Nawate Street is a six-minute walk from Matsumoto Castle and a ten-minute walk from Matsumoto Station. It is a shopping street with a nostalgic atmosphere. There are nearly 50 antique shops on this small street and you can take your time to walk around and explore the shops and interesting corners of this walking-street.Souvenir shops at this street are fulled of unique decoration items. There are 2 shops where they sell seasonal fruits and vegetables. You can buy and try some local fresh fruit.The name of Nawate literally means the “long narrow bank like a rope” sandwiched between the clear streams of Minamisobori and Metobagawa in Matsumoto Castle.But the street has another name: Frog Street. You can see many Frog statues on the street. Right at the front of the street you will find a big statue of a scary frog here.However, then you will find so many cute frogs at other corners of the streets. A long time ago, there were a lot of frogs that lived only in clear streams of the Toba River here. So frogs symbolize the clean and lively street in the past. In the middle of the street, there is an altar as a power spot, called “Frog Daimyojin”. Now we cannot see frogs nor hear the sound of insects that often, but in the wake of its revival and town revitalization, the Nawate street (Nawate-dori) is called “Frog Street”.
Along the way of Nawate-dori, you will find the Yohashira Shrine (“Four-Pillar Shrine” ). The Shrine was built during the Meiji Period and is dedicated to four Shinto deities. The Yohashira Shrine is a very rare spirit spot in Japan where so many Gods gather and connect with people and things. Therefore, it is very popular as a power spot that “makes all your wishes”. You also may have a chance to see how a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony takes place or to see the bride and the groom take their wedding photo at this shrine. This is a precinct with a quiet and solemn atmosphere, which is completely different from the lively street. Pigeons often gather at the Yohashira Shrine. You can buy some beans to feed them if you stop by. Yohashira shrine is also a good spot to see autumn folliage. The red, warm color of maple leaves is in the blend with the historical buildings.A visit to Nawate Street is not complete if you have not tried the taiyaki here. Taiyaki is a fish-shaped cake that is very familiar in Japanese culture. You can try a variety of flavors such as mashed red bean paste, cheese cream, custard or even sausage. You will enjoy the crispy crust mixed with the aromatic and rich bread. You can sit on the small benches nearby, leisurely sipping hot delicious bread, just watching the scenery.