The new city of Matsumoto is the city comprising the mergers of the old city of Matsumoto and four villages. Matsumoto officially absorbed those villages without creating a new municipal organization. Matsumoto is surrounded by mountains and is acclaimed for its beautiful views. Hiking and climbing locations in the mountains are readily accessible by local bus transportation. Matsumoto has several historic features, such as Matsumoto Castle (???, Matsumoto-jo?), Kaichi school (Kaichi gakko), and Temari (traditional Japanese handball). Matsumoto is attractive to travellers not only because of the traditional culture but also its calm climate and its products. Matsumoto soba is famous and many are delighted by its delicate taste. Just north of Matsumoto is the world's largest wasabi farm. Wasabi can only be grown in extremely clean water so there is much local pride in this product. In addition, Matsumoto is home to the Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto, held every August by conductor Seiji Ozawa and featuring the Saito Kinen Orchestra; regular guests have included Robert Mann and Mstislav Rostropovich. It is very difficult to get tickets: Many people wait in line two days before tickets go on sale. Matsumoto, like many areas in Japan, is home to abundant onsen (?? or hot springs).
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