Where are the Best Blossoms in Nagano?
For visitors in Nagano City, Zenko-ji Temple is particularly beautiful in spring as the surrounding blossom trees, set against the backdrop of the famous temple, offer outstanding photo opportunities. While there, take the time to wander a little further north to Joyama Park. Popular with local families, the park is ringed by different types of blossom trees which form a delightful corridor to walk under. When in full bloom, Joyama Park is without doubt the best spot to enjoy cherry blossoms in Nagano City (pictured below).
Takato Castle Park is home to over 1500 Kohigan blossom trees and often cited as one of Japan’s Top 3 blossom sites. The official festival is timed for ‘mankai’ (peak bloom), with festival dates announced early each year as the blossom forecast is released.
Evening is a particularly beautiful time to visit, as the trees are lit-up and the canopy of blossoms glows pink in the night.
Located approximately 2 hours to the south of Nagano City, the park is difficult to reach using public transport and best experienced on a tour. Our 1-Day Takato Castle Park Cherry Blossom Tour combines a visit to Takato with Matsumoto Castle’s evening cherry blossom festival.
As one of Japan’s few remaining castles and a registered National Treasure, the illumination of the castle and surrounding blossom trees imbues the precinct with a magical atmosphere – two truly beautiful events.
Ueda Castle Park is blessed with numerous blossom trees set within the picturesque grounds, sitting atop the foundations of the former castle. Though the castle is now gone, several reconstructed buildings sit among the splendid blossom trees, which along with numerous food stalls and vendors during peak bloom, makes Ueda one of the most popular blossom-viewing destination in Nagano.
Along with famous destinations, we highly recommend searching-out local sites which offer some of the best cherry blossom experiences. Located 30 minutes walk from Suzaka Station, Suzaka Garyu Park is a fantastic option for visitors wanting to enjoy a truly local hanami event.
Encircling a lake and lined with blossom trees, when in full bloom Suzaka Garyu is a stunning sight, popular with local families and friends. During peak bloom, food stalls and other vendors are popular with local residents, who stroll slowly around the lake savouring the sights, smells, and tastes of Japan in spring.
Local temples are another ideal place to experience blossoms. Going local avoids the crowds of larger, more famous temples and allows visitors to interact with local people who will be thrilled that you chose to visit their neighborhood. Simple food and tea stalls are often run by the community, welcoming visitors into the temple or park.
With that in mind, our 1-Day Snow Monkeys & Cherry Blossoms in Nagano Tour is one of our most popular! Combining a morning visit to the Jigokudani Monkey Park with lunch and afternoon of hanami, we choose different locations based on where the blossoms are at their best on the day. Using both famous and the very local, each tour is different yet all are designed to give guests the best possible experience while in Nagano.
Taking place in the Matsukawa Valley, the Shinshu Takayama Sakura Festival is another great option. Including nightly illuminations of the regions famous trees, this community-focused event takes a little more effort to get to but is well worth doing so and can easily be combined with a stay at one of several nearby ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouses) – the perfect to discover one of Nagano’s best kept secrets.
Azumino and its famous ‘Rising Dragon Sakura’ trail is another great option for visitors willing to go a little further, to escape the maddening crowds and experience the magic and beauty of the blossoms in spring.
Want to enjoy the blossoms on our group tour or a private tour or charter? Feel free to contact us at email@example.com and let’s get planning together!