The Shinshu Hana Festa: Flowers Even I Can Get Into

Nature / Events
Fri, May 24, 2019

I’ll readily confess that I’ve never been much into flowers. Not that I don’t like them, I do. But as with the many kinds of sushi I eat, I don’t know most of their names. Nevertheless I manage to enjoy the heck out of them – and the hundreds of thousands of flowers on display right now over at Shinshu Skypark are a treat to take in.

Shinshu Skypark, that sprawl of sculpted landscapes, inventive playgrounds and adult-friendly recreational opportunities surrounding Matsumoto Airport, is right now playing host to the 2019 Shinshu Flower Festival (or as the locals are saying, 信州花フェスタ, the Shinshu Hana Festa). Running through June 16th, this display of horticultural artistry is definitely worth the free bus trip.

That’s right, free shuttle buses run daily from Matsumoto Station out to the park and back! Just look for one of these helpful sign-holding folks…

…and then jump on line for the relaxing half-hour bus ride out to the show. (Make note of where you get off – that’s where you’ll catch the bus back to the station!)

Off the bus and through the main gate into the park you’ll be greeted by a plaza marked with trees standing in colorful flowerbeds and, on your right, an information booth. Grab a map, even if you don’t read Japanese; it’ll come in handy as you explore.

And that’s the best way to enjoy the show – explore.

Though you may not find much in the way of English explanation, it’s easy to recognize the variety and the substance of the displays. In one area you’ll walk among inventive garden landscapes.

In another area you can check out how various prefectures around Japan have chosen to show their pride.

This display from Shizuoka highlights their role as host to the cycling events in the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

There’s much to be seen and enjoyed, out in the sun…

…in the shade of the woods…

…and inside the cool environs of the Yamabiko Dome, where you’ll find stone and cactus gardens backed by murals painted by area school students…

 …and workshops where you can try your hand at creating special keepsakes of flowers and glass.

Back outside you may stumble upon a miniature pebble garden…

…and over by the lake, a photo exhibition.

And on the far side of the woods, covering the hill beyond the playground, is a patterned explosion of color to leave you speechless.

For a cold drink or a bite to eat, head back toward the plaza…

…or simply take a seat in the sun.

There’s tons to take in at the free-to-enter Shinshu Hana Festa. Meander in the moment. Enjoy at your leisure. Just remember…

…the last bus back to Matsumoto Station – or Shiojiri, if that’s where you’re going – leaves at 5:15!

Happy Horticulturing!