Mat­sumoto Cas­tle, Mat­sumoto

One of only four cas­tles recog­nised as a Na­tional Trea­sure, Mat­sumoto Cas­tle stands among the old­est and most fa­mous in the coun­try, with more than 400 years of his­tory. With its unique white and black ex­te­ri­ors, it is

(烏城). also fondly known as the ‘Crow Cas­tle’ The most strik­ingly el­e­gant cas­tle I ever seen.

Zenkoji Tem­ple, Nagano

Dat­ing back to the sev­enth cen­tury with over 1,400 years of his­tory, Zenkoiji Tem­ple is one of the great Bud­dhist tem­ples in Ja­pan. Also des­ig­nated a Na­tional Trea­sure, it is one of the most vis­ited tem­ples and truly earned the say­ing that “one must visit Zenkoji, once in a life­time.”

Daio Wasabi, Azu­mino

Daio Wasabi Farm is the largest wasabi (horse­rad­ish) farm in Ja­pan and was es­tab­lished in 1915. Sit­u­ated in Azu­mino, the spring wa­ter from the North­ern Alps and cool sunny cli­mate pro­vide per­fect con­di­tions for high-qual­ity wasabi cul­ti­va­tion. Stand­ing on the pretty wooden bridge across the stream, one can see end­less rows of planted wasabi as far as the eye can see.

Shi­raito Falls, Karuizawa

The Shi­raito Falls is lo­cated up north in the moun­tains of scenic Karuizawa, a pop­u­lar moun­tain re­sort in Nagano. Mea­sur­ing 3m-tall tall across an arch that’s 70m wide, the water­fall of­fers an en­thralling sight with its cas­cad­ing streams of wa­ter (aptly named Shi­raito, mean­ing ‘white threads’ in Ja­panese) against lush fo­liage.

Ishii Miso, Mat­sumoto

Founded in 1868, Ishii Miso is a renowned pro­ducer of kome (rice-malt) miso made with tra­di­tional meth­ods. It is fa­mous for the use of cedar wooden bar­rels for fer­men­ta­tion and nat­u­ral three-year age­ing process for its miso. If you are lucky, you might meet the af­fa­ble Mr Ko­suke Ishii, the sixth-gen­er­a­tion owner who will gladly pro­vide a pre­sen­ta­tion and a brief tour of the brew­ery.

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