Nagano’s 2018 Cherry Blossom Forecast

March 22nd, 2018 by
Category: Information, Seasonal Topics

See our cherry blossoms article for 2019 here!
Ogawa Village’s reddish pink Tachiya cherry blossoms contrast with the snowy peaks of the Japanese Alps.
As the snow slowly melts from the streets and sprouts begin to poke their heads out from under the ground, we’re all beginning to wonder: when will the cherry blossoms come? According to a new forecast announced last Tuesday, it looks like many areas of Japan will be seeing their cherry trees bloom a full ten days earlier than last year.

See the Most Recent Cherry Blossom Forecast:

https://sakura.weathermap.jp/en.php

For Nagano, many of its cherry blossom spots will begin blooming about five days earlier than 2017, while peak viewing will come three to four days earlier. That hopefully means that this season will be even better for enjoying winter snow and spring blossoms together. Major ski resorts like Happo One and Tsugaike in Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen, and Shiga Kogen usually stay open until Golden Week (first week of May), and the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route will open its doors this year on April 15.

This year, we’ve looked at an increasing variety of cherry blossom spots around Nagano. Using last year’s bloom data and the current predictions for 2018, we’ve included dates for peak cherry blossom viewing as well. You can usually enjoy great blossoms for two to three days before or after the peak viewing date. Take a look at our recommendations below!

Update (2018/04/02): With temperatures staying unusually high this past week and a number of locations around Nagano already seeing blossoms, we have updated our predictions for this year’s full bloom dates. Overall, we are expecting full bloom to come four days earlier than we originally thought.

Update (2018/04/04): With sunny days that feel straight out of summer, Nagano’s cherry blossoms are rushing towards full bloom even faster. Many spots are already near full bloom, and we can assume that higher altitude locations will also be affected. Overall, places are blooming 2 to 4 days earlier than our last update.

Update (2018/04/13): Omachi Park has reached full bloom as of yesterday. Some trees still are at 80 to 90%, so we expect the park’s trees to last through next week to the 18th-19th. Iiyama Castle’s blossoms have also opened and are currently nearing full bloom. The top of Mt. Hikarujo should be at its peak by the 16th, while the cherry trees at the foot of the mountain will soon be finished. We have changed Mt. Hikarujo’s access information, as the trailhead was located further away than we originally thought. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms this Spring

To make the most out of the late winter/early spring weather, visit cherry blossom spots with great views of the Alps. Omachi Park (April 14) stands above the city and has crystal clear views of the Northern Japanese Alps. On the way between Omachi and Nagano are the Nitanda and Tachiya cherry blossoms (April 12), which stand on the hills of Ogawa Village. From the right angle, the cherry trees blooming beneath the Alps is truly breath-taking. Near Azumino, you can take a short hike up Mt. Hikarujo (April 16), whose trail is covered in cherry trees. Through the branches, you’ll see the glimmering white peaks of the Northern Alps.

Clockwise from top: Omachi Park in Omachi City, Tachiya Cherry Trees in Ogawa Village, Mt. Hikarujo in Azumino City

If you’d like to see cherry blossoms on the water, there are also plenty of places to visit that satisfy your needs. On the shore of Lake Suwa is Takashima Castle (April 10), whose cherry blossoms hang over its walls, slowly scattering their petals in the moat below. In Suzaka City just outside of Nagano is Garyu Park (April 10) covered in 800 cherry trees, a quarter of which are planted along the large pond in the center of the park and are illuminated beautifully during the evening. Another spot in Omachi is the Lake Nakatsuna cherry trees (April 26); a late bloomer that impresses visitors with its intimate scale and tranquility.


Clockwise from top: Garyu Koen in Suzaka City, Lake Nakatsuna in Omachi City, Takashima Castle in Suwa City

In southern Nagano’s Hirugami Onsen, you can enjoy the beauty of cherry blossoms at night together with starry skies. The Komatsunagi cherry tree (April 20) is an 850-year-old giant beside terraced rice fields. When they are flooded in mid-April, the tree’s blossoms reflect brilliantly in the water below.

Komatsunagi Cherry Tree in Achi Village

For a touch of culture and history with your cherry blossoms, visit Matsumoto Castle (April 6), Komoro Kaikoen (April 9), Ueda Castle Ruins (April 4), or Takato Castle Ruins (April 8).


 
 

Clockwise from top: Matsumoto Castle in Matsumoto City, Ueda Castle in Ueda City, Takato Castle Park in Ina City, Komoro Kaikoen in Komoro City

See More about Nagano’s Cherry Blossoms and Other Flowers:

Nagano’s Top Cherry Blossom Spots (2017)
Other Flower Festivals in Nagano (2016)

Getting Around Nagano’s Cherry Blossom Spots

Omachi Park (Omachi City): By train/bus, a 25-minute walk from JR Oito line Shinano Omachi Station, or a 5-minute taxi. By car: a 40-minute drive from the Azumino IC exit. See in Google Maps.

Nitanda and Tachiya cherry blossoms (Ogawa Village): By train/bus, A 50-minute bus ride on the Shinmachi Takafu line bus (get off at Takafu bus stop), then a 20-minute walk to trees or 15 minutes to viewpoint. By car, a 45-minute drive from the Nagano IC. See in Google Maps.

Mt. Hikarujo (Azumino City): By train/bus, a 35-minute walk or 10-minute taxi from JR Tazawa Station. By car, a 7-minute drive from the Azumino IC exit. See in Google Maps.

Takashima Castle (Suwa City): By train/bus: a 10-minute walk from Kamisuwa Station. By car, an 8-minute drive from the Suwa IC exit. See in Google Maps.

Garyu Park (Suzaka City): By train/bus, a 20-minute walk from Suzaka Station. By car, a 10-minute drive from the Suzaka Higashi Nagano IC. See in Google Maps.

Lake Nakatsuna (Omachi City): By train/bus, a 3-minute walk from Yanaba Station. By car, a 50-minute drive from the Nagano IC exit. See in Google Maps.

Komatsunagi Cherry Tree (Achi Village): By train/bus, a 30-minute ride on the Hirugami line bus from Iida Station followed by a 22-minute taxi. By car, 5 minutes from the Sonohara IC. See in Google Maps.

Matsumoto Castle (Matsumoto City): By train/bus, a 15-minute walk from Matsumoto Station. See in Google Maps.

Komoro Kaikoen (Komoro City): By train/bus, a 3-minute walk from Komoro Station. See in Google Maps.

Ueda Castle Ruins (Ueda City): By train/bus, a 15-minute walk from Ueda Station. See in Google Maps.

Takato Castle Ruins (Ina City): By train/bus, a 20-minute ride on the Takato shuttle bus from Inashi Station. See in Google Maps.

69 Responses to “Nagano’s 2018 Cherry Blossom Forecast

  1. On April 5 (Thu) aside from Zenkouji and Joyama Koen anywhere else perfect for Sakura viewing?

  2. I will be in Matsumoto on 4/19, where would you recommend to see cherry blossoms since Matsumoto Castle is already in full bloom?

  3. Hi Karen,

    The nearest place I can recommend is Mt. Hikarujo in Azumino (access info available in the blog). Because the cherry trees climb up the mountain, you should have a longer window for seeing trees in full bloom. Around then, the trees at the top of the mountain should be at their peak, and you can see beautiful views of the Japanese Alps from the top. If you have plenty of time or are visiting other parts of Nagano, I can try to recommend some other spots as well.

    I hope that helps.

    -Blair

  4. Hi Blair,

    Thank you for your reply, we will definitely go to Mt. Hikarujo. We might go check out Omachi Park that was on your blog too even though it’s a bit far, the picture you posted looks amazing. We are only in Matsumoto for one day then we’ll be going to Magome and Tsumago.

    Thank you for your help!!

  5. Hi,
    We will be visiting Nagano for cherry blossoms on April 9. We are planning to visit these locations which are in full bloom around our travel date:
    Matsumoto Castle (April 6)
    Komoro Kaikoen (April 9)
    Ueda Castle Ruins (April 4)
    Takato Castle Ruins (April 8)

    We are only doing a day trip from Tokyo, can you please help us in which order should we see those sites to maximize our trip in Nagano?

    Any additional information/tips are very much welcome.

    Thanks!

  6. Hi, We planed to visit Takato Castle on 11 April for the Cherry Blossom. Is it still possible to see a reasonably beautiful view when we get there as it is full bloom now ? If not, where will you recommend for us to go on 11 April as we drive from Tokyo. Thanks!

  7. Hi Cath,

    The easiest route would like like this:

    1. Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Saku-Daira Station (85 minutes)
    2. JR Koumi line train from Saku-Daira Station to Komoro Station (15 minutes). Walk to Komoro Kaikoen (3 minutes).
    3. Shinano Railway train from Komoro Station to Ueda Station (20 minutes). Walk to Ueda Castle (15 minutes).
    4. Return from Ueda Castle (15 minutes). Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Nagano Station (12 minutes).
    5. Change to the Limited Express Wide View Shinano train and get off at Matsumoto Station (51 minutes). Take a bus or walk to the castle (15 minutes).
    6. Return from the Castle (15 minutes). Take the Limited Express Azusa to Okaya Station (16 minutes), then switch to the JR Iida line and get off at Inashi Station (44 minutes).
    7. Take the Takato Castle Park line bus and get off at Takato (21 minutes). Walk to the park.
    8. Return to Inashi Station (21 minutes). Take the JR Iida line train to Okaya Station (48 minutes), then switch to the Limited Express Azusa and get off at Shinjuku Station (140 minutes).

    You could also do the same trip in the reverse order if you’d like, in which case you could also do a bit of shopping at Karuizawa at the end of your trip before returning to Tokyo.

    For more information, see the following websites:

    Visit Matsumoto English Webpage

    Ueda City Tourism English Webpage

    Hyperdia English Website (for searching train times & routes)

    I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    -Blair

  8. Hello, I am planning a one day trip from Tokyo to Nagano prefecture on 11 April. Where should I go to see the full bloom?

  9. Hi Blair,
    Thank you very much for you reply! This will help us a lot to maximize our day trip to Nagano.

    Regards,
    Cath

  10. Hi,

    we are planning to travel up to Nagano from Hakone/Tokyo on the 16th April for a day hoping to catch a glimpse of the cherry blossom since it is already over in Tokyo by then. Is there any cherry blossom festival nearby? I am hoping I can go somewhere to watch sakura during the day and some at night.

    By the way, I have got a JR pass.

    Wai

  11. Hi again, I have come across the town Liyama in Nagano and cherry blossom is supposed to be still in bloom on the 16th April. What is the cherry blossom festival like there?

    Regards,

    Wai

  12. Hi Wai,

    The Iiyama Castle Ruins park has a cherry blossom festival every year from mid April to the beginning of May. This year it will be held from April 11 to May 1, 2018. At night, the cherry blossoms are illuminated by hanging paper lanterns and yatai stalls set up shop to sell Japanese festival food. The blossoms at the park should reach full bloom around April 18 this year. You should still be able to see nice cherry blossoms on the 16th.

    Omachi Park’s cherry blossoms should also be in bloom on the 16th (currently expecting full bloom on the 19th or 20th). You can enjoy beautiful views of the Japanese Alps from the park as well. To the south of Omachi in Azumino is Mt. Hikarujo, which should still have plenty of flowering trees when you arrive. Mt. Hikarujo also has evening light ups as well.

    All of these can be reached by train lines covered by the JR Pass. Iiyama Castle Ruins Park is accessible via a 5-minute walk from JR Kita-Iiyama Station. You can see access information for Omachi Park and Mt. Hikarujo in the blog.

    I hope that helps!

    -Blair

  13. Hi Fania,

    I recommend Garyu Park in Suzaka City, Takashima Castle in Suwa City, and Komoro Kaikoen in Komoro City for peak cherry blossom viewing on the 11th. The dates listed above are predictions for their full bloom date, and usually the trees look full for two to three days before and after. You can see access information for each place in the blog.

    Let me know if you’d like to know anything else!

    -Blair

  14. Hi David,

    Generally speaking, peak cherry blossom viewing is from three days before and until three days after the full bloom date. You should be able to see beautiful views in Takato on the 11th. As I just mentioned to another commentor, Garyu Castle Park, Takashima Castle, and Komoro Kaikoen should also be at their peak around then.

    Let me know if I can help with anything else.

    -Blair

  15. Hi – We are debating if we should go to Garyu Park on 4/8 – 4/9 or 4/10-4/11, do you know if it is blooming right now or if we will miss if we go on the 10th? Is there a number we can call with English speaking? Thank you very much.

  16. Hi, I am thinking of traveling to Nagano tomorrow for a day trip, where would be the best place to catch cherry blossoms? It seems that I may be too early.

  17. Hi Alvin,

    Takato Castle Park, Matsumoto Castle, and Ueda Castle are all in full bloom. You’re actually right on time!

    -Blair

  18. Hi Helen,

    Garyu Park’s blossoms are in half bloom at the moment, and should reach full bloom by the 9th or 10th. Any of those days you mentioned should be great for cherry blossom-viewing at the park.

    You can call the Nagano City Tourist Information Center with any sightseeing questions. Their phone number is 026-226-5626.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

    -Blair

  19. Dear Blair

    Looks like cherry blossom comes in earlier than expected…
    We will arrive Karuisawa (Komoro castle) on April 14th, then go Nagano (Garyu park) on Apr 15th. 16th we will stop by Omachi before going up the Alpine route to see the snow wall. may I know if this is too late to see the peak time?

    Can you also kindly advise when the peak viewing time for Achi village? also when the right timing for peach blossom? I really want to go there for starglazing, too! Many thanks!

  20. Dear Blair,

    We will only arrive Japan on April 14 first stop at Karuisawa (Koromo castle). Looks like the cherry blossom comes in early than previous forecast. Then on April 15 we will go Garyu park of Nagano city, 16th stop by Omachi as we go to snow wall of Alpine route. May I know if am going to miss the cherry blossom? Many thanks!

  21. Hi Blair,
    I’m going to Matsumoto on the 15 April.
    Stay 3 nights.
    Where can I see cherry blossom in that area.
    Thank you.
    Noni

  22. Hello everyone!

    I’ll be landing in Japan this Monday 9th and I plan to go to Nagano between 11 and april 18, which are the best spots for cherry blossoms on these days? Thanks a lot for your help!

  23. Hi,

    I will visit Takada Castle, Takato Castle and Asahi Funakawa on April 12-13, is it too late for beautiful cherry blossom? or could you advise any other place on that time?

    Thank you,
    Chris

  24. Hi Blair:

    I will be going to Matsumoto on 15/4 and initially I thought to see the full bloom at Matsumoto Castle but seems like its too late. By the time I reach should be no more. Can you advise where else can I go for cherry blossom in Matsumoto/Nagano area? My initial plan is to go places like Takato Castle Park, Lake Suwa, Zenkoji Temple.

    I bring my parents go and this is our first trip to Japan. My parents hope to see cherry blossom very much.

    Thanks for your opinion.

  25. Hi, we arrive at Tokyo by April 11. We intend to see cherry blossom by train with JR Pass in Nagano area. The closest seem to be Komoro and Ueda Castle . Are there good options? Do we have beautifull view of white top mountain from train window? Thank you very much.

  26. Hi Blair,

    Was planning on going to Takato Castle Park on the 10th April. Are the cherry blossoms in full bloom then?

    Thanks so much

  27. Hi,
    I plan to visit Nagano on 14th and 15th April, will i get to see the blossoms and if yes, where shall i go to see them.

    thanks !

  28. Dear Blair,

    we want to make a one day trip from Tokyo on the 11th April. Which spot should we visit for cherry blossom?

    Best regards, Anne

  29. Hi Anne,

    The closest spot from Tokyo would be Komoro Kaikoen, which should still be in full bloom on the 11th. From Tokyo, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Saku-Daira Station, then the local Koumi line to Komoro Station. It’s just a three-minute walk from there.

    -Blair

  30. Hi Roopangi,

    The trees on the hillside of Mt. Hikarujo should be in full bloom around the 14th, and Omachi Park should also be at its peak around then.

    -Blair

  31. Looking at photos from this morning, Takato’s cherry trees are still going strong. They should still look great tomorrow!

    -Blair

  32. April 11th will most likely be late for seeing cherry blossoms at Ueda Castle this year, but Komoro Kaikoen will be at its peak.

    On the train between Tokyo and Komoro Kaikoen, you won’t see the alps from the train but you may be able to see Mt. Asama, the area’s active volcano.

    -Blair

  33. Hi Chris,

    I was actually at Takada Castle this Saturday. The cherry trees were relatively full, but recent storms have knocked a lot of the petals off the branches already. The 12th/13th may be late for seeing sakura there. Takato Castle park reached its peak on the 5th this year, and petals usually begin to fall about 6 days later (the 11th). The trees should still look good on the 12th, and possibly the 13th as well. As for Asahi Funakawa, the Asahi town website says the viewing period for the trees is April 4th to 22nd.

    I hope that helps.

    -Blair

  34. Hi Viridiana,

    On the 11th, Komoro Kaikoen, Takato Castle Park, Takashima Castle, and Garyu Park should be at their peak. Around the 14th-15th, Mt. Hikarujo and Omachi Park should be in full bloom. On the 18th, Iiyama Castle Park’s trees should reach full bloom.

    -Blair

  35. Hi Kenneth,

    On April 14th you should still be able to see cherry blossoms at Komoro Castle, but the 15th will probably be too late for Garyu Park. Garyu Park reached full bloom on Saturday, and its trees usually begin to lose their petals around five days after full bloom (this year around the 13th). By the 15th, not many will be left.

    Cherry blossoms in Omachi on the 16th should be at their peak (at Omachi Park).

    As for Achi Village’s peach blossoms, the ones around Hirugami Onsen should be in bloom around the 17th. The peach blossoms around Tsukikawa will also probably be in bloom, but the festival doesn’t begin until the following day (April 18th). To see the Tsukikawa peach blossoms, you’ll have to arrange your own transportation to the park (taxi or hotel shuttle).

    I hope that answers your question.

    -Blair

  36. Blair,

    We will be in Yamanouchi on the 19 April to see the Snow Monkeys. Are there any Cherry Blossoms in close proximity. Alternatively, we will be in Matsumoto on 20 April. Will there be any still blooming by the time we arrive?

    We are travelling by train.

    Originally the forecast for Matsumoto was best viewing to 18 April, which would have been pretty close.

    Thanks
    Bruce

  37. Hello from Argentina!
    We are planning on visit Nagano on SUNDAY 15TH APRIL. Can you please let me know the best places to see cherry blossom? Thanks very much in advance!!!
    silvina

  38. Hi Blair

    Our original plan was to see cherry blossom on Takada Park & Takato Castle but read that it’s too late

    14 to 19 April where do u recommend to see cherry blossom?

    Is Garyu Park still good to see on 14 April ?

    We are using JR East Pass Nagano Niigata thanks!

  39. Hi Bruce,

    It looks like many of Yamanouchi’s cherry blossoms will be nearing their end by the 19th, but I believe that the cherry blossoms at Kanbayashi Onsen (by the Snow Monkey Park trailhead) should be in bloom when you arrive.

    While not easily accessible from Yamanouchi, Iiyama’s cherry blossoms should also be in bloom then. I recommend visiting Iiyama Castle Park. It can be reached by taking the JR Iiyama line from Nagano Station to Kita-Iiyama Station, and is a five-minute walk from there.

    I hope that helps!

    -Blair

  40. Hi Silvina,

    For the 15th, my recommendations are Mt. Hikarujo in Azumino City, Omachi Park in Omachi City, and Kozenji Temple in Komagane City. I hope that helps!

    -Blair

  41. Hi Kbue,

    The 14th may be too late for Garyu Park. The weather has been colder recently, so the cherry blossoms may hold a little longer than expected, but I can’t be sure.

    My recommendations for the 14th-15th are Mt. Hikarujo in Azumino City, Omachi Park in Omachi City, and Kozenji Temple in Komagane City. Around the 18th, Iiyama Castle Park in Iiyama City should be in full bloom as well.

    -Blair

  42. Hi Blair, when click on above link, error for Kozenji Temple & iiyama castle park. could u pls resend the link, thanks!

    13 Apr
    we travel from naritta airport directly with 1 smaller luggage (big one plan to send from airport to hotel in Tokyo), we stay a nite in hotel near Nagano station.
    So where should we start to go around see at least 1 place for cherry blossom ?

    14 Apr stay in Kami-suwa

    15 Apr plan to visit Narai
    then on way back to Tokyo maybe drop by somewhere (along the same route) dinner before head back Tokyo, where do u recommend to drop by before Tokyo?

    16 Apr – 19 Apr stay in Tokyo but I will be travelling alone around using JR East Pass, so 17 or 18 or 19 Apr I can head to iiyama castle.

  43. Hi Blair

    Am a bit confused on below to go to kozenji temple:

    Take the Komagatake Ropeway Bus and get off at Kiriishi Koen Shita stop, then walk 5 minutes. Buses run to the temple once every hour from 8:00 to 15:00, and once every hour back from 9:12 to 16:12. More buses are added after April 18th.

    From the ropeway bus time table didn’t see kiriishi Koen Shita stop? Thanks

  44. Good morning Brian!
    We are arriving to Tokyo on Saturday 14th and and would love to see full blum cherry blossom on SUNDAY 15. We have the JR pass. Where do you recommend we can go that is not that far? Thank you once again!!!
    silvina

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