Matsumoto: A Stroll Around Town

When I traveled around in America, I usually drove. It's a product of the country's infrastructure; buses and trains just aren't as common as they are in Japan. So I spent a lot of time on highways getting from place to place. Even when driving on city streets, stopping to "smell the roses" and take a few pictures of buildings, nature, and streetscapes was quite difficult. 

Traveling around Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, I've never been behind the wheel of a car. And while trains, buses, and the occasional taxi can get me pretty close to my destination, I still have to walk a bit. Plus, I try to save money and time and get exercise by walking between destinations whenever possible. Thus, I come across more random sights, and I end up taking a bunch more pictures. More for me to share, I suppose!

Matsumoto was my first stop on an overnight trip that also included Nagano. Matsumoto was a better destination; it's a small town with a good bit of history.
 There is a tourist loop bus (Town Sneaker) that will get you around town, but central Matsumoto, including the castle, is about 15 minutes away on foot. I happened to choose a path that took me right by a nice temple.

 I don't know what the writing on the torii pillars says.
 The statues make me wonder if this is a shrine that worships pets.
 The shrine with the pets sits in a larger temple complex.
 Inside the shrine.
 From the castle I went to an old school that is now a museum, and then took a very long walk to an art museum. Along the way, I saw this old building, sign, and post box. I felt like I was walking down a 1960s-era street!
Those of you who live in the Los Angeles area - or anyone who's seen the Austin Powers movies - should know Big Boy. I have a few favorite restaurants in LA - Pink's Hot Dogs, Bob's Big Boy, and In 'N Out Burger. Though, once I moved back to SF I didn't need to get my In N Out fix in LA.

Matsumoto's tourist destinations are up next on my queue of posts to write, and for those with a day to spend in the area, it would be my first recommendation!

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