After our journey we had a good nights sleep in Matsumoto, Nagano, where this weekend the 32nd Craft Fair Matsumoto will take place. We already had a look in town and visited some of the many craft shops that are welcoming crafts lovers from all over Japan.

Always worth a visit is Nakamachi Street with many old store and town houses that have been restored to their traditional look. Typical for the buildings are their fire-resistant kura-style (earthen) walls. These were built as a means of fire prevention after in 1888 most of the houses in the street burnt down. In Matsumoto these walls developed a unique white mortar grid pattern on black tiles, called namako-kabe. Today the atmosphere of the street is dominated mainly by small shops selling crafts and small cafés.

One of our favourite shops is Tohenboku (above) where you can find many fine crafts tableware like ceramics, wood and metal products. A few meters across the street isChikiriya (below), which sells mainly folk crafts (mingei). We haven’t bought anything this time, though. We want to save our money for tomorrow’s market.

Before leaving Nakamachi street we suggest you have a coffee at the new Nakamachi Café (below). They serve a unique Nakamachi Blend and an excellent cold-brew ice coffee.