Nothing but Flowers in Spring

During April and May, Nagano is covered in colorful flowers. See fields of yellow nanohana, red hanamomo, pink apricot blossoms and more!

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!

Flowers to See in Nagano

Apricot Flowers at Anzu no Sato
Nanohana Flowers in Iiyama
Cherry Blossoms and More in Obuse
Colorful Azalea in Okaya
Purple Rhododendron in Kiso
Plum Blossoms in Ina
Red and Pink Hanamomo in Hirugami

Anzu no Sato, Apricot Village

© The Chikuma City Tourism Association

Chikuma city’s Anzu no Sato is one of the largest apricot-growing areas in Japan, producing upwards of 660 tons of fruit a year. During early April, the apricot trees bloom with light-pink flowers as far as the eye can see. In Japanese, this spectacular view is called “Hitome Jumanbon,” or “One Look, One-hundred-thousand Branches.” Recently, even the Emperor and Empress of Japan have visited to see this one-of-a-kind orchard.

Towards the end of June and into mid-July, the trees bear fruit and you can pick apricots here.

When to See

Early to mid-April

While you’re Here

Make a stop in Togura Kamiyamada Onsen for hot springs, great food and a chance to see a geisha show.

Access

From Nagano station, take the Shinonoi line train to Yashiro station. From there, it’s a 20-minute walk to the park.

During the Apricot festival, a temporary bus runs from Yashiro station every 30 to 40 minutes. Get off at the “Tenbodai” stop for the best view.

Iiyama’s Nanohana Fields

© The Iiyama City Tourism Association

The fields of Northern Nagano come alive with cheery nanohana flowers during early May. From Iiyama City’s Nanohana Park, you can see sprawling fields of these yellow flowers along the Chikuma River with the snow-capped Sekida mountains looming in the background. 

During Golden Week when the Iiyama Nanohana Festival is held, the park is especially lively with many musical performances, food stalls, and other events.

When to See

Late April to early May

While you’re Here

Access

From Iiyama station, take the Nagano Dentetsu Nozawa line bus and get off at the “Yu no Iriso Iriguchi” stop (between the Nakamura and Sekisawa stops). 

You can also rent a bicycle from the Shin’etsu Shizenkyo Activity Center and cycle to the park in 30 minutes. The roads are relatively flat and scenic, and along the way you can stop at the Hana-no-eki Chikumagawa roadside station for a break and a bite to eat.

Cherry Blossoms and Nanhonana at Obuse Chikuma Riverside Park

Rows of cherry trees line the embankment along the Chikuma River.

The Chikuma Riverside park is filled with beautiful, bright-yellow Nanohana flowers and over 500 cherry and peach blossom trees. During full bloom, enjoy delicate sakura, vibrant pink hanamomo and cheery nanohana flowers together while relaxing under a calm blue sky.

Bright nanohana and colorful Koinobori flags

When to See

Late April to mid-May

While you’re here

The nearby town of Obuse has plenty of other attractions to whittle away the day, including museums featuring the famous artist Katsushika Hokusai (creator of “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”), stone-paved streets lined with traditional Japanese buildings, and numerous chic cafes and restaurants. See this digital pamphlet for more information.

Access

From Nagano station, take the Nagano Dentetsu train line to Obuse station and walk 25 minutes to your destination.

Tsurumine Park Azalae Festival in Okaya City

© The Okaya City Tourism Association

This park in Okaya city is Central Japan’s No. 1 Azalea sightseeing spot with an incredible number of 30,000 flowering azalea bushes. There are over 30 varieties ranging in colors from subdued reds and purples to bright pinks and blues. The vibrant, well-manicured bushes echo the whimsical landscapes of Dr. Seuss.

How did this small city in Nagano come to have so many azaleas, you ask? The story goes that many years ago, the park tried to purchase a paltry 300 azaleas.The nursery in Saitama made a mistake and ended up sending three full freight trucks instead. With no option to return them, villagers had no choice but to plant all of them in the park.

When to See

Mid to Late May

While you’re Here

Access

From Nagano station, take the Wide view Shinano train to Shiojiri station and change to the JR Chuo line (towards Tokyo). Get off at Okaya station (about 75 min.). From Shinjuku, take the Limited Express Azusa train to Okaya station (158 min.).

The park is 5 minutes from the station by taxi.

Rhododendron Festival in Tenbaku Park, Nagiso Town

This small park comes to live with purple rhododendron in mid-April.

Just a 10-minute walk from Nagiso station is a garden of several hundred pink flowering rhododendron. They only bloom for a short time in mid-April, during which tea shops and stalls sell Kiso specialty snacks and souvenirs. A memorial hall dedicated to the “King of Electricity,” Momosuke Fukusawa, can be found in the park, as well as an elegant suspension bridge in his name.

When to See

Mid-April

While you’re Here

The Kiso Valley is famous for the Nakasendo trail, an Edo-period highway connecting Kyoto and Edo (now Toyko), and one of its most well-preserved post towns is nearby. There are many great walking trails and hikes in the area, and you’ll be sure to see plenty of other spring colors while you’re here as well.

Access

From Nagano Station, take the Wide View Shinano train line to Nagiso Station (110 minutes). Not all rapid trains stop at Nagiso, so you may have to change to the local line at Shiojiri or Kisofukushima stations.

Hanamomo Blossoms in Hirugami Onsen

Hanamomo peach blossoms bloom in vibrant red, white and pink.

Rows of bright pink and red peach blossom trees line a small, grassy path.
In early April, these peach blossoms burst forth in shades of red, white and pink and cover a vast area between the Kiso and Ina valleys. Route 256, the road that runs between them, is lined with several thousand peach blossom trees. You can enjoy these flowers as you drive on by, or spend the night in the nearby hot spring town, Hirugami Onsen.

When to See

Mid April to early May

While you’re Here

Access

From Nagano station, take the Wide View Shinano train line to Shiojiri station and change to the JR Chuo line for Tatsuno station. From there, take the JR Iida train line to Iida station (total 240 min.). To reach Hirugami Onsen, take a bus from JR Iida Station. From Nagoya station, a direct bus to Hirugami Onsen is available called the Hirugami Onsen liner.

From Hirugami Onsen, a bus runs to the Hanamomo park 3 times a day. Reserve a seat in advance through your local hotel (1,200 yen round-trip).

Plum Blossoms at Shinshu Ina Baien

Beautiful plum blossoms backed by views of the Japanese Alps

Shinshu Ina Baien is Japan’s number one plum orchard, home to over 7,000 plum trees in 38 different varieties. White and red plum blossoms bloom in early April, and weeping peach and cherry blossoms follow them around May. All the while, the park has panoramic views of the Central and Southern Japanese alps. In June, visitors can try picking their own plums here.

When to See

Early April to early May

While you’re Here

Access

Get off the JR Iida line train at Matsushima station. The park is 10 minutes by taxi.

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