Staff Reports
Sean's Japan Travel Journal
by Sean, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2014/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takato

Ounkyo Bridge

I made a trip to the Takato Castle Ruins Park in Nagano Prefecture this morning. Not much is left of the castle these days, but the park's claim to fame are the approximately 1500 Kohigan cherry trees planted across its compound. Each spring, these cherry trees form a lovely sea of pink and become quite a sight to behold, prompting many to proclaim the Takato Castle Ruins Park as one of the three best places to see cherry blossoms in Japan, along with Hirosaki Castle and Yoshinoyama.

Takato Castle Ruins Park
April 17, 2014 - full bloom

Today, the thousands of cherry trees at the site were at their very best, spotting full crowns with beautiful light pink blossoms. Many were at the park to enjoy the scenery, and the environment was enlivened by the calls of festival stall owners beckoning patrons. The popularity of this cherry blossom spot cannot be underestimated, and I was happy to have escaped the traffic jams by coming early.

For those intending to visit from Tokyo, you can take a limited express train from Shinjuku Station to Chino Station, followed by a bus to Takato Bus Station. From the bus station it is a 15 minute walk to the park. The entire one way journey takes between three to four hours and costs around 7000 yen. Visitors may also consider stopping over at the relatively nearby Matsumoto City, which is home to the famous Matsumoto Castle. It takes only 30 minutes by limited express trains or 60 minutes by local trains to get from Matsumoto to Chino Station, from where the bus trip to Takato takes about an hour.

During the cherry blossom festival which takes place till April 30, the Takato Castle Ruins Park is open from 8:00 to 17:00 (6:00 to 21:30 during the peak season, 500 yen). Illuminations are held from sunset to 22:00 every evening. It is a real pity that the next few days have been forecast to be slighly wet; let's hope for the sake of the blossoms and those intending to come that the wind would blow the dark clouds away. Nevertheless, I think views will be very pleasant here over the next three days or so.

By the way, the year's cherry blossom season is pretty much over in Tokyo - please visit this page if you wish to find out more about the situation of the sakura at other locations in Japan. With that, I leave you with a pictorial of some sights that I caught today:

Taiko Yagura (Drum Turret)
Kohigan cherries have slightly smaller blossoms than the mainstream Somei Yoshino blossoms
The overturned cart
Below Ounkyo Bridge
I had fun watching heads pop out from under the bridge
On the bridge
Nice blossoms
There were many festival stalls
Sakura ice-cream
Takato-yaki pottery on sale
A monument
School kids on excursion
North of the park is Shintokukan, the former feudal domain school
There were statues of Confucius and his disciples at Shintokukan
More festival stalls near the grand gate
Cherry trees at the sannomaru (third circle of defence)
Visitors arrived by the busloads
Kohigan cherries have a more pinkish tint than the Somei Yoshino
You can chose to have a picnic under the trees...
Or pay 200 yen for a resting place inside Takatokaku, a building located close to the northern gate of the park
In Takatokaku, there were also seats by the windows offering good views outside
The Shinshu Takato Art Museum hosts temporary exhibitions of varying artforms

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List of Posts:
2014/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2014/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumae
2014/04/23 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takato
2014/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2014/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hikone
2014/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsuyama
2014/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2014/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2014/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/03/06 - Shopping around Northern Osaka
2014/01/23 - Nikko in Winter

2013/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2013
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Mount Fuji Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/09/27 - Alpine Route Report
2013/09/13 - Nakanojo Biennale 2013
2013/08/07 - Exploring Tokyo 2: Around the Tokyo Imperial Palace
2013/05/20 - Tottori Sand Museum 2013
2013/05/07 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2013/05/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2013/05/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2013/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2013/04/23 - Northern Kanto Flower Report
2013/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takayama
2013/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumoto
2013/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2013/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2013/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Gunma
2013/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/31 - Visiting Shodoshima for the Setouchi Triennale 2013
2013/03/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/27 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2013/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/12 - Tokyo Early Cherry Blossom Report
2013/02/17 - Tokamachi Snow Festival
2013/02/16 - Zao Snow Monster Report
2013/02/15 - Yokote Kamakura Festival
2013/01/10 - Winter Visit to Manza Onsen
2013/01/02 - Tokyo New Year Report

2012/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2012
2012/12/11 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2012/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Takaosan
2012/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/15 - Autumn Color Report: Shosenkyo
2012/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2012/11/06 - Autumn Color Report: Naruko
2012/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Hiraizumi
2012/11/01 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2012/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Minakami
2012/10/24 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/16 - Autumn Color Report: Norikura
2012/10/12 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2012/10/09 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2012/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kurodake
2012/09/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kogen Onsen
2012/09/26 - Autumn Color Report: Asahidake
2012/09/17 - Exploring Tokyo: Gate Bridge
2012/08/20 - Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2012
2012/06/27 - Hiking at Mount Azuma
2012/06/18 - Legoland Discovery Center opens in Odaiba
2012/06/18 - Hydrangea Flowers in Kamakura
2012/06/04 - Tokyo Skytree
2012/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2012/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2012/05/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiraizumi
2012/04/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2012/04/24 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukushima
2012/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2012/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiroshima
2012/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2012/04/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2012/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2012/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2012/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2012/03/08 - Plum Blossom Report from Kairakuen, Mito
2012/03/07 - Trip to Iwaki, Fukushima
2012/02/21 - Plum Blossom Report from Tokyo
2012/01/30 - Skiing in Inawashiro, Fukushima
2012/01/27 - Kusatsu Hot Springs