Until last year, 2021, there were two separate flower festivals in Nagatoro in winter. However, from this year they are merging them both and inaugurating the Nagatoro Winter Flower Story event. The flowers in question, or more accurately tree blossoms, are wintersweet 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. From 2022, they will now be held simultaneously as the event called the Nagatoro Winter Flower Story.
Nagatoro Winter Flower Story 2022
The Nagatoro Winter flower story will be held from Saturday January 22nd to Sunday February 27th. It is a free event and there is no charge into either the wintersweet or plum blossom groves.
From Saturday January 29th to Sunday February 13th 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. Presumably the Hodosan ropeway will run late on those nights, but Chichibu Railway have not yet updated their website to reflect this. Normally the last ropeway is 5.20 pm, but they usually do operate later than normal when there is an event on Mt Hodo.
From January 29th to Sunday February 13th 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.
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 access
There is a free shuttle bus service daily during the period of the flower festival. They haven’t released the 2022 timetable yet, but normally it goes every 15 to 30 minutes between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. The bus goes from Nagatoro station to the ropeway station at the foot of the Mt Hodo.
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 normally, but they haven’t officially confirmed this for 2022 yet. 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.
Things to do in the area: