Spring is one of the most popular times to visit Japan. One reason for this is definitely the beautiful cherry blossoms blooming sometime between March and May each year throughout the country.
In Nagoya, there are many great cherry blossom spots to choose from during the short couple of weeks when they are in bloom. But don’t worry if you can’t make it during that time because also the rest of the spring in Nagoya is worth a visit.
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Nagoya Spring Weather
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Spring describes roughly the months of March to May. In March, the temperatures finally get warmer. The average high is around 14 degrees Celsius and low at around 3 degrees Celsius. During the month the temperatures get steadily warmer and by the middle of March, it is not unusual to be able to walk outside without a jacket on a sunny day. But it is best to always have one on hand because the evenings can still be quite cold. March is also one of the drier months with an average of 8 rain days.
April is perfect for a trip to Nagoya, temperature-wise. The average high lies at 20 degrees Celsius and low at a warm 9 degrees Celsius. It will rain around 9 days in April on average.
In May it finally gets properly warm, but because it is still before the rainy season which starts sometime in June and lasts until July it isn’t humid yet and very comfortable. Average high temperatures are around 24 degrees Celsius and lows are as warm as 14 degrees Celsius. On average it rains about as much as it does in April (9 days).
Plum Blossoms in Nagoya
Plum blossoms are the first sign of spring in Japan. Technically these delicate flowers start blooming before the official start of the season, sometimes even as early as at the end of January or the beginning of February.
But you will usually find plum blossoms bloom for quite a long time, sometimes even until the middle of March.
While plum blossoms aren’t as popular as cherry blossoms you can still find multiple events in Nagoya that celebrate the flowers and the coming of spring.
On the grounds of Nagoya Castle around 70 plum trees bloom from the end of January to the beginning of March. You will also find around 200 trees bloom at Togokusan Fruit Park from the beginning of February to the beginning of March each year. The same goes for the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
One of the best events to enjoy plum blossoms is the Weeping Plum Tree Festival at the Nagoya City Agricultural Center. The 700 weeping plum trees here bloom a little later than the average plum tree. And the festival is held from late February to the Middle of March each year. In 2020 it takes place from February 22. to March 15. Opening hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Hanami in Nagoya
Hanami refers to cherry blossom viewing. And it is a huge deal in Japan each year. The small flowers bloom only for a very short time and therefore planning is very important.
In Japan, there is an agency in charge of predicting the peak time of cherry blossoms. You will find their regular reports on the internet so you know exactly what the best time for cherry blossom viewing is.
In Nagoya, the current forecast (last updated on March 5.) predicts first bloom on March 17. and peak around March 27. For the latest information click here.
One of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Nagoya is Nagoya Castle. Around 1000 cherry trees will bloom on the grounds. From the middle of March to the beginning of May the Spring Festival will be held at Nagoya Castle with different events going on during the festival period. There will also be an illumination event at nights while the cherry trees are in bloom. Dates for the 2020 season are yet to be announced.
Tsuruma Park is a public park in Nagoya with 700 cherry trees. It is a great place for a picnic under the cherry trees. The Tsuruma Park Flower Festival coincides with the blooming of the cherry blossoms and goes until the beginning of June. At night the cherry trees will be lit up. Dates for this illumination will be announced soon.
Another great place to view cherry blossoms in Nagoya is along the Yamazaki River. Around 600 cherry trees will turn the river banks pink. Great for a walk along the river during the day or even at night because between March 26. and April 5. 2020 the trees will be lit up.
Other Hanami spots in Nagoya are the Shonai Ryokuchi Park, Meijo Park and Heiwa Park. All of these are public parks where you can enjoy a stroll or a picnic under the cherry trees.
At Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens, more than 3000 cherry trees have been planted and a spring festival takes place from the middle of March to the beginning of May.
You can also view the cherry blossoms in Nagoya at Shirotori Garden, a beautiful landscape garden with a central pond.
For something special visit the Togokusan Fruits Park where a Weeping Cherry Blossom Festival is held each year. The dates for 2020 have not been announced yet.
Nagoya Spring Festivals
Spring is also an important time for Shinto rituals and festivals of all kinds because it Is the time for sawing seeds in Japan.
Setsubun is technically celebrated in winter, on the 3rd of February each year. It is the festival to celebrate the end of winter and the coming of spring. Which is why I mention it here.
It is a ceremony to drive out evil in the form of Japanese demons or Oni. They are driven out by throwing beans. Because Oni are afraid of beans?
This festival is celebrated at temples all around the country. In Nagoya, the biggest events take place at Osu Kannon, Ryusenji, Jimokuj, and Kasadera Kannon. At Osu Kannon, there will also be a procession of the treasure ship and the seven gods of fortune through the city.
Hina Matsuri is celebrated each year on the 3rd of March. In English, it is translated as Doll’s Festival or Girls’ Festival and it is a day when people pray for the health and happiness of young girls.
Families with young daughters set up dolls in the house to mark this day. These dolls called Hina Dolls are dressed in costumes of the imperial court of the Heian Period (793-1185). Displays wary from family to family. Nowadays simple one-storied displays with only the emperor and empress are most common but there are also five to seven layered one with dolls representing the whole court.
The practice of displaying dolls started in the Edo Period (1603-1867) right around the time Nagoya was founded. If you are interested you can see a beautiful collection of old Hina Doll’s at the Tokugawa Art Museum between February 8. and April 5. 2020.
Kurokawa Yuzen Nagashi
Beautiful Yuzen dyed fabrics floating in the Kurokawa river surrounded by cherry blossoms. This festival takes place once a year to celebrate the tradition of washing away starch from the dyed fabric a practice dating back to the Edo Period (1603-1867). It stopped in the early 80s when the water of the Kurokawa river became contaminated by sewage.
In 2020 the festival is expected to take place on April 4.
Koinobori at Noritake Garden
Children’s Day is celebrated on the 5th of May each year. For the occasion, carp-shaped streamers can be found dancing in the wind in many places.
In Nagoya, 50 gigantic and colorful Koinobori flutter in the wind at Noritake Garden for the beginning of April until the end of May each year. Noritake Garden is a producer of exquisite ceramics in Nagoya. Don’t forget to stop by the museum and maybe buy a nice souvenir to take home.
The Wakamiya Festival is held yearly at the Wakamiya Hachiman Shrine in Nagoya. The main draw of the festival is the floats that are drawn through the streets from Wakamiya Hachiman Shrine to Nagoya Shrine. View the parade and the expertly crafted Karakuri Dolls moving about on top of the floats.
The festival is held on the 15th and 16th of May each year.
Nagoya Spring Foods
Like every season in Japan, spring has its special food items. Here is a short list of foods to enjoy in spring.
Spring is the time of cherry blossoms, and so it is really no surprise to find cherry blossom inspired sweets everywhere. If you like it traditional, try the Sakura Mochi, pinkish rice cakes filled with red bean paste and wrapped with a cherry leaf. In Nagoya, you can find them at the many confectionary shops around Osu.
A famous sweet from Nagoya is called Uiro. It’s made by steaming rice flour, water, and sugar. At Osu Uiro you can buy a Sakura flavored Uiro all year round.
For those who want to drink cherry blossoms head to Starbucks. They have a range of Sakura inspired drinks each year.
Strawberries are another food associated with Japan. For those people who love strawberries, there is nothing better than strawberry picking. For around 2000 yen you can pick and eat as many strawberries as you like in a given timeframe (usually between 30 minutes and 1 hour).
In Nagoya itself, there is only one farm called Ichigobatake where you can have this experience but in the surrounding areas, especially to the south of Nagoya, there are many places to do this. Strawberry picking season is usually from December to May, but around February and March is the best time for delicious and sweet strawberries.
You will also find strawberry desserts like parfaits and cakes at many restaurants and cafes during spring.
Join a Nagoya Foodie Tour in Spring
Spring is also the best time for Matcha green tea powder. In May, Tencha, the raw material for Matcha is being harvested, and then dried and ground to fine and bright green Matcha powder.
You will find many delicious Matcha sweets during the harvest season, but of course also during the rest of the year.
Spring Trips from Nagoya
If you are in Nagoya in spring and you are wondering where else to visit, here are a couple of tips for unforgettable side trips from Nagoya in spring.
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is a route connecting the two towns Tateyama and Kurobe. To get from one to the other it is necessary to cross a mountain using different kinds of transportation including bus, cablecar, ropeway, and trolleybus.
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route opens in April and stays open until November when it becomes unpassable because of the snow. April is the best time to visit if you want to see the impressive walls of snow so often photographed.
The route is popular for its amazing views and beautiful nature.
For travel from Nagoya to Tateyama and then on the Alpine Route but the JR Alpine-Takayama-Matsumoto Area Pass. This pass allows travel on 5 consecutive days on JR trains around Nagoya, Takayama, Matsumoto as well as the whole Alpine route.
Or join a day tour from Nagoya to the amazing wall of snow. You can book it on klook.com.
On April 14. and 15. the Takayama Spring Festival takes place in Takayama. It features a procession of large wheeled floats through the streets of the town. Karakuri Ningyo marionette performances are another highlight of the festival.
If you want to stay the night in Takayama you need to book your accommodation quite early because the festival is not only popular with Japanese but also many foreign tourists. Thousands of people flock to the festival each year.
You can also visit the festival as a day trip from Nagoya. Take the first bus leaving for Takayama and return with the last. Which will give you enough time to explore Takayama and enjoy the festival.
May is the best time to visit Nishio, a town to the south of Nagoya. It is one of the biggest producers of Matcha green tea powder and May is harvest season for Tencha, the raw material used to make Matcha.
You can join in the harvest of the tea leaves, have a tour of the factory where the leaves are being ground into a powder and try some delicious Matcha tea and Japanese sweets at an elegant café.
Nagoya Events and Festivals by Month
For events and festivals during each month in spring in Nagoya visit the following posts. I publish the newest post in the middle of the previous month.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Nagoya in Spring
Spring is one of the best times to visit Nagoya. The temperatures are very comfortable throughout spring, not to warm and not too cold. The many flowering trees are beautiful, with cherry blossoms as the highlight of the season.
Spring is delicious food and some amazing side trip options from Nagoya.
For general travel information on Nagoya read the Nagoya Travel Guide.
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In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. That’s why she started Nagoya Foodie. To teach about Nagoya, her adoptive home online through blog posts and offline through unique food tours.