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Matsumoto: Full Bloom

Sakura in full bloom around Matsumoto Castle with the Japanese North Alps in the distance

After a strong rainstorm deluged much of the country yesterday, today our team is reporting from locations all over Japan to get the latest post-storm conditions of the . The prolonged rain and wind yesterday was enough to bring down petals from blossoms that had been in full bloom on trees in many of Japan's . Fortunately, however, plenty of blossoms still remain on the trees even in rain-affected areas, and many spots are still at their best viewing time despite the bad weather.

For those hoping to enjoy some in western and central Japan, this weekend should turn out to be a great chance to catch some of the blossoms while they're still near-peak in many places. For detailed conditions across Japan, check out our cherry blossom forecast.

With more southerly regions reaching the end of their peak soon, today I headed a bit further north where many spots are just starting to hit full bloom. One such spot is the city of Matsumoto, located in Nagano Prefecture, my destination for the day. The blossoms here just reached their peak a few days ago, and to my delight, were largely uneffected by the rain. I hit a few of the city's best sakura spots today to find out more.

Koboyama Park: Full Bloom

My first stop today was to the Koboyama kofun located a couple kilometers south of Matsumoto's city center. Kofun, ancient hill-sized burial mounds, can be found all over Japan (often right in the middle of cities, like this one), and many serve as public parks today. The Koboyama Kofun here in Matsumoto is one such park that is now home to nearly 2000 cherry trees that literally cover the hill. Today, all those cherry blossoms were in full bloom, making for an absolutely incredible sight, as well as a fantastic place to stroll through the forest of sakura and take in the views of Matsumoto and the majestic Japanese Northern Alps.

Koboyama Kofun, like a giant sakura igloo
The blossoms here were all at full bloom today despite yesterday's rain
Nearly 2000 cherry trees in full bloom: worth the short hike up the hill
Fantastic view of the city and the Japanese North Alps from the top
Taking in the view
Wall of sakura
I could've spent all day here
Like thousands of popsicles fresh out of the fridge
White Somei Yoshino mingling with pink yae shidare zakura
The still-snowy North Japanese Alps crowning the landscape

Matsumoto Castle: Full Bloom

After exploring the cherry tree-covered kofun, I rode my rental bicycle (a highly recommended way to get around the city) to my second stop for the day, the iconic . Today, the weather was pleasant, and the castle grounds were filled with visitors enjoying the cherry blossoms all still well-intact and at full bloom. As the forecast looks relatively mild for the next several days, the sakura should remain at their peak into early next week here.

Plenty of visitors enjoying the sakura at their peak at Matsumoto Castle
Matsumoto Castle looking dignified
The cherry blossoms were fantastic today around the north moat
They survived! Still at full bloom and looking great
Great day for a hanami party
Also there were bunnies
Great day for a bunami party
Children enjoying their own hanami party under the blossoms
The weather yesterday did claim a small number of petals here, though most of these were from early-blooming trees already past their peak
This weekend should make a great time to visit Matsumoto!