Last week at the height of cherry blossom season, we headed down to Azumino to enjoy some early spring rafting! The combination of fast currents, snow-capped mountains, and blooming cherry trees are perfect for an exciting and scenic day on the water. Read the rest of this entry »
Our guide Uchino-san points out distant blue mountains.
On Saturday we set out for a tour of Kirigamine Kogen, one of Nagano’s central highland areas connected by the Venus Line. The name Kirigamine means “the misty peak,” because the warm airs of Suwa regularly rise up here and condense into fog. On clear days, however, you can enjoy an amazing view from the top of Kurumayama, the tallest point of the Kirigamine area.
Cherry blossoms aren’t the only thing to see in Nagano, whose wide variety of climate and terrain is suitable for all sorts of beautiful flowers and plants. During Spring, fields bloom in dazzling shades of yellow, red, pink and purple as the white-capped Japanese Alps stand majestically in the distance. It’s a great time to visit Nagano’s sightseeing spots and enjoy its natural beauty.
Below are some of Nagano’s best and most beautiful orchards and gardens to visit during the Spring months. See some of Japan’s largest apricot orchards, azalea parks and more!
(This was originally posted in 2016, but dates and timetables have been updated for the 2017 season.)
Cherry blossoms and snow make a beautiful pair.
Spring is on its way and that means it’s time to break out those blue tarps, make some rice balls and drink plenty of local beer and sake. It’s cherry blossom viewing time! There are a lot of beautiful spots to enjoy them here in Nagano prefecture, where the mountains add a beautiful touch of white to the spring scenery. Who knew you could see sakura and snow at the same time?
Chikuma City’s Mori neighborhood is known as Japan’s largest producer apricots. While the fruit’s season isn’t until the end of June, the valley attracts photographers from all over Japan in early to mid-April for the apricot blossoms. And right now, the trees are in full bloom!
(Photo courtesy of Kiyotaki-san)
Last year, the Emperor and Empress of Japan even came to see Mori’s famous blossoms. This year, the weather is cooperating with clear blue skies so in addition to the beautiful apricot blossoms, Togakushi, Takatsuma and other snow-covered mountains along the Nagano – Niigata border are providing a picturesque backdrop.
The 2014 Apricot Blossom Festival will continue until April 18th. (Access by train from Yashiro Station on the Shinano Railway.)
In early April spring returns to Nagano as the snow finally melts away. Come see nearly 600 plum trees in blossom during the festival and fragrance fills the air as people gather to enjoy the relaxing Shinshu spring.
The main Spring event for our onsen town Togura-Kamiyamada and the greater Chikuma City area is the Mori “Apricot Village” Apricot Blossom Festival. The dates for the 2013 edition have been announced as follows:
58th Annual Mori Apricot Blossom Festival April 6th-21st 2013.
Anzu-no-Sato Sketch Park Light Up will be April 12th-14th from 6-9pm.
Mori "Apricot Village" Apricot Blossom Festival Map for 2013
And, a bit of big news: Japan’s Emperor is reportedly planning on coming to see the blossoms this year. Actual date will depend on the timing of the blossoms. As soon as information is released, we will announce it here on the blog.
So if you’ve been thinking about coming to see Mori’s apricot blossoms, perhaps this is the year to do it — with no less than the Emperor of Japan coming!
Soft pink apricot blossoms in Mori (Scheduled to Bloom Starting April 6th for 2013)
Mori Apricot Village is 12km from our onsen town Togura-Kamiyamada, approx. 25 minutes by car. Train access is via Yashiro Station on the Shinano Railway line.
“Hanamomo Kaido(road)” is well-known for its beautiful “hanamomo” or ornamental peach blossoms. In the southern part of Nagano prefecture, ranging from Iida city in Ina valley to Nagiso village in Kiso valley, there are thousands of well-cared hanamomo trees.
They are usually at their best from April through early May, almost for a month. This year, because of the unseasonal cold weather in April, the best season started late April.
Hanamomo peach in Hirugami onsen-kyo
The photo above is taken in Hirugami onsen-kyo. It is a relatively new hot spa resort, the source of its hot water happened to be discovered in the trial boring to construct a national railroad through a huge mountain in 1973.
It would be fun if you spend some time on the riverbed of the Achi-gawa.
people enjoying themselves by the Achi (Achi-gawa)
The following is the hanamomo peach blossoms in area named Tsukikawa. You will be greeted by blossoms in crimson, pure white, rose pink , and most impressively, white blossoms tinged with pink. There are several paths lined with two thousand hanamomo trees in total, on which you can walk comfortably.