| Bonnie Chow
Hida Furukawa Cherry Blossom Viewing and Festival
Do you have plans to go to Japan to enjoy cherry blossoms and experience traditional festivals? You'll love Hida Furukawa in April. The cherry blossom season in Hida Furukawa starts around mid-April and the Hida Furukawa Matsuri is held on April 19 and 20 every year. If you're lucky you can enjoy both cherry blossoms and the festival. It only takes about 15 minutes by train from Takayama to Hida Furukawa. Traveling to Hida Furukawa in April is highly recommended!
The recommended cherry blossom viewing routes in Hida Furukawa
You might have heard of Hida Furukawa because of the popular anime movie Your Name. However, many beautiful cherry blossom spots are within the city, and relatively fewer tourists compared to Takayama, so you can take your time taking photos and enjoying the Japanese atmosphere.
Recommended Cherry Blossom Viewing Courses in Hida Furukawa
Hida Furukawa Cherry Blossom Viewing Course a Seto River and Shirakabe Tozo Street
Furukawa Festival Plaza
Miyagawa River and Arakigawa River bathing beach
Okura Inari Shrine
The Setogawa River and Shirakabe Dozogai Street
It takes about a 5-minute walk from the station to the Setogawa River, the most popular spot in Hida Furukawa. The Setogawa River is known for its over 1,000 colorful carp swimming against the backdrop of white-walled storehouses and temple walls. This canal was created 400 years ago from the moat of Zuiryu-ji temple in Zaimokucho to create a new waterway. Townsfolk used to wash their vegetables in the Setogawa River, but it suffered severe pollution due to rapid economic growth. To prevent people from littering, the citizens of Hida Furukawa started releasing carp into the canal in 1968. Until now, you can see carp swimming in the canal from April to November each year. There is also a box nearby where tourists can buy carp feed for self-feeding, so next time you go to Hida Furukawa to see cherry blossoms, you can try feeding the carp!
Matsuri Hiroba (Festival Square)
Matsuri Hiroba is just a two-minute walk from the Setogawa River and where the main events of the Hida Furukawa Festival take place. During the cherry blossom season, taking a stroll here is a delightful experience where you can admire the weeping cherry trees and Yoshino cherry trees. Additionally, you can visit the Hida Furukawa Festival Hall while you're there. One highlight not to be missed at the Hida Furukawa Festival Hall is the 3D movie in the 4K cinema, where you can feel the dynamic energy of the Oki Taiko drumming during the festival.
Miya River and Arakawa River Bathing Areas
To reach the Miyagawa River from the Furukawa Festival Plaza, simply walk towards the river for two minutes. You can continue your walk alongside the river towards the Arakigawa River, both of which are adorned with beautiful cherry blossoms. Witnessing the pink cherry blossoms in full bloom against the backdrop of the clear blue sky is truly a sight to behold. In addition to walking, we highly recommend renting a bicycle for an even more enjoyable experience.
Located a 5-minute walk along the river from the Arakigawa River Bank is the 500-year-old Honkoji Temple, which is particularly beautiful during the cherry blossom season in spring. The main hall of Honkoji Temple is the largest wooden building in the Hida region and has a majestic presence. Every year on January 15, a three-temple pilgrimage event is held, and young men and women visit Honkoji Temple in traditional Japanese clothing to pray for good relationships.
Okura Inari Shrine
From Honkoji Temple, it takes an additional 8-minute walk to reach Okura Inari Shrine located next to the Kogawa Municipal Elementary School. It is situated on the ruins of a turret of the Masashima Castle. Although the shrine is not very large, it is worth a visit during the cherry blossom season when the bright pink Yoshino cherry blossoms and the red torii gates create a memorable scene.
Do you want to experience the magic of cherry blossoms at night? From Okura Inari Shrine, it's just a short walk back to Furukawa Station. From there, take a 5-minute train ride to Sugisaki Station, followed by a 5-minute walk to the locally acclaimed secret spot known as Gosho Sakura. During the day, you can marvel at the stunning cherry blossom tunnel and snap as many photos as you'd like. During two visits, I encountered only a handful of locals, so I highly recommend this spot for those seeking a serene setting to relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
The highlight of the Gosho Sakura is the night cherry blossoms. During the cherry blossom season, they are lit up every night after dark. The reflection of the cherry blossoms on the mirror-like rice paddies is truly breathtaking.
Apart from the springtime cherry blossom viewing, if you happen to be in Hida Furukawa on April 19 or 20, you can take the opportunity to enjoy the Hida Furukawa Festival, which is known as one of Japan's three great naked men festivals. After a long winter, every year on April 19 and 20, Hida Furukawa holds the Hida Furukawa Festival, which has a history of over 300 years. The Hida Furukawa Festival is listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage and designated as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property.
Okoshi Daiko is one of the three major naked men festivals in Japan.
Experience the vibrant energy of Okoshi Daiko at the Furukawa Festival starting at 8 PM on April 19. Witness the spectacle of hundreds of half-naked muscular men carrying an 80-centimeter-high taiko drum through the streets of Furukawa. Be awed by the thunderous sound of the taiko drum and the cheers of the performers. Immerse yourself in the famous Fukko-goto scene, where the small drums join in enthusiastically with the big drum, exuding the passion of young people.
The night festival of the Furukawa Festival on April 20 is a lively event with 10 beautiful floats with different characteristics. The exquisite craftsmanship of Hida artisans can be seen in the decorations of each float.
The parade of floats and the lighting of lanterns on the festival floats are comparable to the Takayama Festival, which is known as one of the three most beautiful festivals. If you want to learn more about the traditional culture of Hida Furukawa, you should visit the Hida Furukawa Festival.
How do I get to Hida Furukawa from Nagoya?
The fastest and most direct way to get to Hida Furukawa from Nagoya is to take the JR Wide View Hida train, which takes about 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a public bus to Takayama and transfer to a train to Hida Furukawa. The one-way train fare is ¥5,610, while the one-way bus fare to Takayama is cheaper at ¥3,100.
The train ride from Takayama to Hida Furukawa takes 17 minutes and the fare is ¥240 one way. Please note that JR also offers a 14-minute limited express train to Hida Furukawa, and an extra ¥330. We recommend that you check the train schedule in advance, as regular trains do not run every hour.
If you want to see cherry blossoms and experience a traditional Japanese festival in one go, the Hida Furukawa Club is a great place to put on your April itinerary.
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