Please suggest to me an itinerary for viewing Cherry Blossom in Nagano from April 13-15. Also tips for other places to visit nearby and things to do. Many thanks in advance for your suggestions.
We’ve just released a blog with details for this year’s cherry blossom forecast. Cherry blossoms in Garyu Koen, Matsumoto Castle, Ueda Castle, Komoro Castle, and Takato Castle Ruins should all be in bloom during your trip.
Garyu Koen is in Suzaka City, about 30 minutes outside of Nagano City on the Nagano Dentetsu line. You can see Zenkoji Temple in Nagano City, and take the Nagano Dentetsu train to places such as Yamanouchi (for the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park) and Obuse (for chestnut sweets, cafes, and the Hokusai Museum).
I visited Ueda Castle last year along with Bessho Onsen, a lovely little hot spring area with beautiful temples. It is a great time of year to visit the area, and you can see more details on this blog I wrote. Komoro Castle is also only 20 minutes away from Ueda by train.
For Matsumoto Castle, I recommend visiting the old castle town streets of Nakamachi and Nawatedori to enjoy cafes and traditional Japanese snacks like taiyaki cakes. The Matsumoto City Museum of Art is currently hosting a special exhibition of Kusama Yayoi’s works, so I also highly recommend visiting it during your stay. Finally, you can try making soba yourself at Soba Takagi near the castle.
Takato Castle Park is one of Japan’s top three cherry blossom spots. Nearby in Ina City you can try soba-making or strawberry-picking at Miharashi Farm. In Komagane City you can ride the Chuo Alps ropeway to Senjojiki Cirque, a plateau over 2,600 meters in altitude, to see the snow and amazing views of the Southern Alps.
I hope that helps answer your question!