Nagano, Chubu

A museum constructed from the residence of the town's oldest merchant. One thousand five-hundred blossoming cherry trees are illuminated nightly each spring.

The Takato district of Ina City is located in the Ina Basin along the Fujisawa-gawa River, a tributary of the Mibu-gawa and Yamamuro-gawa rivers in the northwestern Ina Mountains, in southeastern Nagano. Takato Castle was located at the tip of a cliff created by the Mibu-gawa and Fujisawa-gawa rivers, and the back of the castle was surrounded by mountains. The clan of the feudal lord Naito controlled the castle town from the end of the 17th century to the end of the 19th century.

Although only the stone walls and fences of Naito's castle remain today, the site was transformed into Takato Castle Ruin Park. There are over 1,500 'kohigan-zakura' cherry trees in the park. Their blossoms are smaller and more reddish than typical cherry blossoms, and they are designated as a precious natural property of the prefecture. When they bloom, the blossoms are illuminated at night, and the park becomes crowded with people who visit to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms.

Inside Takato is the residence of the town's oldest merchant, which is open to public as the Ikegami Residence Merchant Folk Material Museum. The Takato Local History Museum stands at the side of Lake Takato-ko, displaying the palanquins used in the Toro-matsuri Festival, or lantern festival, celebrated in autumn. Within the museum is a historic site called the Ejima Kakomi-yashiki (residence). Ejima was a high-ranking lady who served Gekkoin, the lover of the sixth shogun, Tokugawa Ietada. Ejima was however exiled because she did not fulfill her duty. She lived in this residence until she passed away at the age of 61. It has a restored living room, bathroom, lavatory and wooden fence from the Edo Period in the 18th century.


From Tokyo:
[Rail] 2h 30 min from Shinjuku (Tokyo) to Okaya Station by JR Chuo Line (limited express Azusa), and 45 min from Okaya to Ina-shi Station by JR Iida Line.

Around the Takato