Matsumoto Castle sakura viewing wasn’t something I expected to do last Spring. Actually I thought I had planned my two week Spring trip to sakura forecast perfection. HAHAHHAA I WAS WRONG!
Sakura are gorgeous super fickle flowers. Forecasts change quickly and even if you wait until a month before to book your travel plans, the predictions can STILL BE off. Six days before I was set to leave for Japan the sakura flood came scrolling across my instagram and twitter and all I could do was sit there and glare. DAMN YOU SAKURA! But that’s one of the big things about sakura planning. You just have to be flexible.
The full pink of sakura season. The pinkness happens at the end of the main variety of sakura blooming.
Matsumoto Castle is one of those great flexible locations. It’s in Nagano prefecture but a very easy day trip from Tokyo (2 1/2 hours by train). Since it’s further up to the north, Matsumoto Castle (松本城 Matsumoto-jo) sakura bloom later than Tokyo. It’s a popular sakura location for Japanese and the castle appeared ready to with lots of volunteers for their “mankai” or full bloom season. Spring is the most popular time to visit and with good reason!
Matsumoto Castle is known as Crow Castle because of its black exterior. I think its dark look really sets off sakura well.
Matsumoto Castle in its full glory. Along with Matsumoto City’s mascot Alp-chan (アルプちゃん) dressed in samurai armor. For the sakura season there was also a roaming guy dressed in samurai armor that you could take photos with (top right).
Anything x sakura or red maple is my WA OTP so when I’m able to get blossoms x castle… so much bonus!
The castle peaking out from behind the sakura.
There were a few weeping sakura. Weeping sakura bloom later than regular sakura. They’re very plentiful in Kyoto but not so much around Matsumoto castle.
I usually don’t take many pictures inside of castles because they’re essentially darkened old buildings that house museum examples and mainly great for their exterior and for having wonderful views when you get to the top. I am so amused by old art though.
Climbing the castle was definitely worth it for this view. The moutains in the back are part of the Japanese Alps.
Inside the castle looking out to the grounds and city of Matsumoto.
Mankai or full bloom in all its glory. Matsumoto Castle sakura gave me hope I’d see more sakura that trip.
Reasons I’m not on this blog, top being – I cannot pose, I am more like a bakery possum than a human, and I make stupid faces. But damn it’s the only photo I got of the full glory of the line of sakura trees leading up to the castle. Check out that lovely pink sakura rain.
All I did was resize this photo because I wanted to show how some of the sakura very beautifully pink that day.
I love when sakura fall because they their whole blossom tends to fall.
We snuck in for the last full blossom day of Matsumoto’s sakura season. It was an overcast day and storms were brewing to rain the next day and take down the fragile blossoms.
How to get there: From Shinjuku take the Super Azuza (スーパーあずさ) limited express to Matsumoto station. There is reserved and unreserved seating which you can sort out at Shinjuku station. It’s free if you have JR Rail Pass or it’s 8,000 yen round-trip for unreserved. It’s a 15 minute walk to the castle from the station.
More information at: myoko-nagano
And to think this is just the sakura opener for the blog. So many more sakura posts to do. And many Nagano posts to do, too!
If you missed any previous sakura posts on the Doll check them out here I’ve got a fourth in a series of sakura foods posts coming up too.