: A getaway in the heart of the Japanese Alps


The Northern Japanese Alps & Kamikochi

Commonly referred to as the “Northern Alps”, Japan’s highest mountain range acquired this name during the Meiji Period, when a British explorer compared the mountains to the European Alps. Kamikochi and the famous triple-peaked Okuhokakadake sit at the approximate midpoint of the range.

Kamikochi National Park: A National Cultural Assets

Easy hiking trails run the length of the alpine valley and lead to more advanced mountaineering trails in the mountains. It is one of the most popular and easily accessible destinations in the Northern Alps, featuring trails to suited all levels with striking mountain scenery throughout the valley.


Ancient Rituals at Hotaka Shrine

Located in Azumino, Hotaka Shrine has stood for at least one thousand years. Despite its age, the shrine is faithful to a design dating back to the 15th century with a similar shrine located in Kamikochi, where important ceremonies take place each year.

Hotaka Shrine: A Kamikochi Connection

There are also shrines called "Okusha" in Kamikochi and "Minemiya" on the summit of Okuhodakadake. The name Hotaka is said to derive from the name of an old Japanese god, Hodakami-no-Mikoto. In addition, it is said that during the Edo period, it received generous protection from the lord of Matsumoto Castle.


Pristine Water & Japan’s Best Wasabi

The abundant and clean snowmelt water of the Northern Alps maintains a constant temperature throughout the year, making it suitable for wasabi cultivation. Azumino is home to the largest wasabi farm in Japan.

Daio Wasabi Farm: The Largest Wasabi Farm in Japan

Wasabi is an indispensable part of Japanese gastronomy and known throughout the world. Production of wasabi cannot keep up with demand therefore most of what is sold around the world is in fact not real – it is in truth green-dyed horseradish – offering visitors to Daio Wasabi Farm the opportunity to sample and purchase real wasabi of the highest quality.


The Rich Food Culture of Azumino

Thanks to the natural barrier of the Northern Alps, Azumino is protected from winds coming off the Sea of Japan. Consequently, Azumino has little precipitation and is well-suited to cultivation of fruit, especially apples.

In recent years, grape production has also increased. Shinshu Wine is made from grapes grown in this region and becoming highly regarded throughout Japan. The snowmelt water also now feeds farms of Shinshu Salmon while fermented food, drink and condiments including miso, sake and soy sauce are all part of the rich culinary heritage of Azumino.

Shinshu Salmon: A fish distinct to Nagano Prefecture


Enjoy A Guided Experience in Azumino

Easily accessible from Matsumoto, we encourage you to visit Azumino while here! Matsumoto Experience offers guided tours including visits to Daio Wasabi Farm:

Handmade Soba Making & Fresh Wasabi Lunch

Wasabi Farm Discovery - Walking Tour

You can also request a walking tour of Azumino city by contacting us!