Translated by Sandy Lau
One Of Japan’s Top 3 Night Cherry Blossom Views: Takada Park, Niigata
Written by Ruriko Isokawa
Takada Park, located in Joetsu, Niigata, was chosen as one of Japan’s three greatest cherry blossom night views. It is a popular spot that gathers tourists from all across the country for its evening cherry trees.
After the sun has set, beautifully illuminated cherry trees in the evening have a hidden charm that is different from the cherry trees seen during the day.
Now, have you heard of Takada Park in Niigata? Takada Park, along with Hirosaki Park in Aomori and Ueno Onshi Park in Tokyo, is a famous location that is ranked as one of Japan’s three greatest cherry blossom night views.
Approximately 4000 cherry trees, mainly consisting of Yoshino cherry trees, are in full bloom in a spacious area about 50 hectares in size. Though cherry blossoms in full bloom are also beautiful in the daytime, the cherry blossoms illuminated by the evening bonbori (*1) bring about a magical and alluring atmosphere.
In this article, we’d like to go into the differing day and night cherry blossom views. Which cherry blossom view will you like? One by one we'll introduce famous cherry blossom locations in Takada Park.
*1 Bonbori: a type of paper lantern that has a magical, but faint, brightness that shines through the paper.
Sakura Road: The Cherry Blossom Tunnel
Sakura Road is a natural tunnel formed by the cherry trees on both sides. This is the most suitable place for strolling and leisurely viewing the cherry blossoms as many people walk here with their dogs.
The view at night. Lights installed on both sides illuminate the cherry trees and most people that walk along the road will stop to take photos.
Takada Castle Triple Turret: The Symbol of Takada Park
Takada Castle’s triple turret is located inside Takada Park and acts as its symbol. The triple-threat view consisting of the moat, cherry trees, and castle is a perfect photo spot.
The illuminated Takada Castle Triple Turret and cherry blossoms are reflected onto the surface of the water once night falls. It stretches out into a view that is so beautiful, you’ll think that it appeared from a fairy tale photo collection.
Cherry Trees Blooming Along the Inner Moat
Many cherry trees line the surroundings of the inner moat. From above the bridge, you can peer at the koi fish elegantly swimming.
In the midst of the darkness, the cherry blossoms to the left and right shine on the water as if there were thousands more blooms.
The Vermilion Bridge Over the Outer Moat
When you exit the park, you will find a vermilion bridge built over the outer moat.
Evening. The lights of the stands lining the other side of the bridge sparkle, making the bridge reflected into the water even more lovely.
Sights That Can Only Be Seen at Day or Night
Although you can also enjoy the parallels between day and night, there are also great things that can only be found in each respective view. Mountains with lingering snow can be clearly seen during the day, adding to the already extensive view unique to nature-rich Takada Park.
At night, approximately 3000 paper lamps illuminate the park, a sight not available during the day. A short distance away from stands that are overflowing with liveliness, you will experience the fleetingness of the spring amid the silence at the outer moat.
Which cherry blossom view has caught your eye?
Nearby Stands and Lawn Areas
During the cherry blossom season, as many as 300 yatai stands, serving everything from local cuisines to staple festival foods, will line the roads of the park. You can eat inside the park on the go or sit down to eat on open benches.
If you’d like to leisurely enjoy your meal while sitting, we recommend bringing a sheet to open areas that are located in various places throughout the park.
The park is also fully equipped with toilet facilities inside. It’s rare for there to be a long line here like there would be in Tokyo, so you can relax and enjoy both the cherry blossoms together with your meal.
Temporary parking lots are also opened near the park.
Some temporary parking lots will cost a fee of about 500 yen. Shuttle buses that travel between the parking lot and the park grounds operate at parking lots that are located a longer distance from the park.
During this period, shuttle buses that will take you to the park from the east exit of Joetsu Myoko Station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, trains that will take you from the Niigata area to the nearby Takada Station, and the rapid-service train Takada Hanami will operate for a limited time.
Circumstances will change depending on the year, so please check their website for the latest information.
Joetsu, Niigata Takada Park
Address: Niigata, Joetsu, Motoshirocho 44-1
Period: Every year from the beginning to the middle of April
Illumination Hours: Inside the park – sunset-21:00 (best time until 22:00) / Takada Castle Triple Turret 18:00-22:00
Nearest Station: JR Takada Station (15 minute walk to the park grounds)
Access: 1 hour and 50 minutes from Tokyo to Joetsu Myoko on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line
Price: Admission into Takada Park is free
Parking Lot: Temporary parking lots are available (some will have parking fees) outside the park grounds. Usage of the shuttle bus from the temporary parking lots to the grounds will be 200 yen (elementary and junior high school students 100 yen, free for those under elementary school age) one way.
Website: Japan’s Three Greatest Sakura Night Views Joetsu Takada Castle One Million Person Cherry Blossom Viewing (Japanese)