Raina's Japan Travel Journal
by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report

Cherry trees beside Matsumoto Castle

Today, I visited Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture. The cherry trees at Matsumoto Castle and Koboyama were in full bloom. With the weather forecast to be warm and sunny for the next few days, I expect the blossoms at both places to remain at their peak, up to this weekend. For those who missed the cherry blossom season in Tokyo, Matsumoto is only 2.5 hours away by JR limited express train.

When I at Matsumoto Station, the first thing I heard was the station name being announced. While that is common, a given really, it was funny to hear the female voice recording sing the station name. After being so used to hearing the serious tones of train station staff, it was refreshing to hear the recording sing, 'Matsumotoooo, Matsumotoooo, Matsumoto desu'.

Elsewhere in Japan, Sendai reached full bloom status on April 11, and Scott was there today to report on the state of the blossoms. Head here to read his latest report in Sendai.

Matsumoto Castle
April 16, 2014 - full bloom

Matsumoto Castle, also known as the Crow Castle, was very pretty. The castle is about a 10 minute walk away from Matsumoto Station and is open to visitors from 08:30 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30) and costs 610 yen to enter. There are about 300 cherry trees planted in the castle park and its immediate surroundings. I have heard that the castle is very beautiful at night especially during the cherry blossom season. There is a special light up in the evenings until April 19, from 17:30 to 21:00. The interior of the castle keep is not accessible during the light up, but the grounds are free to enter.

View of the moat and the park from Matsumoto Castle
Flowers at full bloom
View of the castle from across the moat

The stairs within the castle keep were quite steep, especially towards the higher floors. I wouldn't recommend wearing a short skirt or shorts. There were interesting artifacts located on a couple of floors in the castle. When I was in there, I saw English speaking volunteer guides who were introducing the castle to a group of tourists. My favorite part of the castle was the moon viewing room. It was wide with open windows and i could see the moat and the cherry trees in the courtyard at a glance. Outside of the castle, I saw lots of school children on an excursion and local tour groups visiting the castle and enjoying the cherry blossoms at full bloom. It was really cute to see the older children carrying the younger kids to get them closer to the blossoms.

Castle park's cherry trees at full bloom
School children on an excursion
More blossoms
Can't have too many pictures of Matsumoto Castle
I couldn't help smiling at this scene

Koboyama Park
April 16, 2014 - full bloom

Koboyama Park is about a 15 minute bus ride away from Matsumoto city. I felt that it was an easy and close enough side trip, during the cherry blossom season, from Matsumoto city. Note that the buses there and back aren't very frequent, so you'll have to do a little bit of planning. The information center in Matsumoto Station was very helpful and gave me a copy of the bus timetable so I could plan for my trip back.

The main draw for Koboyama Park is the approximately 2000 cherry trees of different varieties, grown on the slopes of the mountain. The top of the mountain (which is easily reached in 5 minutes) is completely devoid of trees, giving us a great view of the city beneath the cherry trees. The graduation of colors was also beautiful, from white to pink, especially now when the cherry blossoms are mostly at full bloom. There is a designated path towards the top of the mountain, as well as several walking trails around the mountain. These trails let you walk amongst the cherry trees, and also see the cherry trees from above. As I mentioned earlier, with the good weather forecast, I expect the views to last till at least this weekend.

View of the surroundings from the top of Koboyama
Cherry tree at full bloom
Dogs want to view cherry blossoms too
The path up to the top of Koboyama
Undulate top
Natural cherry blossom curtain for private cherry blossom viewing picnics
The pink oval behind is Koboyama and its 2000 cherry trees

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List of Posts:
2019/12/03 - Shopping at Shibuya Fukuras and Parco
2019/10/23 - 46th Tokyo Motor Show
2019/03/20 - Moominvalley Park opens near Tokyo
2018/12/31 - 2018 Travel Highlights
2018/10/25 - Business as usual at Tsukiji Outer Market
2018/08/19 - Hello Kitty Shinkansen
2018/05/16 - Cruising Tokyo's waterways
2018/04/17 - Wisteria blossoms in Ashikaga Flower Park
2018/01/18 - Shinanomachi, the Backcountry of Nagano

2017/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2017
2017/10/25 - The 45th Tokyo Motor Show
2017/10/11 - Dipping into the three onsen towns of Yamanaka, Yamashiro and Katayamazu
2017/07/24 - Remote Riches in Toyama
2017/07/03 - Spiritual Chichibu
2017/05/02 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2017/04/14 - Sneak Peek from Ginza Six
2017/03/21 - A bit of everything in Fukui
2017/03/13 - Nikko Toshogu Uncovered
2017/02/15 - Subculture in Ikebukuro
2017/02/07 - Travel to the Goto Islands
2017/02/06 - Nagasaki Lantern Festival

2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/12/19 - Winter Illuminations in Tokyo
2016/10/24 - The way of old on the Kunisaki Peninsula
2016/10/11 - Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu
2016/08/27 - Fool's Dance at Koenji Awa Odori
2016/08/16 - The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
2016/06/20 - Train travel into the Ise-Shima region
2016/04/03 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2016/03/08 - The hunt for Namahage on the Oga Peninsula
2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria
2016/02/20 - Tokyo Plum Blossom Report
2016/01/26 - Tour de Reinan: Obama, Oi and Takahama
2016/01/25 - Tour de Reinan: Tsuruga, Mihama and Wakasa

2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/10 - 48 hours in Tokushima
2015/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Kankakei
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2015/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/09 - Autumn Color Report: Koyasan
2015/11/08 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2015/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Dazaifu
2015/10/28 - The 44th Tokyo Motor Show
2015/10/21 - Hirado, where East meets West
2015/10/20 - Kujukushima Islands and Winter Illumination at Huis Ten Bosch
2015/10/19 - Navigating the Christian sites in Nagasaki
2015/10/18 - Cosplay at Haco Stadium Tokyo
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2015/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2015/09/16 - Nakanojo Biennale 2015
2015/08/19 - Traditional culture and hot springs of the Aizu Region
2015/08/17 - Nature and Hot Springs at Naruko Onsen
2015/08/04 - Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2015
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Sendai
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Tokyo
2014/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa
2014/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2014/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2014/10/01 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2014/09/29 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/06/19 - Toranomon Hills opens in Tokyo
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu-Wakamatsu Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/04 - Early Tokyo Blossom Report