Cherry Blossoms Season at Takato Castle Park
Takato Castle Ruins Park is reputedly one of the three best locations to see cherry blossums in Japan, along with hirosaki castle and Yoshinoyama. The park is located on a hill in Ina City of Nagano Prefecture, about 60 kilometers south of Matsumoto. About 1500 cherry trees of the pinkish Kohigan variety stand across the park’s compound, providing great cherry blossom views each spring.
A cherry blossom festival is held annually, usually for the whole month of April, during which many festival stalls are set up around the park. During the peak viewing period, typically from mid to late April, illuminations are held every night from sunset to 22:00.
Takato Castle Park
Nowadays, there is not much left of the original Takato Castle barring some stone foundations, and the few structures seen in the park’s precincts are additions of the post feudal era. Standing close to the north gate is Takatokaku, the biggest building in the park, built in the 1930s as a community center.
The two-story building is of Showa Period (1926-1989) architecture, showing both local and western influences with a wooden foundation and a red tiled roof. It now serves as space for locals to gather and travelers to take a break. In the center of the park is Ounkyo, a gently curved bridge that is famous as one of the best cherry blossom spots within the park. Taikoyagura, a uniquely shaped drum tower, is situated on the western side of the park.
Looking west from around the drum tower, visitors can catch fine views of the town below the hill and the Central Alps in the distance. Over at the southern end of the park is the Shinshu Takato Art Museum, which hosts temporary exhibitions of varying artforms. In addition, several stone monuments are erected around the park, commemorating popular local characters or memorable poems.
Address: Takatomachi Higashitakato, Ina, Nagano 396-0213, Japan
8:00 to 17:00 (during cherry blossom season, typically all of April)
6:00 to 22:00 (peak cherry blossom period in April with illuminations)
Outside of the cherry blossom festival, the castle park is open 24 hours
Ease of Access
By Train:25 min bus ride from Inashi City Station (JR Iida Line)
and then 15 min on foot
By Car:12 km / 30 min from Ina IC
31 km / 50 min from Suwa IC
Price/ Entrance Fees
500 Yen entrance fee during cherry blossum season
Free entrance out side of the season
Travel information: https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6065.html#section_get_there