Once a hub for the powerful Sanada clan, Ueda is a picturesque castle city along the Chikuma River. It’s famed for the cherry blossoms in spring and is also home to fascinating museums and the oldest Zen temple in Nagano.
Things to do in Ueda
Ueda Castle Park is one of Nagano’s most famous cherry blossom viewing destinations and centres around the remains of this 16th-century fortification. Admire the three towers and gates that are all that remain from the original structure or visit during autumn when the changing maple leaves stand out.
Delve into the history of Ueda at the Ueda City Museum, which houses a diverse collection inside the Ueda Castle Park. Learn about the construction of the castle and admire the well-preserved samurai armour that was once used by the local Sanada clan members.
Want to see the only remaining octagonal pagoda in Japan? Visit the temple of Anrakuji, the oldest Zen temple in Nagano. Browse the Kamakura-period cultural artefacts on display and wander the leafy trails surrounding the temple’s wooden pagoda.
Art enthusiasts should visit the Yamamoto Kanae Memorial Gallery, which celebrates the life and work of this much-loved Japanese artist. Renowned for his creative printmaking and yōga Western-style paintings, he was also involved in developing folk art and children’s education methods that are still practised in Japan today.
Getting around Ueda
Ueda is just over two hours by train from Shinshu Matsumoto Airport or by Shinkansen (bullet train) from the centre of Tokyo. Buses travel throughout the city, while most of Ueda’s attractions are accessible on foot.