Sakura season - an indicator that Spring has officially arrived.
The Cherry Blossom season draws visitors from near and far to visit Japan’s many scenic spots. While the peak of the Cherry Blossom season is almost over in the Tokyo and Kansai region, there are other spots in Japan where the beautiful florals continue to bloom from late April to May. Here are the top 5 places you can visit to prolong the fairytale-like season.
The Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom Festival is held every year from early April to early May in Kitakami Tenshochi Park . Considered one of the top three cherry blossom viewing spots in Tohoku , along with Hirosaki in Aomori and Kakunodate in Akita , Tenshochi is a visual delight. Imagine wandering beneath its lush canopy of cherry blossoms along a walkway covered in pink-hued petals - a magical experience you will recount for years to come.
Sakura viewing in Hirosaki Park is famous not only for its delicate light-pink blanket of cherry blossoms, it’s also renowned for its old Somei-Yoshino cherry tree planted in 1882. Located inside of the Hirosaki Castle grounds, the famous Somei-Yoshino cherry tree inside Hirosaki Park is roughly a 10-minute walk from the Shiyakusho Mae bus stop, located inside the inner moat area, where the castle is located. The closest structure is the Higashi Uchimon Gate.
There is a special reason why Hirosaki Park cherry blossoms surpass all others in beauty; the secret is in the pruning technique. Apples are a famous local produce, and local farmers prune cherry trees as they do apple trees, which renews the vitality of the cherry trees year over year to blossom more vibrantly with each passing year. Where typical cherry blossoms have 3 to 4 buds, Hirosaki cherry trees have 5 to 7, making the blossoms appear more dense and vigorous; the weight of the blossoms cause the branches to angle towards the ground, creating a breathtaking curtain of pink blossoms.
If you do get a chance to visit Hirosaki Castle in the Aomori Prefecture, we encourage you to allot time to stay for the evening illumination in Hirosaki Park. There is much to see and do, such as the Sakura Tunnel, performances, music and the highly anticipated illumination at night.
Considered the best place in Hakodate to see cherry blossoms, Goryokaku Park offers a serene setting to enjoy its tranquil setting. As you approach the smell of barbecue will draw you closer, and the various view points within the park offers different vantage points for landscape photographers. Whether from the moated fort or the observation tower, the natural beauty will take your breath away.
If you have been to Japan during Sakura season, you will be pleasantly surprised by the number of picnics set up under the cherry trees, where locals enjoy ornate bento lunches and a fresh can of beer. One of the best spots in Fukuoka to enjoy a hilltop picnic would be Nishi Park. The park opened in 1875, making it the oldest park in Sendai; its observatory offers a fantastic view of Fukuoka, Hakata Bay and islands in the bay.
The entrance to the park is marked by a large Torii gate, and during festivals the path is marked with food stalls and a variety of vendors.
There are around 1,300 cherry trees in the park, which flower during hanami season starting in mid-April. The park is popular with locals wanting to picnic beneath the flowering cherry trees. There are also many plum trees interspersed between the cherry trees that bloom slightly earlier but no less spectacularly.
Kintaikyo Bridge is an elegant architectural masterpiece once crafted entirely without nails. The bridge’s five signature arches, made of Japanese Cyrpress, Oak and Chesnut, span the banks of the Nishiki River in Iwakuni , a city in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The location is a visual feast for landscape photographers, as the bridge seems to transform with the time of day and season. Its notable design and unparalleled beauty has even earned it two stars in the Michelin Green Guide to Japan.
So while the Sakura season is coming to a close in the Tokyo and Kansai regions, there are still plenty of other options to extend your Sakura adventures in other regions such as Fukuoka, Iwakuni and Aomori. If you happen to capture photos of these scenic spots, we encourage you to submit your photo documentation to us for a chance to be featured in our Photography section!