Located in the Lachlan Valley, Cowra is a rural town complete with wine vineyards, rich agriculture, art galleries, and fine restaurants for the soul. Perhaps one of its most noteworthy features is due to its influence of Japanese culture and the relation to World War II. During this part of history, thousands of Japanese prisoners of war were held within this area and staged a mass escape in 1944. This strong influence has led to museums, POW camp sites, the World Peace Bell, and the beautiful Japanese Gardens that are essential to Cowra’s roots.
Several festivals take place here every year, including a large food and wine festival as well as the Cherry Blossom Festival. Visitors come here to indulge in the rich abundance of the wines cultivated in this cooler region of Australia, as well as a strong culinary influence of the production of foods within the region. The Cherry Blossom Festival, also known as Sakura Matsuri, takes place every September when cherry blossoms bloom and overtake Cowra in their beautiful aroma within the Japanese Gardens of Cowra.
Spend the afternoon here on a self-guided walk through various heritage sites of Cowra, exploring their buildings and places initially formed from times back during the gold rush. Take yourself back in time by visiting the Lachlan Valley Railway and the old steamers and stations. The Cowra Regional Art Gallery and Australia’s World Peace Bell are both destinations to further immerse yourself into the culture of reconciliation held deep within Cowra.