Iiyama City is hosting its annual Nanohana Festival from Friday, May 3rd to Sunday, May 5th!
Iiyama, carpeted in a deep blanket of snow during winter, bursts forth in color during spring. The dazzling fields of rapeseed flowers are complimented by verdant forests, snowy mountains and bright-blue skies—a perfect example of Japan’s idyllic countryside. This short but colorful bloom is a great time to visit the area and enjoy the spring scenery.
You can see an overview of last year’s festival with plenty of photographs on our website here.
Things to Do
Enjoy Iiyama’s beautiful spring scenery with some outdoor activities! You can rent a bicycle from the Shinetsu Shizenkyo Center in Iiyama Station and ride along the riverside on your way to the park, or even take a boat ride across the Chikuma River. Kayaking is also offered at Lake Hokuryu near Nozawa Onsen.
1. Rent a bicycle at Shinetsu Activity Center
Nanohana Park is about 30 minutes away from Iiyama Station by bicycle. The relatively flat roads along the Chikuma River are great for biking, and you can enjoy the surrounding scenery at your leisure. Just over halfway to the park is Iiyama’s Michi-no-eki, where you can stop for a drink and stock up on snacks and/or souvenirs.
2. Ride a boat across the Chikuma River
Small motorboats will run across the Chikuma River during the Iiyama Nanohana Festival. Traveling back and forth between the Michi-no-Eki and the Nanohana Park, the boat offers great views of the surrounding flowers and mountains.
3. Kayaking on Lake Hokuryu
Lake Hokuryu sits on the hillside of Iiyama near Nozawa Onsen. This small lake is surrounded by nanohana flowers and forest, with a few cherry blossoms poking out between the trees. You can kayak on the lake among the spring scenery and enjoy the cool mountain air. One and two-person kayaks are available.
4. Visit Ancient Kosuge Shrine
Together with Togakushi and Iizuna, Kosuge was one of Northern Nagano’s most renowned places for ascetic practice. Among the old kominka houses, you’ll find numerous temples and shrines. And at the very top of the village, where it meets the forest, a wide, cobblestone trail heads into the mountain. The hour-long trek passes through tall cedar trees, streams, and impressive rockfaces before reaching the Kosuge Okusha Shrine. The path has poor footing in some areas, so proper footwear and hiking experience is recommended.
See more information here.
Access to Iiyama’s Nanohana Park
Several buses will run between Iiyama and the Nanohana Park during the festival period, with occasional buses to Nozawa as well. Purchase the One-Day Bus Passport for 1,000 yen for unlimited rides on the buses below (traveling to Nozawa Onsen requires a separate fee).
For Kosuge Shrine, get off at Kosuge no Sato.
|To Nanohana Park/Nozawa||1st||2nd*||3rd||4th||5th*||6th†||7th||8th†||9th*||10th||11th†||12th*||13th||14th|
|Takahashi Mayumi Doll Museum||↓||10:15||↓||11:35||↓||12:55||↓||14:45||↓||↓|
|Nanohana Park (Yunoiriso Entrance)||9:34||10:30||11:00||11:14||11:50||12:00||12:14||13:00||13:10||13:59||14:00||15:00||15:39||16:54|
|Kosuge no Sato||↓||10:40||↓||↓||12:00||↓||↓||↓||13:20||↓||↓||15:10||↓||↓|
|Nozawa Grand Hotel||9:53||↓||11:33||↓||12:33||↓||14:18||↓||15:58||17:13|
|Michi-no-Eki Hana-no-Eki Chikumagawa||11:10||12:10||13:10||14:10|
|To Iiyama Station||1st||2nd||3rd*||4th†||5th||6th*||7th†||8th||9th*||10th†||11th†||12th||13th*||14th†||15th||16th*|
|Michi-no-Eki Hana-no-Eki Chikumagawa||11:30||12:30||13:30||14:30||15:30|
|Nozawa Grand Hotel||9:05||10:10||↓||11:45||12:45||↓||↓||14:30||↓||16:20|
|Kosuge no Sato||↓||↓||10:55||↓||↓||12:15||↓||13:35||↓||↓||↓||15:25||↓||↓||16:25|
|Nanohana Park (Yunoiriso Entrance)||9:19||10:24||11:05||11:40||11:59||12:25||12:40||12:59||13:45||13:40||14:40||14:44||15:35||15:40||16:34||16:35|
|Takahashi Mayumi Doll Museum||↓||↓||11:20||↓||12:40||↓||14:00||↓||15:50||↓||16:50|