Tuesday, June 5th
We left Tokyo after a quick breakfast at the restaurant below our apartment, the Oriental-Recipe Cafe. We then went to the JR train station and ordered tickets to Matsumoto. We took a short train to Shinjuku then boarded another train headed to Matsumoto. While we were on the train, a worker came by to punch tickets. He looked at our tickets, and tried to tell us something but we could not translate it. He left and came back with and English translation book and told us that we needed both a seat ticket( which we had) and a fare ticket. So in Japan, you need two tickets for one trip! So we paid the difference and made a mental note to not make that mistake again.
When we reached Matsumoto, we went to our hotel, Hotel New Station. They held our bags while we went to see the castle.
Matsumoto castle was beautiful! It had outer walls, then a huge moat that surrounded and protected the castle. The fare was ¥600 each to get in, which is around $15. We began the tour of the castle, which started with taking our shoes off at the entrance to the castle. We then climbed the initial staircase, which was very steep. It was so steep, my knee was at the top of the next stair as we went up.
Matsumoto castle was built in the 1600’s. It is one of the oldest castles still standing in Japan. It was built with the intention to protect the residents against invaders with guns. As Chris and I were trying to figure our way through the castle, we came upon an English speaking tour. The guide was a very nice Japanese lady and the family consisted of a dad, mom, and daughter. We began taking to John, the dad, about the different examples of guns and we were invited to join up with the tour. As we talked with the family, we found that John was from New York and the wife, Yoko, was from Japan. They lived with their daughter, Catherine, in Hawaii. It was nice to make friends with other Americans on our tour of Japan.
After the tour, Chris and I walked around the busy parts of Matsumoto city. There were little shops and traditional style buildings mixed with modern buildings. We found a restaurant called Private Dining (at least we think that was the name). We put our shoes in lockers at the front of the shop then were led down a hall to a booth that was inset in the floor and had a sliding door. We had a call button for when we needed something and a TV with Japanese cable on it. We ate yakitori, takoyaki, gyoza, and a big omelette filled with rice and noodles. We also watched the Japanese news on the television and they had a special about eggs. The lady doing the special traveled to different places sound Japan to see how they prepared eggs in different locations. She was always way to excited when they showed her their eggs…