Known as “Hanami” in the local language, Cherry Blossom viewing is an annual event in Japan. It is a time for festivities for the locals as they gather to admire the beautiful sight of cherry blossoms spread their magic everywhere with their various shades of white and pink Blossoms by The Park. For a foreigner who has not seen such beauty before, it is a sight to behold.
Cherry flowers occur in various parts of Japan at different times and if you are visiting Japan and have missed this awesome sight then you can easily go to other places for cherry blossom viewing. The Cherry Blossom viewing season lasts for a week to ten days and presents a mesmerizing picture. Japan has over three hundred species of cherry trees.
Fukuoka is one of the places in Japan where cherry trees first heralds its arrival. The Maizuru Park featuring around a 1000 cherry trees is located in the ruins of the ancient Fukuoka Fort. There are various picnic spots in the park where Hanami parties take place. Nishi Park and Atago Shrine are two other places in Fukuoka where cherry blossom viewing is done.
If you are in Tokyo then Shinjuku Gyoen is the best place to go. More than a thousand trees of a dozen or so varieties of Cherry are planted here. Because of the different varieties the Hanami season lasts longer as various trees blossom at different times. Chidorigafuchi and Ueno Park are two other famous spots of cherry trees viewing in the capital city.
Cherry Blossoms grace Osaka in early April and some of the best places in town for viewing Cherry Blossoms are the Kema Sakuranomiya Park. Located on the banks of Okawa River, the park features 5000 beautiful blossom trees standing majestically. You can watch the blossoms from the boats on the river and the promenades. Or you can enjoy a picnic and the splendor of cherry blossoms of the 4000 trees on the grounds of Osaka Castle. Nara Park in the town of Nara is filled with such beautiful Blossoms in early April; other places in Nara are Heijo Palace and Koriyama Castle Ruins. Spring brings forth the crisp air, emerging greenery and Cherry Blossoms in Japan. Cherry Blossoms, “Sakura” is the national flower of Japan and is held in reverence throughout Japan. A large number of festivals are held to honor and celebrate the beauty of the cherry blossom. Cherry Blossom begins to bloom from the southern island of Kyushu in late March and moves northward blooming in early May in Hokkaido.
You will be amazed by the sights of the cherry blossoms on your spring trip to Japan. But we asked Carol Enomoto who is the tour manager of Aloha World, a leading tour operator of escorted tours to Japan to name her three most favorite “cherry blossom” viewing locations. Although subjective, her choices are held by many including visitors and people living in Japan.
Takada Park in Joetsu city, Niigata prefecture is the well known for the night time view of cherry blossoms. Takada Castle which is on the grounds is lit up by as well as over 3000 lanterns hanging from 4000 cherry trees. All of this illuminates the park and provides a festive mood for park goers. The moat surrounding the castle reflects the light of Takada castle and the lanterns creating a mystical atmosphere. Viewing during the day is no slouch as visitors are able to walk down Sakura Road, which is a narrow path, lined with cherry blossom trees on both sides.
Himeji Castle in Hyogo prefecture is well known as one of the 3 most famous castles in Japan. It is also a favorite of cherry blossom watchers. One needs to realize that in Japan, there are many festivals which honor the sakura and Himeji Castle is no different. It hosts the Himeji Castle cherry blossom viewing Fair which features music performances. With over 1000 sakura trees on the grounds, it is known as a very popular spot in Japan for viewing.
Hirosaki Park is built on the grounds of Hirosaki Castle in Hirosaki, Aomori prefecture. With over 2600 cherry blossom trees, it is touted by several travel journalists as the best spot to view cherry blossoms in the Tohoku region. The cherry blossoms are set against the white walls of the castle and the pine trees. Over a million people annually visit Hirosaki Park during this time which usually runs from late April to early May which coincides with Golden Week in Japan.
The viewing of cherry blossoms in Japan is more than just an appreciation of the beauty, as many enjoy the camaraderie of family and friends. Festivals can be found throughout Japan no doubt due to the “sakuras” stature as the national flower. It is a time to enjoy good sake, good food, family and the beauty of spring. On your next visit to Japan, you too will be in awe of the Cherry Blossom.