[Nagano Prefecture Mail Magazine] Sharing the Joys of Spring!

February 6th, 2017

Nagano Prefectural Tourism Official Mail Magazine

February 6th, 2017
Published by Nagano Prefecture Tourism Department Tourism Promotions Division
International Tourism Promotions Office

We send this mail magazine to those who have exchanged business cards with members of our office.

Good Afternoon, Everyone!

Thank you very much for reading the winter edition of our official mail magazine. Now, we bring you our spring edition, from March to May, which is full of our recommended sightseeing information.

While Nagano is currently in the midst of ski season, as March passes the snow begins to melt, the trees begin to bud, and little by little seasonal flowers make their debut. Breaking through the snow, the heads of pheasant’s eyes and buttercups signal the long-awaited arrival of spring. By mid-April, the rays of the sun grow stronger day by day and cherry blossoms begin blooming in the southern regions of Nagano, quickly covering the prefecture in a cloud of pink.
Backed by gleaming white mountain tops, the scenery of passing clouds, blue skies, flowery fields and rustling greenery is the true charm of Nagano in spring. Despite the warmth of the season, ski resorts are still open as well, and it is possible to enjoy the colorful flowers and snowy mountains at the same time.

May this issue’s mail magazine be your guide to Nagano in spring, and allow you to enjoy to the fullest the season and all it has to offer. A wonderful trip awaits you in Nagano!

Table of Contents

Overlooked Nagano Sites Rediscovered in Your Name and Taiga Drama Sanada Maru

Your Name

Now playing in theaters across Japan and around the world, animated film Your Name has already left a large mark on filmmaking history. It is now the highest-grossing anime film of all time, netting over $331,600,000 (USD) worldwide. (No. 2 is Spirited Away with over $289,090,000 USD.)

One of Your Name’s major backdrops is Itomori-machi, countryside home of main character Miyamizu Mitsuha. Encircling a large lake and surrounded by distant mountains, Itomori-machi is uncannily similar to Nagano prefecture’s Suwa region. And already people have taken notice and visited in droves to bathe in the landscapes that inspired the movie’s scenery.

(See the Suwa area’s English tourism site here.)

Shinkai Makoto, director of Your Name, also notes that his first inspiration for Lake Itomori was Lake Matsubara in his hometown of Koumi-machi, another area of Nagano.

(See Koumi’s Japanese tourism site here.)

Sanada Maru

In Taiwan, the Videoland Television Network plans to air all 50 episodes of the Japanese Taiga Drama Sanada Maru on their Videoland Japan channel from February 16th to March 24th, 2017.

The city of Ueda in Nagano Prefecture has deep connections with the protagonist of Sanada Maru, Sanada Yukimura, who is played by the actor Sakai Masato. Here you can see ancient sites related to the Sanada family such as the Ueda Castle Ruins, which was built in 1583 by Sanada Masayuki and repelled two attacks by Tokugawa forces, and the former Sanada Castle Ruins, which is believed to be the original headquarters of the Sanada family before they moved to Ueda Castle.

(Ueda City Tourism Division Website in Japanese)
(Ueda Tourism Convention Bureau with multiple language options)

Why don’t you visit the sightseeing spots connected to Your Name and Sanada Maru?

Invited on a Spring Journey by the Warm Winds. Follow in the Footsteps of Great Artists…

  • Nagano International Music Village Daffodil Festival

    Over 100,000 dazzling yellow daffodils look over the magnificent scenery of Mt. Asama.
    More Information:Information Sheet

  • Apricot Festival

    Japan’s No. 1 Apricot Orchard known for its amazing views that have been described as, “One look, One hundred thousand branches.” The light peach blossoms and sweet aroma signal the turn of spring in Shinshu.
    More Information: Chikuma City Tourism Website (English)

  • One Thousand Cherry Blossoms Festival at Ueda Castle

    During April when over 1,000 cherry trees bring the Ueda Castle Ruins to life, there are evening light ups as well as a variety of performances and food stalls.
    More Information:Information Sheet

  • Takato Cherry Blossom Festival

    Takato Castle Ruins Park is famous as one of Japan’s Top 3 Cherry Blossom-viewing spots.
    More Information:Information Sheet

  • Komoro Castle Ruins Park Cherry Blossom Festival

    Literary master of the Meiji Period, Shimasaki Toson, moved to Komoro to teach as an English teacher at a private school and spent almost 7 years there. In his poem “Chikumagawa Ryojo” (Mood on traveling the Chikuma River), he mentions “a lodge by the cliff” which is the modern day inn Nakadanaso.
    More Information: Information Sheet
    Nakadanaso Ryokan Website (Japanese)

  • Garyu Park Cherry Blossom Festival

    Selected as one of Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom spots. During the festival period, the cherry blossoms are lit at night and you can enjoy the reflection of flowers in the water and local favorites such as dango sweets and “Makkura Oden” soup.
    More Information:Information Sheet

  • Takashima Castle Cherry Blossoms and Garden

    This castle, called “Lake Suwa’s Floating Fortress” during the Edo period, is a favorite with photography lovers.
    More Information: Information Sheet

  • Shio-no-michi (Salt Road) Festival (Otari Village)

    The Salt Road, which travels from the Sea of Japan to Shinshu, overflows with history. 120 kilometers long from Etsugo Itoigawa to Matsumoto’s castle town, it was used to carry salt and products of the sea into Nagano. It is also known as the Chikuni Kaido.

    Salt Roads existed throughout Japan, and in addition to bringing salt and other products inland, they were also used to carry lumber, ore, and other items to the coast.
    More Information: Information Sheet

  • Spring Flower-viewing and Karuizawa Literary Trail

    Karuizawa Taliesin is home to a number of art and literary museums of which in particular the Karuizawa Kogen Collection houses important original items and scripts of authors such as Hori Tatsuo and Muro Saisei.
    More Information: Information Sheet

  • Greet Spring at the Azumino Chihiro Art Museum

    Dedicated to Iwasaki Chihiro, who painted with soft lines and translucent color and prayed for the happiness of children around the world. The Azumino Chihiro Art Museum sits amid a grand landscape where you can experience the beauty of the four seasons. At the end of winter, enjoy Azumino’s freshly blooming flowers of plum, peach, and cherry.
    More Information: Azumino Chihiro Art Museum Website (Japanese)

Useful Information

New Spring Events

  • Snow Monkey Beer Live 2017

    More Information:Information Sheet

  • Snow Corridor Walking

    More Information:Information Sheet

  • Ruri-ji temple’s Lion Dance

    The Oshimayama Ruri-ji temple’s Lion Dance is a rare example of a “Yatai Shishi,” a dancing lion built like a parade float and filled with flute and taiko drum players. In the performance, the King Udayana tames the lion and walks it through town in a prayer for peace, bountiful harvest, and safety from disaster.
    Dates: Second Saturday and Sunday of April
    Location: Ruri-ji temple (Takamori)
    More Information: Ruri-ji temple Lion Dance (Japanese)

  • Kamisuwa Kaido Spring Sakagura Crawl

    The Suwa Area’s sake production prospers due to its pure air, water, and exceptional temperature changes. In particular, there are five sake breweries, or sakagura, in Suwa City which have retained the distinct charm of this ancient craft. While tasting carefully-brewed sake from these breweries, walk Suwa’s historic streets and visit its temples and shrines.
    Dates: March 25th, 2017
    Time: 13:00 to 17:00
    More Information: Kamisuwa Sakagura Crawl (Japanese, English)

  • Saku Balloon Festival

    This Balloon Festival decorates the sky of Nagano during Golden Week. Each year, excellent pilots from Nagano and beyond gather in Saku City to compete. During the festival, balloon rides and a number of stage events will be held.
    Dates: May 3rd to May 5th, 2017
    Location: Chikumagawa Sports Koryu Hiroba
    More Information: Saku Balloon Website (Japanese)

Today’s Tweet

This time we’ve introduced to you sightseeing locations that exemplify the best of Nagano in Spring, and those that have been graced by great historical figures. What did you think?

Out of all four seasons, spring is my personal favorite. I like the spring scenery, clear air, and blue skies, but even more so the rainy days. As a child I have memories of walking deep into the mountain behind my elementary school during light spring rains. I remember the sounds of rain, the pools of water that formed on leaves, the spouts of water from the rooftops, and the bouncing droplets of water as they splashed on the river…

It was all so fresh and exciting for me. And when the rain stopped, everything was reborn and buzzing with life. I have come to love Nagano, because here too I have found the beauty of rainy spring, something so reminiscent of my childhood days.

This kind of simplicity and warmth awaits travelers in spring. Why not join them?


We regularly update our page with seasonal sightseeing spots and information. Please take a look and give us a like!

Nagano Prefecture International Tourism Website Go! Nagano

Bringing you Nagano’s sightseeing info in:
English, Simplified & Traditional Chinese, Thai Language, Korean, and Indonesian.
New model courses are also available. Please take a look!

Nagano Prefecture Mail Magazine (Published Quaterly)
Editing: Nagano Prefecture Tourism Department
Tourism Promotions Division International Tourism Office
Tel: 026-235-7252 Fax: 026-235-7257
E-mail: go-nagano@pref.nagano.lg.jp
URL: http://www.go-nagano.net/

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