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 giftUme” 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.

Hanami in Aomori Prefecture. Photo Credit: foooomio at Flickr.

I like exploring Tohoku, and its colored autumn leaves in the fall, snowy mountain peaks, winter festivals, summer festivals, impressive hiking trails, ski resorts, onsen and the classic HANAMI always inspire me to travel around the region over and over again. There is nothing to compare with its awesome natural spring beauty as often it is regarded as the best season of all.

There are a lot of great things to do in Tohoku in spring, from cherry blossom viewing to hiking and eating delicious regional foods. The region has a number of Japan’s top hanami spots with tons of sakura trees around 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 there.

1) Hirosaki Park in Aomori:

Hirosaki Castle. Photo Credit: yisris at Flickr.

In Tohoku, the most ideal place to start off your hanami celebration is in Aomori Prefecture. First, head to one of the most visited places of the prefecture called Hirosaki Park. It is located on the castle ground 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 planning to visit Japan this spring to see sakura then hardly you could miss a sight like this. Mind blowing displays 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. Bear in mind that the festival may start earlier due to the early sakura appearing.

It is a spacious public park featuring 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 and you can easily spot it while roaming around the park. 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:

cherry_blossoms_kakunodate_samurai_residences_in_akita
Weeping cherry blossoms at Kakunodate Samurai Residences in Akita. Photo Credit: Dao-hui Chen at Flickr.

Tohoku has so many historic landmarks to discover, and Kakunodate Samurai Residences is one of them. It is a historic castle town where samurai family used to live in the 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 experience and see here during autumn is completely different than what you experience 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. Often said “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:

Kitakami Tenshochi in the spring. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

This beautiful sakura viewing spot makes your Japan spring trip memorable. Do you know why? It is because cherry blossom can be viewed in the park by three ways: by taking a walk, a pleasant boat journey on the river of Kitakami River, and finally, a ride on a horse driven carriage. 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 of year, you can get here to see splendid sakura and have some local food from the food stalls. If you are a professional photographer and looking for a unique place to photograph cherry blossom in Japan, then I highly recommend this place to you.

4) Shiroishi Riverside in Miyagi:

This is awesome, don’t you think so? Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The best time to view Shiroishi Riverside cherry blossom is from beginning of April to mid April. I visited this beautiful Hanami spot in the second week of April that I believe is the ideal time to see sakura. This is one of the famous cherry blossom spots in Sendai that has a beautiful sakura tunnel which is about 8 Km. long.

The sakura tunnel is considered the most exciting thing you would like to experience 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:

Yamagata Castle Stone Wall and Sakura. Photo Credit: Jun K at Flickr.

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 though, 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 approximately 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 display of stunning cherry blossoms make it a perfect hanami spot to spend for 2 to 3 hours. 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. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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 blossoms can be enjoyed from the top of the hill. The other surrounding picturesque beautiful vistas 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.

For more info about the park, please read this page.

7) Mikamine Park in Miyagi (Central Sendai):

Cherry blossoms in Mikamine Park, Sendai. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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 that suits me best called Mikamine Park.

I saw many people gathered there with their own family members, friends and relatives who were enjoying their 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, everything there will flourish your life with joy. The best time to see cherry blossom here is from early to mid April.

8) Miharu Takizakura in Fukushima:

The Giant Cherry Tree – Miharu Takizakura in Fukushima. Photo Credit: ayu oshimi at Flickr.

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:

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Cherry Blossom in Tsutsujigaoka Park, Miyagi. Photo Credit: Kimon Berlin at Flickr.

If you miss hanami in Kyoto and Tokyo then the rest of the hanami destinations to see sakura will be in Tohoku and Hokkaido. As I am featuring the top 10 most beautiful hanami spots of Tohoku here in this post, I am very glad to introduce to you a lovely sakura viewing spot named Tsutsujigaoka Park, located in Miyagi Prefecture. It is one of the best Hanami spots in Sendai that 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:

Takamstsu park’s cherry blossom and the pond. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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 around there, all the cherry trees (about 800) start blooming day by day while 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!

See, why Tohoku is blessed with diverse nature! Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

During the dark days of harsh cold winter, we all expect to see spring flowers. No doubt, our expectation comes alive when sakura bloom in abundance. 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 the spring. Hopefully, you won’t be disappointed visiting all these great 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. Thank you.