Today you are headed to Matsumoto, the second largest city in Nagano prefecture and home to the lovely Matsumoto Castle. It is unusual because it is an original castle, rather than a re-construction and has its own unique features, not seen at other castles. It is very beautiful, especially during the cherry blossom season.
A popular day trip from Matsumoto is the Kurobe-Alpine Route, which can be done as a day trip. This is a spectacular trip through the alps using cable cars, busses and ropeways. Along the way, you will go through a magnificent snow corridor and be treated to truly fantastic scenery. The trip through the Alps is not covered by the JR Pass, but a pass especially for this route is available for purchase. Also, not to worry if you can't do it in Matsumoto, this is a commonly sold side trip in Nagano as well.
Nakatsugawa 10:50 > Matsumoto 12:04