Takato Castle Park in the spring
Takato Castle Park in the autumn

Takato Castle Park lies on the remains of Takato Castle in the city of Ina of Nagano prefecture. The park is famous for the cherry blossoms in the spring and the colored leaves in autumn.

The cherry blossoms are so stunning, that they are even nicknamed “the country’s very first cherry blossoms”. Don’t miss the cherry blossom and the fall foliage at Takato Castle Park!

History of Takato Castle Park

Here is a brief history of Takato Castle Park.

Takato Castle

Takato Castle was built sometime in the Warring Period, between the 15th and 16th century. It was a prominent castle during the time, and was originally owned by the Takato clan, but in 1545, the Takeda clan took over the castle.

In 1582, the Oda family, a strong samurai family, took over Takato Castle. The owner of the castle at the time, Nishina Morinobu, was killed in the battle.

Takato Castle as a park

In 1871, during the Meiji Period, the Takato Castle was taken down as a part of the westernization and modernization plan that Japan was going through.

The area was left bare, and a former Takato clan samurai decided to plant cherry blossoms in the area to liven it up. The park was established in 1875.

In 1936, the Takato Pavilion was established in the park as an assembly hall. In 1960, the cherry blossom trees in the park were designated as a prefectural natural monument, and today the park is one of the Nagano’s most famous cherry blossom viewing spots.

Takato Castle Park in the spring

Takato kohigan sakura cherry blossoms, unique to Takato Castle Park

The cherry blossoms at Takato Castle Park are called takato kohigan sakura, and can only be found here. There are over 1,500 of these cherry blossom trees throughout the park.

The flowers of the takato kohigan sakura are a dark pink. The petals are a bit smaller than the average cherry blossom flower.

The cherry blossoms are its peak between the beginning of April and mid-April. There are some spots in the park that are perfect for cherry blossom viewing.

Ounkyo Bridge

Ounkyo Bridge

Ounkyo Bridge locates in the central area of the park. Right over the bridge is a “tunnel” made of cherry blossoms, and this spot is super photogenic.

Looking at the bridge from the other side of the pond is also recommended. The pond reflects the cherry blossoms and the bridge and is absolutely beautiful.

Hakutobashi Bridge

The view from Hakutobashi Bridge

You can find Hakutobashi Bridge in the park’s southern area. From the bridge, you can see the Central Alps behind the cherry blossoms.

Hakusan Kannon

The view from Hakusan Kannon

Hakusan Kannon locates on Mount Goroyama, outside of Takato Castle Park. From there, you can get a magnificent aerial view of the entire park and the cherry blossoms there. Hakusan Kannon is about a 30-minute walk from the park.

This is a rare viewing area where you can see cherry blossoms from above. The cherry blossoms resemble a pink, fluffy cloud.

Takato Castle Park in the autumn

Ounkyo Bridge during autumn

Autumn, too, is a wonderful season to visit Takato Castle Park. Between late October and mid November, over 250 maple trees transform into beautiful shades of reds and oranges.

During the fall foliage, the Takato Castle Park Momiji (Maple) Festival is held. During the festival, special events such as the fall foliage light up and a chrysanthemum exhibit are held.

Takato Shin-soba Festival

Takato Soba

During the Momoji Festival, the Takato Shin-soba Festival is also held. It is held at the Takato Pavilion, and here, you can taste the Takato Soba, a buckwheat noodle dish dating back to the Edo Period (1603 – 1867).

The soup in Takato Soba is seasoned with spicy radish and cooked miso paste. The flavor is unique and different from the typical soba noodle soup.


Nearest station: Takato-eki Bus Stop

From Nagano Station

【Nagano Sta.】JR Shinonoi Line / for Matsumoto
→【Matsumoto Sta.】JR Azusa Limited Express / for Shinjuku
→【Okaya Sta.】JR Iida Line / for Iida
→【Inashi Sta.】JR Bus / for Takato Sakura-no-yu
→【Takato-eki Bus Stop】→ about a 15-minute walk

From Shinjuku Station

【Shinjuku Sta.】JR Azusa Limited Express / for Matsumoto
→【Okaya Sta.】JR Iida Line / for Iida
→【Inashi Sta.】JR Bus / for Takato Sakura-no-yu
→【Takato-eki Bus Stop】→ about a 15-minute walk

Don’t miss the light-ups!

During the evenings of the cherry blossom and fall foliage seasons, the park hosts a special light-up event.

There is even a projection mapping show featuring the beautiful seasonal sights, which gives off a completely different feeling from the sights during the day.


Takatomachi Higashitakato, Ina-shi, Nagano 
Open all day
Open year-round
*Fees only during the Sakura Festival
Adults: ¥500
15 years old and below: ¥250