Cherry blossoms, known locally as ‘sakura’, play an important role in Japanese society. Blooming sometime between late-March (at the earliest) and early-May (at the very latest), these beautiful flowers come to different parts of the country at different times in celebration of the end of winter. The cold winter months have passed and people now go about their busy lives under a canopy of white and pink in the warmth of spring…
The blossoms of Yamanouchi are now starting to bloom
Sakura are stunning flowers and in bloom for a very short period of time. As such they occupy a special place in Japanese hearts and minds and are seen as emblematic of human life – short, fragile, and beautiful. Their brief period of bloom is a time to slow down and reflect of the beauty that surrounds us in our everyday lives; beauty that is only enhanced by the fact that it will not last for long.
Given the higher altitude and slightly cooler climate of Nagano, cherry blossoms tend to bloom later than other popular destinations such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. Yamanouchi and the snow monkey park are now coming into bloom, so there is no better time to visit! Nagano is blessed with numerous sites ideal for viewing the blossoms including Kokuganji Temple and Iiyama Jyoshi Park.
The hundreds of cherry blossom trees of Kokuganji Temple
For the past 250 years, the head priests of Kokuganji Temple have dedicated themselves to planting cherry blossom trees, making the temple grounds the perfect place to appreciate the beauty and symbolism of the flowers. Not far from the temple, Iiyama Jyoshi Park is another popular and historical site for locals to enjoy ‘hanami’ (flower viewing) with family and friends. The park itself is set within the former grounds of Iiyama Castle – now lost to time other than a reconstructed gate and the foundation stones of its once immense walls. The castle itself is said to have withstood siege for 12 years during the Warring States Period of the mid-16th century making it another unique setting for enjoying the numerous cherry blossom trees that now dominate the park.
Iiyama Jyoshi Park is a popular spot for ‘hanami’ with local families and friends
It won’t be long until the blossoms are in full bloom throughout Nagano. We would love to show you the beauty of Nagano in spring and there is no better time than now!