Japan: Road Trip & Matsumoto Castle

We debated for a while as to whether we should go to Kyoto and Hiroshima on Ezra’s time off or do Fuji and the countryside closer to the Western coast of Japan. Eventually we decided that we would be more sad to miss Fuji and the countryside than Kyoto and Hiroshima, so we chose that. Then as I was doing research we found that one of Japan’s best castles, Matsumoto castle, would be on our way across Japan, so we stopped for a bit there before heading into the mountains nearby for the night.
If you want to look for castles close to where you are already going in Japan, this is super helpful!


This trip was the most driving we’ve done with S since she started walking, so I was nervous about that. We weren’t on a really tight schedule, so that helped me relax about it a bit, and she did pretty well, sleeping a fair bit and also sitting peacefully or playing with toys. But she was always thrilled to get out of the car and her favorite thing to do once out was play with rocks.
We were also relieved to find that driving long distances in Japan is really not bad. Tolls can be pretty expensive, but the further away from the cities you get the fewer there are. The toll roads are so much easier to drive on than narrower streets shared with pedestrians and bicyclists, and there are frequent rest stops that are much cleaner and nicer than American ones.


We checked TripAdvisor for nearby restaurants and had some yummy soba and tempura as a result!


S loves the traditional low tables, and we loved the heating table! I found this place on Air BnB and it’s probably our favorite place we’ve stayed in Japan, especially for the price.

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