When I think of my favorite Nagano cherry blossom spots, Matsumoto Castle always comes to mind. It is one of the top famous hanami spots in Central Japan; I really adore the atmospheric weather it offers in the spring. You would love it too, I bet you.

Perhaps that’s not only the best hanami spot you could discover, there are other notable cherry blossom viewing spots in Matsumoto city. You have to come to Matsumoto to see both sakura and the splendid Northern Japan Alps in the distance.

Matsumoto Castle, Nagano Prefecture. Photo Credit: かがみ~ at Flickr.

Matsumoto is one of those destinations in Japan that is worth returning for. It is packed with breathtaking nature, festivals, awe-inspiring landscapes, local cuisine, outdoor activities and so on. In fact, Matsumoto is an ideal place for winter hiking! However, spring here is very stunning.

You will reveal its incredible spring beauty in this post that features the 4 best places to view sakura in Matsumoto city. If you would like to experience the beauty of the Japanese Alps, put Matsumoto on your Japan travel bucket list.

1) Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle and Cherry Blossoms. Photo Credit: Yoshi Shimo at Flickr.

Matsumoto castle is a great and historic landmark of Japan. It is said to be one of the most impressive and original castles that attracts millions of tourists every year. What impresses me the most is the surrounding landscape it highlights throughout the year, though spring brings an exceptional and unforgettable outdoor view.

For example, you can experience the amazing views of the Northern Japan Alps from the castle grounds and that is truly breathtaking. The castle has approximately 300 cherry trees spread along the outer castle moat and in the castle’s park. During the peak viewing season, it becomes one of the most epic and beautiful places on earth!

Matsumoto Castle. Photo Credit: Wikimedia commons.

The castle ground is quite spacious with a lot of things to see and do. I especially like walking along the trails of the castle grounds and enjoy the cherry blossoms. Like most of the visitors, I also intend to experience the views from the top of the castle keep.

The views include the beautiful sakura, snowy Northern Japanese Alps, and nice views over the surrounding city. Climb the staircases carefully as they are very steep! So, if you ever visit the castle, don’t forget to experience it. If you are going to stay a night in Matsumoto, then you should witness the magical view of the castle at night as it is illuminated amazingly!

To get to this National treasure, you have to walk about 15 minute from Matsumoto Station. Finally, I have to tell you that just don’t get there to see cherry blossoms but experience everything it offers such as the history and the unique architectures!

2) Koboyama Park

Koboyama Park in spring. Photo Credit: SteFou! at Flickr.

Koboyama Koen/Park is another hugely popular cherry blossom viewing spot in Matsumoto city. In fact, the park itself is an ancient Kofun (tombs), located on a hill, and in many parts of Japan they have been used as parks. It is said that there are about 5,000 cherry trees of different varieties can be found.

The hill is packed with tons of beautiful cherry blossoms; you would not believe how incredible it is to experience a hanami spot like this from the top of the hill. I was stunned seeing the surrounding views from the hilltop. You can see the snowy Japanese Northern Alps (with good visibility), the valley, Matsumoto city and its suburbs.

Sakura and Japanese Northern Alps. Photo Credit: www.japan-guide.com.

I am able to hike year round on all types of trails and I do really enjoy it! If you have a passion like mine, Koboyama Park would be the best hanami spot for you.

To enjoy the cherry blossoms together with breathtaking surrounding views thoroughly, you have got to hike along the designated path towards the top of the hill, as well as several walking trains around the hill. If you are a nature fanatic, I bet that you would like to spend many hours there. You hardly could think of leaving it!

As I stood on the hilltop overlooking the city, I noticed a very wonderful mystic view of snow covered peaks of the higher mountains. It was absolutely a great view that everyone would love to experience.

Trust me on this, viewing sakura in the park and the epic landscape in the distance here will blow your mind and makes you think of visiting the place over and over again.

To tell you the truth, here it is amazing to have hanami picnic parties underneath the cherry trees! Please note that Koboyama Park is a 15-mintue bus ride south of Matsumoto Station.

3) Joyama Park

Awesome cherry blossoms! Photo Credit: SteFou! at Flickr.

Let’s head towards north of downtown Matsumoto! If you are looking for other places to see beautiful cherry blossom display and the surrounding epic landscapes, visit Joyama Park and admire its spring beauty.

Compared to the first two hanami spots I have featured here, this one is overshadowed by their popularity, no doubt about that.

But you can make a great escape just by taking a trip to this wonderful park, located on the grounds of a Shinto Shrine. It shares a large open space to take a stroll and see some stunning rows of sakura trees.

This hanami spot is a real hidden place to discover, especially for foreign tourists. Though you might have heard of this place from someone before! Don’t make it hidden anymore, discover it this spring, and enjoy the surrounding nature it has to offer you.

4) Alps Park

Sakura at Alps Park! Photo Credit: Solange Kubota & Cavera at Flickr.

If you would like to head towards further north, I could recommend another beautiful cherry blossom viewing spot, known as Alps Park! It is a fantastic place to walk around and enjoy the cherry blossom in the spring. In addition, the park is a famous place to view the Japanese Alps and anyone can enjoy the beauty of it during the daytime with good visibility.

If you are serious and wish to go to Alps Park to see the Japanese Alps, prefer visiting it on a beautiful day. Springtime is a great time to admire the sight and you would definitely have a lot of photo opportunities around the park.

When I was there, I have discovered that this was a perfect place for hanami picnicking. During peak season, there you will see many families visit the park with their children, and enjoy time doing fun outdoor activities. You can bring a nice binocular and this would help you enjoy the surrounding beautiful scenery.

There are only two daily buses operate from the train station to the park south entrance. Don’t miss the bus unless you want to reach there by a taxi!

A lot of tourists visit Nagano prefecture every year and most of them want to have a day trip to Matsumoto. Are you going to take a trip to this appealing city in spring? Check out the cherry blossom forecast here then. Always keep in mind that the best time to see sakura in Matsumoto is in mid April.

I don’t think I have met a single person who disliked Matsumoto’s hanami atmosphere! However, have you been to Matsumoto before? How was your trip?