Flowers indicate the beginning of spring, but the sprouting of new leaves is a sign of the middle of spring. This period is known as shinryoku, which roughly translates to "new greens". These sprouting leaves are a bright and beautiful green - fresh and vibrant. Shinryoku signals that the weather has warmed up, and outdoor activities can be enjoyed!

Nagano / Niigata

1 Kamikochi

The pristine highland area of Kamikochi is beautiful all year round, but some say spring is the best season to visit. With a stunning view of the Japanese Alps in the background, hiking in springtime offers cool temperatures and picture-perfect views of blue skies, bright green trees and white snow-capped mountains.

2 Hakuba Happo Pond

The striking beauty of Hakuba's impressive mountains are a sight to behold! Although Hakuba is mostly known for being a winter destination, in summer you can enjoy spectacular views by hiking and climbing up the mountains. Do not miss Happo Pond, which turns into a giant mirror reflecting the mountain range and skies on clear days!

3 Sado Island

One of Japan's largest islands, Sado Island is located off the coast of Niigata, and can be easily accessed via ferry. Enjoy stunning views of the scenic Senkaku Bay, get up close to the endangered toki (Japanese crested ibis), experience riding a traditional tub boat (taraibune), try your hand at panning for gold in the now-abandoned Sado Gold Mine, and much more!

4 Bijinbayashi Beech Forest

Hokukoku Line is covered by JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)
No matter the season, this forest already looks like it came from a painting with its beautiful beech trees. Though still relatively unknown to foreigners, it is quickly becoming well-known as a power spot for local Japanese tourists. Power spots are places people visit to recharge their spirits by feeling the healing energy of the earth and enjoying the mystical scenic beauty.

5 Nanohana

(Bus operates only during late April - early May )
Nanohana can be enjoyed in Iiyama from late April to mid-May. The Iiyama Nanohana Festival is held over 3 days in the later part of Golden Week, and you can expect music, dance performances, food stalls and many fun activities. The bright and cheery yellow flowers make a great contrast with the blue skies and spring greenery, providing beautiful photo opportunities!

6 Tulips

The tulip is the prefectural flower of Niigata Prefecture, which was the first place in Japan to produce flower bulbs. With fertile soil and favorable weather, Niigata is the second top producer of tulips in Japan. Every spring, you can enjoy many tulip festivals all over Niigata, such as the Echigo Hillside Park Tulip Festival (late April - early May).


7 Matsushima

Famed as one of Japan's 「3 Great Views」, Matsushima is a group of 260 pine tree-covered islets. You can take a cruise to explore the bay, or take a leisurely walk to some of the islands to slowly take in the sights. Also in the area is Zuiganji, one of the most prominent Zen temples in Tohoku.

8 Jodogahama Beach

Enjoy a breathtaking panorama of calm blue waters surrounding the white pebble shoreline, contrasting with the jagged rock formations in the ocean.

9 Yamadera

With a literal meaning of "mountain temple", Yamadera is a scenic temple in the mountains near Yamagata City. The top can be reached in approximately 1,000 steps spread over several steep stone staircases. Reach the top and be rewarded with stunning views of the valley below!
JRET - Indo Map_cs6
Season Calendar