Spring-Enjoy Cherry Blossom Viewing!

Throughout Japan, spring is the time for a custom known as hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, which involves passing the time under or near cherry blossom trees to appreciate their beauty while picnicking and enjoying sake. The mild temperatures just after winter has given way to spring make this the most comfortable season of the year. In Japan, there are a huge number of choice locations all around the country where hanami can be enjoyed.

In the south, cherry blossom trees begin to bloom in late March, the flowering moving northward through the beginning of May. In the Tohoku Region (northeastern Japan), the colors of the cherry blossoms are more intense, and there is an even greater number of places famed for hanami than in most other regions. The season for viewing cherry blossoms in eastern (including northern) Japan is from the start of April until early May.

We invite you to use the JR East Shinkansen and limited express trains when traveling.

TOHOKU CHEERY BLOSSOM

Goryokaku Park - Hokkaido

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Overview

Goryōkaku Park has about 1,600 cherry blossom trees, which bloom throughout a star-shaped castle enclosure. At the end of the viewing season, the surface of the castle moat is completely covered in petals, which provides a different aspect from when the trees are in full bloom.

Blossom season:Early to mid May
Official Site: Goryokaku Tower Official Website

Hirosaki Park – Aomori Prefecture

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Overview

Approximately 2,600 cherry blossom trees grow in Hirosaki Park, and these are illuminated during the cherry blossom festival. A highlight is the contrast between the tower of Hirosaki Castle and the evening cherry blossoms. The Yoshino cherry trees, reputed to be the finest in Japan, are another must-see.
*Hirosaki Castle was moved to temporary position for renovating its stonewall. Although visitors can enter the inside of the castle, it will be back to the original position in 2021.

Blossom season:Late April – Early May
Official Site: Aomori Sightseeing Guide

Use the JR EAST PASS(Tohoku area)
to see the cherry blossoms at Hirosaki Park!

Kitakami Tenshochi – Iwate Prefecture

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Overview

Kitakami Tenshochi, located alongside the Kitakami River, is known as one of the finest locations for cherry blossom viewing in north-east Japan. During the Kitakami Tenshochi cherry blossom festival, pleasure cruises operate along the river, and nostalgic horse-drawn tour coaches travel up and down the riverbank lined with cherry trees in full bloom.

Blossom season:Mid to late April
Official Site: Iwate Prefecture Tourism Portal Site

Use the JR EAST PASS(Tohoku area)
to see the cherry blossoms at Kitakami Tenshochi!

Kakunodate Samurai Manors – Akita Prefecture

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Overview

Approximately 400 weeping cherry trees, reputed to be over 200 years old, line the bukeyashiki (samurai manor) streets, and of these, 162 have been designated as Natural Monuments. The pink flowers blooming along the black-paneled fences are magnificent and lure many visitors each year.

Blossom season:Mid to late April
Official Site: Kakunodate Tourism Guide

Use the JR EAST PASS(Tohoku area)
to see the cherry blossoms at Kakunodate Samurai Manors!

Hitome Senbonzakura – Miyagi Prefecture

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Overview

Cherry blossom trees extend for approximately eight kilometers along the banks of the Shiroishi River, from Ogawara-cho through to neighboring Shibata-cho. This area is known as “1,000 cherry trees in once glance”. A third of the approximately 1,200 cherry trees that make up this tunnel of trees are over 80 years old.

Blossom season:Mid to late April
Official Site: Miyagi Prefectural Government

Use the JR EAST PASS(Tohoku area)
to see the cherry blossoms at Shiroishi River!

Okitama Cherry Blossom Corridor – Yamagata Prefecture

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Overview

The Okitama Cherry Blossom Corridor is located in the Okitama Basin in the south of Yamagata Prefecture, and extends from Akayu Hot Spring through to Shiratakimachi. It runs for about 43 kilometers alongside Yamagata Railway’s Flower Nagai Line, which is a well-known cherry blossom tour route. Around twenty locations along the route are of historical interest, featuring ancient trees that are over 1,200 years old, famous trees and very large trees.

Blossom season:Late April
Official Site: Enjoy Yamagata

Use the JR EAST PASS(Tohoku area)
to see the cherry blossoms at Okitama Cherry Blossom Corridor!

Miharu Takizakura – Fukushima Prefecture

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Overview

Miharu Takizakura is counted among the top three cherry blossom locations in Japan. It is said that the name “Takizakura”, which means “cherry blossom waterfall”, comes from the fact that the thick branches extending in all directions and festooned with countless tiny crimson flowers look just like a cascading waterfall.

Blossom season:Mid to late April
Official Site: SIGHTS in FUKUSHIMA

Use the JR EAST PASS(Tohoku area)
to see the cherry blossoms at Miharu Takizakura!

Takada Castle – Niigata Prefecture

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Overview

Takada Castle is known as one of the three top locations for nighttime cherry blossom viewing. During the “Takada Castle One Million Visitor Cherry Blossom Party”, approximately 3,000 paper lanterns light up the evening. The castle lights and the roughly 4,000 cherry trees adorned with paper lanterns reflecting in the waters of the moat make for a truly magical viewing experience.

Blossom season:Early to mid April
Official Site: Enjoy Niigata

Use the JR EAST PASS(Nagano,Niigata area)
to see the cherry blossoms at Takada Castle!

Matsumoto Castle – Nagano Prefecture

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Overview

Approximately 300 Yoshino cherry trees and Double Blossom cherry trees surround the enclosure and moat of Matsumoto Castle. It is an evocative location, whether in the daytime when the blossoms can be seen against the backdrop of the snow-capped Northern Alps, or at night, when they can be viewed against the illuminated castle tower.

Blossom season:Mid April
Official Site: The Official Tourism Site of Matsumoto

Use the JR EAST PASS(Nagano,Niigata area)
to see the cherry blossoms at Matsumoto Castle!

Lake Kawaguchi – Yamanashi Prefecture

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Overview

With magnificent Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi in the background, this is the perfect spot for taking photographs. It is also very pleasant to take a stroll among the cherry trees lining the side of the lake. When the flowers are in full bloom the trees are also illuminated for nighttime viewing.

Blossom season:Mid to late April
Official Site: Fujikawaguchiko Sightseeing information site

Use the JR TOKYO Wide Pass
to see the cherry blossoms at Lake Kawaguchi!

TOHOKU CHEERY BLOSSOM