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The artsy hometown of internationally-acclaimed artist Yayoi Kusama is one of the best bases for journeying into the Northern Japan Alps
Matsumoto is a gateway to the Japan Alps and a destination in its own right. Apart from being home to Japan's oldest extant castle, it is also the birthplace of avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama. Hop on a bus decorated with polka dots in her honor to see the sights and explore the central Nagano region.

Built in the late 16th century, Matsumoto Castle  is among the oldest surviving castles in Japan. The striking five-story-tall main tower, flanked on either side by smaller structures, is one of the most famous castles in Japan. As you travel through the original wooden interiors, past displays of medieval weaponry, stop to peer out through the narrow window and feel like one of the archers fighting in battles of old. Venturing to the top of the tower is well worth the reward, featuring a superb view of the city, as it stretches out to the Northern Alps.

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