With summer quickly approaching, colorful flowers will soon be carpeting Nagano’s fields and hillsides. Cherry blossoms disappeared in a flash this year, and Iiyama’s Nanohana flowers come almost a week earlier than expected, but there are still plenty of other flowers to enjoy in the coming months.
Around Nagano’s ski resorts and historic sites, you can see wisteria, lavender, lilies and more. In the mountains, beautiful alpine flowers bloom throughout the summer season. Among myriad beautiful gardens and landscapes, we’ve chosen some of the most picturesque, accessible locations below. Read the rest of this entry »
The flowers grow high enough to make a veritable maze of yellow.
As the cherry blossoms fade away, other flowers take the spotlight around Nagano. In Iiyama, nanohana blossoms cover the fields along the Chikuma River, turning everything a sunny yellow.
The annual Nanohana Festival is held during the latter part of Golden Week, this year from May 3rd to 5th, during which there are musical and dance performances and plenty of activities to enjoy. It all takes place at the Nanohana Park in Iiyama City on the far side of the Chikuma River. The park is located on a small hill and has great views of the surrounding countryside. The Sekida mountains were mostly bare of snow this year, but as the clouds cleared we could see the brilliant white visage of Mt. Myoko in the distance. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
Weeping cherry trees line the moat of Ueda Castle.
Mid April is peak cherry blossom season in Nagano. Hillsides, parks, and city streets are covered in beautiful pink and red flowers, and locals spend their evenings and weekends flower-viewing and enjoying food and sake. Whether you agree with the Japanese saying “hana yori dango (sweet dumplings over flowers),” or want nothing else but to stare at cherry blossoms all day, feast your eyes and stomach during a spring day in Ueda.
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.)