Ever hear about Matsumoto Mingei Kagu (Matsumoto folk furniture) from Nagano’s Matsumoto city? This furniture isn’t made by anyone famous it’s made by workmen who create sturdy usable furniture for everyday people. The soft colors and cool designs are a bit nostalgic and almost has a calming effect on us. This time we visit Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu and see this Matsumoto folk furniture and taste some local delicacies.
Matsumoto Castle the national treasure of Matsumoto
Before we get into the Matsumoto folk furniture, we want to show you Matsumoto Castle. Matsumoto Castle is said to have the oldest castle tower in Japanese history, and along with Himeji, Hikone, and Inuyama Castles are recognized as national treasures of Japan. From the castle tower with the white and black beautifully contrasting walls you can see Yarigatake mountain range and the air has a nice crisp feel to it. Matsumoto Castle is a symbol and an integral part of life in Matsumoto city center. People going to work or school in the morning walk with it in view every day here, and it is basically a part of their morning. We are envious of the people living with a castle so much a part of their lives.
Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu, a five minute walk from Matsumoto Castle
Matsumoto City started as a castle town to support the castle, and many of the ancient buildings and cityscape is still intact. 5 minutes from the castle in a convenient location is the long established Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu, which opened in 1896. Inside the white walled 7 story building all the furniture such as chairs, tables, and beds etc are all Matsumoto folk furniture. Matusmoto folk furniture is said to have started when people took regular Matsumoto furniture and added a western twist to it. Let’s go inside the hotel and check out what the furniture looks like.
Front lobby of the main building
The front lobby is on the 2nd floor of the main building and arguably the most spectacular space to enjoy Matsumoto folk furniture. This spot shows up in the hotel brochures, and even tourist brochures as a symbolic space for Matsumoto Folk furniture. Because it is the face of the hotel, the lobby is impressive yet from each piece of furniture you feel the sensitivity emanate, with the carpets and cushions’ colors and trendy designs harmonizing with the furniture an air of comfort is made.
All the colors are a bit muted and aren’t shocking making this space want you to stay as long as possible. Of course staying here forever is not an option we head to the coffee shop in the annex building.
Coffee shop Kagetsu in the annex building
Although called the annex it is connected to the main building by hallway making travel to it easy peasy. The atmosphere is comfortable at Coffee shop Kagetsu with its Matsumoto folk furniture. The coffee here is made with fresh mountain snow water from the Japanese alps and is amazing to say the least! Behind the counter there are many coffee tickets, these are for the many frequent customers that come here for their daily fix of coffee, this café is truly loved by the local populace.
So much allure with their Sanzokuyaki, A5 Nagano Wagyu, and buffet
Not only are they proud of their coffee you can get food and desserts from a comprehensive menu. The beef sauté is made from locally grown Shinshu Sakurai Wagyu A5 beef, which is soft but with umami filling every fiber of the meat, you will lose your mind at how good this A5 beef is.
The image above is of the Sanzokuyaki which is a local Matsumoto dish, offered at many places in the city. It is made from cutting chicken meat wide open, marinated in a special sauce that is filled with garlic and ginger, sprinkled with starch and flour, then fried, every shop who offers this has their own take on it. The one offered at this hotel is served with lemon which you squeeze on top to give a refreshing flavor to it, it pairs perfectly with a Shinshu wine.
For dessert, how about an original parfait? With variations such as chocolate, coffee jelly, and fruit and each made to perfection you will definitely be satisfied.
So what do you think of the local delicacies and the Matsumoto folk furniture you can enjoy at this classic hotel in a castle town? Yes new things might be nice and make your heart go pitter patter but, there is something comforting in the nostalgia of a long established hotel like this. Come to Matsumoto to feel the history and imagine yourself in that long ago time.