Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Must Go Shops and Restaurants in Nakamachi Street

Not too far from Matsumoto Castle, there is a street lined with traditional houses with a rather unique appearance. Nakamachi Shopping Street is the main street of the old Matsumoto. The houses on this street all look more or less like traditional warehouses. The reason? Fire hazard prevention.

In 1888, most of the houses on the street were destroyed by a great fire. Learning the lesson, the owners of the shops reconstructed their premises in the Dozō-zukuri-style (土蔵造り) to fire-proof the buildings.

Nowadays, the street is still one of the best places to shop for handicrafts and local specialties. Needless to say, you can also enjoy a delicious afternoon tea here in one of the cake or confectionery shops. And below is a list of shops that we found interesting.

Ⓒ 松本市

Nakamachi Kurassic-kan (中町・蔵シック館)

Located just in the middle of Nakamachi Street, there is a traditional building with a giant cedar ball hung above its entrance. It is the symbol of Nakamachi Street, Nakamachi Kurassic-kan.

Formerly the Tairei Sake Brewery (大禮酒造), the complex was renovated into an event space with a cafe attached.

When Tairei Sake Brewery was relocated, some building materials were dismantled and recycled at the new location. Thus, when you step into Nakamachi Kurassic-kan, you can see the atrium beam if you look up. This is one of the reasons that you might want to stop by the facility so you can examine the structure yourself!

On one side of the building, there is a corner demonstrating how the Dozō-zukuri-style wall is constructed, which is quite interesting.

Occasionally, events, markets, and exhibitions will be held in the main building. If you are lucky, you might run into one of the events. In the outdoor space, a farmers’ market is held from 3 pm to sunset every Wednesday from May to December.

Furthermore, in front of the facility, there is a hand pump that brings you soft and delicious underground water from 250 meters below.

If you would rather be served, head to the café in the storehouse for some coffee or tea brewed with the underground water. Spending some quiet time with the gorgeous garden view can be another way to enjoy your time at Nakamachi Street!

Nakamachi Kurassic-kan’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The café is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily.
    • The last order is taken 30 minutes before it closes for the day.
    • In winter, the opening hours are 10:30 am to 4 pm.
  • Nakamachi Kurassic-kan is closed from the 29th of December to the 3rd of January.
  • It is free to enter Nakaamchi Kurassic-kan.
  • From JR Matsumoto Station (松本駅), it is around a 10-minute walk.
  • If you are catching Town Sneaker’s East Course, get off at Nakamachi Kurassic-kan (中町・蔵シック館).

Baumkuchen Bakery Temariya (信州松本バウムクーヘン工房 てまりや)

Baumkuchen isn’t an uncommon Western confectionery. However, have you ever eaten one made from (brown) rice flour instead of wheat?

Without dividing walls, once you step into the bakery, large and long rolls of Baumkuchen are visible in the kitchen, making you want to proceed further into the shop and give one of them a big bite!

The most popular item on the shelf is a Baumkuchen called Arupusu (あるぷす). The exterior of the Baumkuchen is crispy. But as you bite deeper, the center of the cake has a soft and doughy texture.

Another popular item is called Temarin (てまりん). The cake’s appearance mimics the Matsumoto Temari (traditional handball made in Matsumoto).

But don’t mistake Temarin as a traditional confectionery. It is still a Baumkuchen. You will know what we mean when you cut it open. The best part of Temarin is the chestnut paste from Obuse Town that filled the hole in the middle!

Temariya’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • The cafe is open from 10 am to 5 pm from Friday to Wednesday.
    • Please refer to the shop’s calendar at the end of their homepage HERE for the days the shop will close (marked in red).
  • From JR Matsumoto Station (松本駅), it is around a 10-minute walk.

Ihara Lacquerware Specialty Shop (伊原漆器専門店)

Opened in 1907, Ihara Lacquerware Shop aims to provide lacquerware that can be used daily at a reasonable price.

Ⓒ 松本市

Overturning the stereotype of lacquerware that is delicate and difficult to handle, you can find lacquerware that can be washed with detergent at Ihara Lacquerware Specialty Shop!

If you understand Japanese, the friendly shop owner will give you a detailed introduction to lacquerware and the surprising ways to use the items on the shelf. And even if you can only speak English, he will still try his best to communicate with you with simple sentences.

Of course, if you are after high-class lacquerware, the shop also has a wide range of lacquerware made by craftsmen from Kiso (木曽), Yamanaka (山中), Aizu (会津), and Echizen (越前).

Ihara Lacquerware Specialty Shop’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • The shop is open from 10 a to 5:30 pm daily.
  • From JR Matsumoto Station (松本駅), it is around an 11-minute walk.

Handicraft Shop Suguri (手仕事商會 すぐり)

Remember to stop by Handicraft Shop Suguri buried in a small alley, if you love handicrafts.

The shop’s shelf is filled with various handicrafts made by different artists. From ceramics to clothes and accessories, everything sold in the shop is handmade.

The second floor of the shop is utilized as a gallery. Each month, the artworks of a different artist are exhibited. If something catches your eye, talk to the staff. They will wrap it up nicely for you to bring home.

Suguri is also where you can find handmade Temari handbells. Made by plant-dyeing threads, the balls are just too unique to be thrown around for a catch-ball session!

Suguri’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • The shop is open from 11 a to 5 pm from Thursday to Tuesday.
    • From January to March and September, the shop will close on Thursdays as well.
    • If Wednesday/Thursday is a public holiday, it will close on the next business day.
  • From JR Matsumoto Station (松本駅), it is around a 12-minute walk.

Confectionary Shop Okinadō (翁堂)

Okinadō is a confectionary shop with more than 100 years of history in Matsumoto. Initially only making traditional Japanese sweets, the confectionary maker has added Western elements to their menu.

Nowadays, many come to the shop for the Raccoon Dog Cake (the left cake in the photo). Inside the crispy chocolate outer layer, the castella cake in the middle just has a good balance with the chocolate base.

Making the cute cake geared toward a more mature customer base, Okinadō has another cake called Adult’s Raccoon Dog Cake (大人のタヌキケーキ). Adding a little alcohol while making the castella, the cake with a fragrance of rum is perfect for those who love both liquor and desserts!

If cute-looking desserts aren’t your thing, how about a Japanese sweet bean-paste bun infused with alcohol?

Unfortunately, their Nakanomachi Street store closed down in 2020. But, you can either visit their main store close to Nawate Street or the store in front of Matsumoto Station.

Okinadō’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • The shop is open from 9 a to 6 pm daily except on Wednesdays.
  • The branch shop in front of Matsumoto Station is open daily from 9:30 am to 4:45 pm except on Wednesdays.
    • The café above the shop closes at 5 pm, with the last order taken at 4:45 pm.
  • From JR Matsumoto Station (松本駅), it is around a 15-minute walk.

Matsumoto City Hakari Museum (松本市はかり資料館)

While not a shop or restaurant, we thought some might be interested in a measuring instrument museum. It is one of the best places to learn about various scales and weights used across the globe from various eras.

There is also an interactive area where you can play around with the scales and weights used until a few centuries ago!

In addition to the scales, interesting exhibits such as instruments to determine the gender of silkworms’ cocoons and hair hygrometers. Together, there are more than 600 items on display!

For more information about the museum, please refer to our article on the Fascinating Museums in Matsumoto City.

Explore Other Fascinating Attractions in Matsumoto City

Wonder what else in Matsumoto is worth your time? Check out our list of selected attractions in Matsumoto that you won’t want to miss out on.

There are a couple of places where you can source delicious natural water from in the city center, an art museum filled with Kusama Yayoi’s eye-opening contemporary artworks, places perfect for cherry blossom and fall foliage hunting, and much more!

Click the photo to find out more about this gorgeous attraction!

For more information, please refer to our article on Matsumoto!

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