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A city in the northern Chiba Prefecture of Japan, Matsudo has had people wandering around it since prehistoric times. Archaeologists have had a field day here finding remains from the Jomon period and burial tumuli (chambered burial mounds where Japan's emperors, empresses and other VIPs have their final resting place) from the Kofun period. Historically the area was once controlled by the Tokugawa shogunate, which provided warhorses for the Shogun's armies. It was also a "post station" or rest town for travelers due to its location connecting Edo with Mito.

The city is now a bedroom community of the Greater Tokyo area and a regional commercial center with a mixed industrial base. It is home to numerous universities such as Chiba University, Nihon University, Seitoku University, Ryutsu Keizai University and Seitoku University Junior College, so there are plenty of exuberant youthful vibes in the urban landscape.

You can reach most places on foot, not that there is a lot to see, so make sure you have your walking shoes with you. You can join the locals praying for health and happiness at the Hondouji Temple where you will find about 10,000 Japanese hydrangeas and 5,000 irises - if you happen to be there in autumn, the leaves turn a brilliant red like fire. The Tosenji Temple near the Kitakogane Station overflows with cherry blossoms in the temple during the springtime and the locals party under the trees.

For a sense of true Japanese culture if you happen to be in the city during August, you should head to the Sakagawa River for the lantern festival that has been happening since the Edo period.

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