There used to be two separate flower festivals in Nagatoro in winter. However, since last year (2022) they have been merged into one event they call the Nagatoro Winter Flower Story. The flowers in question, or more accurately tree blossoms, are wintersweet (robai) and plum blossoms. Both of which grow on the side of 497 meter high Mt Hodo.
The old Nagatoro wintersweet festival was held from the second week in January to the last week in February. And the plum blossom festival followed directly after. Moreover, they always overlapped for one weekend. Since 2022, they are now held simultaneously from the end of January to the end of February.
Nagatoro Winter Flower Story 2023
The Nagatoro Winter flower story will be held from Saturday January 28th to Sunday February 26th. It is a free event and there is no charge into either the wintersweet or plum blossom groves.
During the period of the festival they will light up the wintersweet on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The illumination is turned on at dusk and will remain on until 7 pm. In addition, the Hodosan ropeway will run late on those nights. Normally the last ropeway is at 5.20 pm, but when the wintersweet are lit up it will operate until 7 pm.
From February 4th to February 19th there is a daily hiking event to the plum blossoms. They request you ask for further information, between 9.30 and 11 am, at the Nagatoro Tourism office. It is a free event. Participants receive a map with coupons.
Mt Hodo Wintersweet grove
The Nagatoro Hodosan Wintersweet Garden at the summit of Mt Hodo. There are approximately 3000 wintersweet in the park. In full bloom they not only look pretty, but smell gorgeous too. We visited in 2019 and it was one of my favorite memories of the year.
Mt Hodo Plum Blossom Grove
There are approximately 470 plum blossoms in this area, of 170 varieties in the Mt Hodo Plum Blossom Grove. It is located beside the wintersweet grove. The plum blossoms tend to bloom around mid February. You can usually see wintersweet and plum blossoms side by side for about two weeks from mid February.
Nagatoro winter flower story Information
Event: Nagatoro Winter Flower Story – Nagatoro wintersweet and plum blossom festivals 長瀞冬の花物語2023 ~ 長瀞ロウバイ＆梅まつり2023
Dates: January 28th to Sunday February 26th 2023
Time: from 10 am to 4.30 pm on weekdays and until 7 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Cost: free, but the ropeway is charged – see access paragraph below.
Venue: Mt Hodo Wintersweet and Plum Blossom Grove – see map at the bottom of the post.
There is a free shuttle bus service daily during the period of the flower festival. The bus goes from Nagatoro station to the ropeway station at the foot of the Mt Hodo. On weekdays you can get it between the hours of 10 am and 4.40 pm; generally one runs every 30 minutes or so. On weekends it operates between 9.40 am and 5 pm.
You can take the ropeway up Mt Hodo to get to the Wintersweet garden during the day. And until 7pm when the light up is on. The ropeway costs 820 yen round trip (410 yen one way) for anyone over six years old. Usually in winter the ropeway only runs on weekends, but during the period of the flower festival they are planning to run it daily. Official website.