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FIVE RECOMMENDED CHERRY BLOSSOMS SPOTS IN THE MATSUMOTO-AZUMINO AREA IN NAGANO
  • 2019.03.15

    FIVE RECOMMENDED CHERRY BLOSSOMS SPOTS IN THE MATSUMOTO-AZUMINO AREA IN NAGANO

    Are you arriving in Japan too late to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo? Don’t worry! Given the higher elevation, Nagano Prefecture`s blossom trees bloom later than in the capital, typically sometime from mid to late-April. So even after Tokyo has seen its petals scattered on the wind, there is still a chance to enjoy cherry trees in peak bloom.

    Please check Snow Monkey Resorts’ Tours for more information on cherry blossom viewing spots accessible by Shinkansen from Tokyo, via Nagano Station.

    In this article we will introduce some recommended cherry blossom viewing spots in the Matsumoto-Azumino area, which is not so easily accessed by Shinkansen.

     

    1. Mt. Hikarujoyama (Rising Dragon Sakura Trail)
    Hikarujoyama
    A favorite cherry blossom destination for local residents, this hidden corridor of cherry trees extends 400m up the side of a small mountain. It is not easily accessible via public transport but the experience of hiking beneath the cherry blossoms, and the view of the Northern Alps from the top, make it well worth the effort. The trees reach full bloom progressively, from the lower reaches to the top, with the uppermost trees blooming later than those at Matsumoto Castle. The path is lit by hanging lanterns at night but there are no shops or stalls along the path, so be prepared before you go.

     

    Access:
    The trailhead is 30 minutes on foot from Tazawa Station or 1 hour by bicycle from Hotaka Station.
    There are two cycle rental shops in front of Hotaka Station.

     

    2. Matsumoto Castle
    73694d282af7896f81873df6f356eb19_m
    Matsumoto’s iconic landmark, the castle is also a popular cherry blossom-viewing location. The sight of the castle – surrounded by pink blooms with the snow-capped peaks of the Northern Alps shining in the distance – has become representative of spring in the region.

    Located only 15 minutes walk from Matsumoto Station, this easily accessible and iconic cherry blossom-viewing spot can be enjoyed in combination with other popular Matsumoto’s sightseeing spots such as Nakamachi, Nawate Street and the Matsumoto City Museum of Art. When the trees are in full bloom, food stalls are set up within the castle grounds and the area bustles with happy viewers enjoying parties beneath the trees.

     

    Access:
    Located 15 minutes on foot from Matsumoto Station. Free bike hire is also available at Matsumoto Station. It takes 5 minutes to reach the castle by bike.

     

    3. Mt. Kobo Tomb
    MT. Kobo Tomb
    If you want to see a dense cluster of cherry blossoms in the Matsumoto-Azumino area, then this is the spot for you! Around 4000 cherry trees consisting of 9 different varieties are grouped together atop a single ancient burial mound. Lanterns are lit at night creating a fantastical dreamlike atmosphere. Because there not many food stalls on site, it is recommended that you buy something nearby before your visit.

     

    Access: 
    45 minutes on foot from Matsumoto Station, or 25 minutes by bike.

     

    4. Jikkasegi Cycling Route

    Cycling in Azumino is one of the most easily enjoyable green-season activities in the area, and the Jikkasegi cycle path is one of the best cycling courses to experience the local charm of Azumino. The course follows a famous canal, flowing with the clear meltwaters of the Northern Alps. This waterway is closely tied to the lives of the local population and is also lined with beautifully blossoming cherry trees. A tour including cycling in this area is also operating.

     

    Access:
    30 minute walk from Toyoshina Station and
    30 minute cycle from Hotaka Station.

    There are two cycle rental shops in front of Hotaka Station.

     

    5. Ariakeyama Shrine

    Located at the base of the Northern Japan Alps, is local shrine is enveloped in cherry blossoms during spring. Several shrines in the area, including the famous Hotaka Shrine, were established in veneration of nearby sacred mountains. Rising above the shrine, Mt. Ariake, is one such peak. We urge all visitors staying in the popular hiking hub of Hotaka-Onsenkyo to visit this beautiful, very local cherry blossom spot. There are also a number of delicious buckwheat noodle restaurants in the vicinity.

     

    Access:
    1 hour cycle from Hotaka Station.
    There are two cycle rental shops in front of Hotaka Station.