The reason Ried and I went to Japan specifically in April was to see cherry blossoms. Unfortunately, you can’t really predict the exact blooming of the blossoms and this year was an early year for it. When we got to Tokyo I was a bit disappointed to see that we had missed the cherry blossoms at their fullest. Most of our trip involved being south of Tokyo so I figured I had completely missed my chance. Our only trip north of Tokyo was to Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park. We had to travel through Nagano to get to and from this destination. On the way to the Snow Monkey Park we didn’t have much time in Nagano, but our departure times gave us a few hours to kill there and, lucky for us, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom!
We walked from the train station to Zenkoji Temple and spent our time exploring the grounds around the temple. The cherry blossoms were beautiful and there were lots of people out taking pictures. There were also a lot of wedding pictures being taken and people in traditional Japanese clothing which made for some good people watching.
Nagano hosted the 1998 winter Olympics so of course we had to visit the torch!
Overall, our time spent in Nagano was really enjoyable and I would recommend visiting the temple grounds and the streets around the temple. It’s definitely worth leaving the train station if you get the chance! It’s a nice environment and a great place to go for cherry blossom viewing!