With Japan's itself being a long and narrow country, and its areas from Okinawa, Kyushu, Kansai, and Kanto- the season for cherry blossom blooming arrives later the further north it is.
Looking at the average time blossoming started between 2011 to 2019, it begins with Okinawa and Naha's Higanzakura beginning its sakura season from January 18th, then Fukuoka and Kyoto, Tokyo from around end of March, Aomori from around April 24th, and Sapporo from May 3rd.
If you choose your destination at the right time, you can enjoy hanami even in mid-May!
Not to mention, we say “Sakura（cherry blossom）” but there are many varieties of these flowers, with their blooming seasons differing as well. One of the most common representatives of sakura are the “Someiyoshino” or the Yoshino cherry variety, usually blooming between March and April.
In comparison, the “Kanhizakura” in Okinawa and Izu's “Kawazusakura” blooms earlier in January and February. The sakura known to blossom late are the Yaezakura variety such as the “Asahiyama”.Sakura matsuri, or cherry blossom festivals, are held alongside the blooming sakura trees. Popular festival sites include Matsumae Park (where Matsumae Castle ruin is located) of Hokkaido, Kajo Park (where Yamagata Castle is located) of Yamagata, Nagoya Castle of Aichi, and Akashi Park (where Akashi Castle is located) of Hyogo!
Aomori's Hirosaki Park is known as one of the best locations for sakura by many locals.
The Hirosaki Park, where the Hirosaki Castle is surrounded by the Moat of Mie and earthen walls, house many sakura trees including the Someiyoshino, Shidarezakura, and Yaezakura varieties of. With an approximate total of 50 varieties of sakura and 2600 of their trees here, it makes for a beautiful, picturesque scene when they blossom. This famous spot for sakura known to bring in about 2 million visitors annually. Among the many trees, is a Yoshino sakura tree that was planted back in the 15th year of the Meiji Era (1882) making it the oldest planted tree of that variety!
It is recommended that you check out the outer moat first. After the full bloom of these sakura, the moat becomes completely covered with flower petals, and the phenomenon is known as “hana-ikada.”
Then you can proceed to the moat on the west side, which has cherry blossom trees planted alongside 360 metres of the road. You will be amazed as you go through this magnificent tunnel of beautiful sakura trees. Finally, it is recommended that you appreciate the sakura in the water up close by riding the available boat across the moat of petals（please note that this is a paid service). It is a completely different experience from your usual cherry blossom viewing!
Hirosaki Sakura Festival
Address: 1 Shimoshiroganecho, Hirosaki, Aomori
Access: From Hirosaki Station, take the Dote-machi Loop Bus for 100 yen and about 10 minutes to the bus stop “Hirosaki Park”.
Event Period: 23 April to 6 May 2020
*Certain areas require entry fee
Tsuruga Castle is known as the impregnable symbol of Fukushima Prefecture’s Aizuwakamatsu city.
Here, the Tsuruga Castle Sakura Festival is held. Tsuruga Castle is the only castle in Japan known for its impressive red roof tiles and the contrasting white castle walls.
While the festival, you can try making matcha green tea for yourself by participating in the “Tsuruga Castle Festival Tea Ceremony”. You can experience a variety of Japanese traditions here, from watching performances of Japanese Taiko drums and folk songs of the local area to trying out the limited-time Kimono rental and dressing service (reservation and rental fee required). Finally, it is recommended seeing East Japan's grandest night-time special light up!
Takato Castle Park in Nagano is also one of the three great sakura spots of Japan along with Hirosaki Park. Enjoy the grand view of sakura with the Japanese Central Alps and Southern Alps in the background, still partially covered in snow! Along with the native variety of sakura which is the ”Takato Kohiganzakura”, there are 1500 trees that go into full bloom.
The Takato Kohiganzakura have flowers that are small in size, but do not turn white like many sakura do, but instead have a strong pink colour with brilliant red hue, making for an extraordinary scene.
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