This is an article about a trip to Matsumoto in Nagano prefecture. I went to a local craft fair, saw the wasabi field and shrine, ate good Nagano food...so many things to cover.

I went to a craft fair in Matsumoto, Nagano! Enjoyed edible wild plants as well!

I came to a craft fair in Matsumoto, Nagano!

Joined the Matsumoto Craft Fair!

A craft fair is like a free market that sells handmade goods.

Artists that make pottery, glass, woodwork, metal, textiles, etc. gather from all over Japan, setting up over 300 booths.

The fair takes place at the Agata no Mori Park in Matsumoto every year in May, during the last week of the month.

They say it’s their 29th year this year.

I came to know this fair last year, and it has already been a year from that moment. I was eager to join.

It was very sunny out, so I was almost worn out by the heat and the sunburn.

There were so many people, as they said. They supposedly have 70,000 participants.

But it wasn’t that stressful because the park iis huge and full of green.

I drank juice and cooled off in the shades, away from the crowd.

Look at this grass, so straight, sharp and green...I couldn’t help but take a photo.

How to get to Matsumoto Craft Fair

I went by car! I left Tokyo in the morning, drove the Chuo Highway, and after about two and a half hours, I was in Matsumoto. I had reserved a hotel room very close to Agata no Mori Park, so I parked the car at the hotel.

There are no parking lots around the park, so you should check where you can park your car beforehand.

If you do not have a car, take the JR Chuo Line and get on the Azusa train from Tokyo to Matsumoto station.

After you get to Matsumoto station, take either the “Town Sneaker Higashi Course” / “Kita-shinai Sen Higashi Mawari” / “Yokota Shindai Junkansen” bus and get off at “Shuho Gakko Mae”.

It’s about a ten-minute busride.

My purchases at Matsumoto Craft Fair!

I bought plates for curry and yakitori.

These are for my family back home.

Warabi and Kogomi are a kind of “sansai”. Sansais are edible wild plants that grow in the mountains, and are eaten often in places like Nagano that has a lot of these mountains.

It has a little bit of bitterness, and goes well with sake. It’s also good for your health.

Lunch at a famous soba restaurant, “Motoki”

A late lunch. This is my third time at “Motoki”!

Nagano is the most famous place for soba in Japan, and the soba at “Motoki” is probably one of the most delicious places to eat.

I’ve been to Matsumoto 4 or 5 times in my life, but this is my first time to ever stay overnight!

So excited!

After a good meal, I came to Hotaka Shrine.
The air is so fresh everywhere in Nagano. Take a deep breath…

Cuckoos were singing.

Exploring Azumino in the afternoon

In the afternoon, I drove to Azumino, a little away from Matsumoto. Fun to drive.

The rice planting has been done, and the warm breeze felt good. What a nice weather it is.

I stopped by at Daio Wasabi Farm.

You can see the wasabi field and how they make pickled wasabi. They only grow with clean water, and you can also drink one of the 100 famed mineral waters that they grow wasabi with. The yellor iris was beautiful.

There was thunder and a little drizzle in the evening. Look at this heavenly light!

Nagano specialties, Basashi and Sansai for dinner!

The basashi arrived in front of me as if that heavenly sunrays wafted them to me.

It might be rare in other countries, but we eat raw horse meat.
Nagano is especially famous for this.

Next, sansai (Japanese edible wild plants).

Japanese butterbur, kogomi (ostrich fern), udo, taranome, koshiabura. (They are all types of sansai.)

Kogomi dressed with peanuts.

Boiled greens!

I was able to enjoy sansai and drink beer, and went back to my hotel with a full stomach.

Along with the craft fair, I enjoyed the nature and speacialties in Nagano fully on this trip.

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