Tohoku’s nature is changing – every day and constantly till something burst into life! Yes, spring is near as we have already received a cool gift “Ume” from our diverse nature. It is the early sign of spring. The next gift should be a special one which everyone in Japan is waiting for to receive. Can you guess it? That’s hanami or cherry blossom viewing. It may be cold outside now, but soon cherry buds will be bloomed. If you are keen very much to discover the top recommended hanami spots of Tohoku region then this is what you need to know.
Tohoku region, which I adore most than the rest of the regions of Japan for many reasons such as its colored autumn leaves, snowy mountainous ranges, winter festivals, summer festivals, impressive hiking trails, ski resorts, onsen and the classic HANAMI. There is nothing to compare with its awesome spring beauty as often it is regarded as the best season of all. In Tohoku, there are tons of sakura trees and surprisingly they are at their best only in the spring. Guess what?! They dominate the whole region showing their absolute beauty. How can you ignore it when riverside, parks, mountainous slops, streets, castle grounds get decorated with millions of cherry blossoms? Please find out the best spots to see sakura in Tohoku before you get here. Get ready!
1) Hirosaki Park in Aomori:
In Tohoku, the most ideal place to start your hanami celebration is in Aomori. First head to one of the most visited place of this prefecture called Hirosaki Park. It is located at the castle grounds of the greatest Hirosaki Castle. This is a place of scenic beauty and historical landmark of Aomori prefecture. In addition, it is said to be one of Tohoku region’s three best cherry blossom spots alongside Kakunodate Samurai Residences and Kitakami Tenshochi Park. If you are in Japan this spring to see sakura, then hardly you could miss a sight like this. Mind blowing display of the famous white sakura called somei yoshino along with weeping cherry blossom and double layer cherry blossoms (yaezakura) can be enjoyed during the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival. Every year, this spring festival is held from April 23 to May 5. In fact, this is the best time to see sakura in this famous hanami spot. Please bear in mind that, the festival may start earlier due to the early sakura appearing.
It is a spacious public park that features a three-story castle tower, gates, bridges, fortified moats and 2,600 cherry trees including a hundred year weeping cherry tree. It is absolutely great to see cherry petals that fill the entire castle moat. While on the other hand, the lined cherry trees along the outer moat create a great atmosphere to feel the joy of spring nature. You should not miss the view of the Mt. Iwaki as it appears clearly from here. When darkness arrives, the park is illuminated with lights and creates a great place to view yozakura. You can rent a boat to have a pleasant boat journey there on the moat and then enjoy sakura viewing.
2) Kakunodate Samurai Residences in Akita:
Tohoku has so many historic sites to discover, and Kakunodate Samurai Residences is one of them. It is a historic castle town where samurai family used to live in Edo period. Let’s say you know this place and have been there before because of its vivid autumn leaves? Are you going to compare it with its spring beauty? This sounds a bit weird because what you get during autumn season is completely different that you get in the spring. Without having any doubt, I say this as the kingdom of weeping cherry blossoms. Along the path of the samurai residences there are many lined weeping cherry trees. It is said that, one picture is worth a thousand words, now just take a look at the photograph above. Does it make you happy to be there for this year hanami season? Please note that, the best time to see sakura here is from end of April to early May.
3) Kitakami Tenshochi Park in Iwate:
This sakura viewing spot makes one feel strong, healthy and full of energy. Do you know why? It is because cherry blossoms can be viewed by three ways: walking, a pleasant boat journey on the river of Kitakami River, and finally, a horse driven carriage. In fact, the last one is missing at both of the hanami spots described above. I think, as a sakura lover you should enjoy sakura viewing here in Tenshochi Park taking the advantages of the given services. It means I want you to take a ride by a horse driven carriage which indeed a great way to experience hanami in this park. There are approximately 10,000 cherry trees of 150 different varieties along the Kitakami River provide stunning sakura display from early of April to end of April. In general, the Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom Festival is held from April to May. During that time you can come here to see splendid sakura and have some local specialty from the food stalls. The festival and the cherry trees provide some great opportunities for photographers.
4) Shiroishi Riverside in Miyagi:
The best time to view Shiroishi Riverside cherry blossom is from beginning of April to mid April. I visited this beautiful Hanami spots in the second week of April which I believe is the ideal time to catch all the glorious actions of spring sakura. This is one of the famous cherry blossom spots in Sendai that has a beautiful sakura tunnel which is about 8 Km. long. This is the most exciting thing along the riverside that has approximately 1200 cherry trees on both embankments. There is a perfect spot called Hitome Senbonzakura located halfway between Funagaoka and Ogawara stations, from where cherry trees and the Mt. Zao snow-capped summit can be seen quite nicely. Please spend a few hours and take a lot of photos before you leave this place.
5) Kajo Park in Yamagata:
In the evening of April 25, 2011, me and one of my best friends headed towards Kajo Park. Not to see the Yamagata castle ruins but the breathtaking sakura. Though, both can be enjoyed at the same time. Yamagata has some very good cherry blossom viewing spots such as the Okitama cherry blossom roads, Eboshiyama Park, and of course this one. This is a very famous hanami spot with about 1,500 cherry trees. Imagine how interesting it could be when they are in full glory! Among the trees, about 1,200 cherry trees are said to pass more than 100 years old. The moat, bridge and the cherry blossoms make it a perfect hanami destination to spend 2 to 3 hours there. Though, we had to wait to see illuminated cherry trees at night and we felt the difference between daytime and night sakura viewing.
6) Hanamiyama Park in Fukushima:
Hanamiyama Park is the pure flower kingdom in Fukushima Prefecture. Varieties of flowers dominate the park’s grounds throughout the year except autumn and winter seasons though. Before 1959 it was privately owned property, and public were not allowed to access to this beautiful park but since then it has been marked as a beautiful flower park that attracts thousands of tourists especially during hanami season. The park is located on the slopes of the hills to the southeast of central Fukushima; therefore it is very interesting to have a pleasant stroll through the walking paths while viewing cherry blossoms.
People there also enjoy early spring by viewing delicate plum blossoms. A great view of snow capped Azuma Mountains in the distance and the surrounding cherry blossom can be enjoyed from the top of the hill. The other surrounding picturesque beautiful landscapes can be seen from the different viewpoints as well. You are informed to get here in April as it is the best time to see sakura there.
7) Mikamine Park in Miyagi (Central Sendai):
What comes to mind when you think about cherry blossom? If you ask me the same question then I would definitely say about a quiet specious hanami spot where I can stay for a long time and have some lunch under sakura trees. In central Sendai, there is a popular hanami spot which suits me best called Mikamine Park. I saw many people gathered there with their own family members and friends who were enjoying time gossiping and eating. Things sounded like they all have gone through a happy meaningful life. No matter what you see in this park during spring would flourish your life with joy. The best time to see cherry blossom here is from early to mid April.
8) Miharu Takizakura in Fukushima:
Again I would take you back to Fukushima. There is another great hanami spot which is known as Miharu Takizakura. It is a giant, thousand years old weeping cherry tree located in Miharu town, Fukushima prefecture. This is the iconic sakura tree and designated as a Japanese natural monument which looks breathtaking in spring in mid-April. Here, the word “Takizakura” means waterfall cherry tree. Your trip is incomplete without staying some times next to it. Please note that, you will see many people gathering there so you better try to get there in the morning, right after taking your breakfast.
9) Tsutsujigaoka Park in Miyagi:
If you miss hanami in Kyoto and Tokyo then the rest of the destinations would be Tohoku and Hokkaido. As I am featuring the top 10 most beautiful hanami spots of Tohoku here I introduce a lovely sakura viewing spot named Tsutsujigaoka Park, located in Miyagi Prefecture. It is one of the best Hanami spots in Sendai which attracts thousands of visitors when approximately 1000 cherry trees are in full bloom. The whole park area is decorated with paper lanterns and many food stalls serve local specialty of Miyagi, traditional Japanese street foods and sweets. You even can encounter some street performers who are ready to entertain you cheerfully. The park itself a beautiful one, looks attractive with many sakura lover during Golden Week. Take a pleasant stroll through the various walking paths and enjoy the majestic display of weeping cherry blossoms and Somei Yoshino.
10) Takamatsu Park in Iwate:
This is the last one which is seen to be the most three beautiful hanami spots in Iwate prefecture. Takamatsu Park, located around the Takamatsu pond in Morioka. Meanwhile, the pond is surrounded by the charming cherry trees. When spring rolls in here, all the cherry trees (about 800) start blooming day by day while the locals of Morioka get prepared to enjoy a great hanami party. The picturesque secrecy of the sunset from the park is very delightful. You can rent a paddle boat and then have a leisurely boat trip around the pond. On a clear shiny day, the Mount Iwate can be seen from the different viewpoints of this park. You are highly suggested to take a peaceful stroll through the strolling paths and don’t forget to capture the picturesque view of majestic cherry blossoms there.
Spring in Tohoku is Breathtaking!
During the dark days of harsh cold winter, we all expect to see spring flowers. No doubt, our expectation comes to alive when sakura appear. Cherry blossoms can bring the color and warmth of spring to our beautiful nature. So why are you waiting for? Brighten your spring season visiting incredible Tohoku as it is a great destination for enjoying Golden Week in Japan. You have to have a complete suggested itinerary for exploring Tohoku in spring. Hopefully, you won’t be disappointed visiting all these classic hanami spots. If you are a foreign tourist then buy a regional JR East Pass, a travel guide, and book your hotel rooms as early as possible. Please visit this page to book your room. Thanks for reading.
Copyright 2016 @ takkhis