Although Matsumoto is not the capital of Nagano Prefecture, it seems that the social life of Nagano JETs and other ALTs does seem to orbit this city.
Acclaimed for having beautiful views of the Japanese Alps, a historic castle and a vibrant cosmopolitan style. It is not too big as to be difficult to get around it is also not too small that you feel like you are in a fishbowl.
It is going to be hot and humid. Not quite as bad a Tokyo, but it not that much different either. It will take you some time to get used to the heat and the new culture you have landed in. Take it easy on your first week here and make sure you hydrate yourself with sports drinks as well as water. It doesn't last that long and Autumn is just around the corner. Like winter it's not really as bad as it seems.
Hopefully your predecessor has not cleaned you out and you have a functional apartment. For the stuff you didn't bring over here is a list of stores to get the things you need.
- PARCO - Big expensive department store, wait until you have a few paycheques under your belt before buying stuff here. The plaza out the front is pleasant during summer, especially if the fountain is running.
- Espa - The middle of the road type department store. Not a great selection of stuff, but has your basic needs. The supermarket in the basement is a little on the expensive side but good in a pinch. The Bus terminal is here for both local and intercity buses. The ticket counter is in the basement and some of the attendants can speak English. On the top floor is a 100Yen Shop with a good selection of stuff for home and school.
- Inoue - Explained to me as the middle aged ladies department store. A Mister Minute is located on the ground floor for key cutting.
- Midori - Located in Matsumoto Station. Typical station department store, with clothing and shoe stores, accessories, book store, souvenirs, restaurants and a bakery.
- Aeon Mall - Opened in 2017. Lots of shops including H&M, Muji, Khaldi Coffee (decent import food selction) and a large supermarket. Very busy on weekends. Guaranteed you will run into a few of your students here.
- Nagisa Life Site - Basically a strip mall. Has a Starbucks, Tsutaya (book store), Tsuruya (supermarket), a drug store and Edion (electronics store).
- Watahan - A cross between Kmart and Home Depot. Good for buying household items at a reasonable price.
- Don Quixote - Has a carnival type atmosphere. It carries a wide range of products, from basic groceries to electronics to clothing. The store is well known in Japan and is often referred to by its shortened name "Donki".
- Tsuruya - The leading supermarket option. Best produce section in town. If you want to cook food from your home country, chances are they will have the ingredients you need. Very reasonable prices. Only open until 8pm.
- Seiyu - Usually open 24 hours. Several locations around town. Partially owned by Wal-Mart and you can find some overseas brands.
- Big - Regular type of supermarket.
- Valor - Regular type of supermarket.
- Appleland - Smaller supermarkets in stratigic place around Matsumoto. A little more expencive than the big ones, but usually closer.