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eNews  05/10   subscribe

Discover Sakura Culture, Enjoy Cherry Viewing
Come to March and April, it is a perfect time to enjoy the Sakura. Anytours provide different Japan and Korea package foy you to enjoy Japan & Korea Sakura.
East Japan Sakura Viewing Hotspot
( Tokyo, Hokkaido etc.)
West Japan Sakura Viewing Hotspot
( Kyoto, Osaka etc.)
East Japan Sakura Viewing Hotspot
1.) Matsumae-koen Park [Hokkai-do]
Hokkaido is where plum and cherry trees blossom at the same time. The earliest blooms of cherry trees in Hokkaido are to be found at Matsumae-koen Park. About 10,000 cherry trees, of 250 different varieties, are planted in the park; many of them are double-flowered cherry trees (yae-zakura), a variety that blooms over a long period for your enjoyment. The park also has a number of special cherry trees, such as Kechimyaku-zakura or Amayadori, which are famous for their legend or antiquity. Matsumae-jo Castle, the last Japanese castle to be built in the Edo Period (1603-1867) , is also found in the park along with a museum. The castle town of Matsumae still retains vestiges of the Edo Period..
Flowering season: Late April to late May
Address: Aza Matsushiro, Matsumae-cho, Matsumae-gun, Hokkaido
Directions: 1h30min ride from JR Kikonai Station to Matsushiro by bus for Matsumae. It is a 7 min walk from the bus stop.
2.) Hirosaki-koen Park [Aomori]
Hirosaki-koen is one of the best spots for viewing cherry trees in the Tohoku area. In this park, there is a castle with turrets and gates as a visual reminder of bygone days, which was constructed by the Tsugaru family who once ruled the whole Tsugaru area. The park is about 49.2 hectares wide, and has about 2,600 trees of 50 different varieties, mainly Somei-yoshino. The records indicate that 25 cherry trees were planted in "Nishi-no-Kuruwa" in 1715, and among these trees, Kanzan and Kasumi-zakura still bloom now in the spring. The 120 year-old Somei-yoshino is also very popular, and is said to be the oldest in Japan, planted at the beginning of the Meiji Era.
Flowering season: Late April to late May
Address: Shirogane-machi, Hirosaki, Aomori
Directions: 15 min ride by Konan Bus from JR Hirosaki Station to Shiyakusho-mae-koen-iriguchi. It is a 1 min walk from the bus stop.
3.) Kakunodate [Akita]
Kakunodate is located almost at the center of Akita. The town is called "Small Kyoto in Michinoku," which means a town with an atmosphere like Kyoto on the Pacific side of the Tohoku area. The city still retains traces of its appearance of about 320 years ago, with stands of old trees and dignified samurai residences. Incredibly, the weeping cherry trees (shidare-zakura) planted at that time still bloom today. The 152 trees are classed amongst the nation's natural monuments, and show a beautiful contrast against the black walls of the samurai residences. The two kilometer long tunnel of cherry trees, along the bank of the Hinokinai-gawa River running though the center of the town, is also listed nationally for its scenic beauty.
Flowering season: Late April to late May
Address: Kakunodate-machi, Senboku-gun, Akita
Directions: Exit at JR Kakunodate Station (Akita Shinkansen Line).
4.) Ueno-Onshi-koen Park [Tokyo]
Ueno-Onshi-koen Park is the first designated park in Japan. The park is home to the National Museum of Western Art, as well as the Tokyo National Museum and Ueno Zoological Gardens, which always attract many visitors. The rows of cherry trees, Somei-yoshino and mountain cherry trees (yama-zakura), bloom magnificently in spring, making the park very popular for holding parties under a canopy of beautiful flowers.
Flowering season: Late March to late April
Address: Taito-ku, Tokyo
Directions: A 5 min walk from JR Ueno Station (Yamanote Line).
5.) Shinjuku Gyoen Park [Tokyo]
Shinjuku Gyoen Garden is the location of the samurai residence of the Naito family. The garden was later designated as an Imperial garden, and then as a national garden in 1949. It has been famous for its cherry trees since the Meiji Era (1868-1912) , and today the collection and study of cherry trees is carried out there.
Flowering season: Late March to late April
Address: Taito-ku, Tokyo Naito-machi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Directions: A 10 min walk from JR Shinjuku Station (Yamanote Line), or exit at Shinjuku-gyoen-mae Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line).
6.) Takato-Joshi-koen Park [Nagano]
The cherry tree, Takato-kohigan-zakura, is admired as the most beautiful in the whole of Japan because of its beauty and height. In the park, there are over 1,500 Takato-kohigan-zakura trees, including those over 100 years old. These cherry trees, a hybrid of Edo-higan-zakura and Mame-zakura, are tall trees with small, deep pink flowers that are found only in Takato. The forest of cherry trees in full bloom harmonizes beautifully with the snowscape of the Chuo Alps, and is designated a natural treasure by Nagano Prefecture.
Flowering season: Mid- to late April
Address: Takato-machi, Kami-Ina-gun, Nagano
Directions: 25 min ride by bus from JR Ina-shi Station to Takato. It is a 15 min walk from the bus stop.
7.) Inuyama-jo Castle [Aichi]
Inuyama-jo Castle stands on the hillside above the plain, on the south bank of the Kiso-gawa River. In spring, cherry trees bloom around the castle, and stretch along the Kiso-gawa River to Inuyama-bashi Bridge. The Inuyama Festival is held on the first Saturday and Sunday of April every year near Haritsuna-jinja Shrine which is situated at the entrance to the castle. Thirteen floats, three stories high, parade with wind-up dolls dancing to the sound of flutes and drums. They parade all through Honmachi-dori Street, with a backdrop of full-blooming cherry trees; it is a gorgeous sight, well worth seeing.
Flowering season: Late March to early April
Address: 65-2 Inuyama-kita-koken, Inuyama, Aichi
Directions: A 15 min walk from Inuyama Station (Meitetsu Line).
West Japan Sakura Viewing Hotspot
1.)Maruyama-koen Park, Tetsugaku-no-michi (Philosopher's Walk) [Kyoto]
Maruyama-koen Park is the oldest park in Kyoto City, situated on a natural hill. It models the kaiyu-style (walking around the pond) Japanese garden, and is one of the city's best leisure and scenic spots for cherry trees. In the center of the park, you can find the marvelous weeping cherry trees (shidare-zakura) named "Gion-no-yozakura," night cherry blossoms of Gion. You can also explore Tetsugaku-no-michi (Philosopher's Walk) which is a narrow path from Ginkaku-ji Temple to Wakaoji-jinja Shrine, to see a vista of cherry blossoms on both sides of the river path from Lake Biwa-ko. Many tourists pay a visit to see the beautiful sight of petals floating on the water, and the historic monuments such as Ginkaku-ji Temple, Honen-in Shrine, and Eikan-do Temple. The season of magnificent autumn tints also attracts a good number of visitors.
Flowering season: Late March to late April
Address: Yasaka-Maruyama, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto / Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Directions: 15 min ride by bus from JR Kyoto Station.
2.)Daigo-ji Temple [Kyoto]
Daigo-ji Temple is on Mt. Kasatori-yama, located on the east side of Fushimi-ku, Kyoto. The area of its precincts is 660 hectares and covers Mt. Daigo-san. Being part of the cultural assets of Old Kyoto, it has been registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598) held big parties under cherry trees, called "Daigo-no-hanami," which also made this place famous for its cherry blossoms. Sanpo-in-teien Garden was designed by Hideyoshi himself to enjoy the cherry blossoms, with a waterfall and an island to complement the marvelous weeping cherry trees (shidare-zakura). It takes about 100 minutes on foot to walk to Kaizan-do Hall on the top of the mountain, and this hike is highly recommended at blossom time.
Flowering season: Late March to Late April
Address: 22 Daigo-higashi-oji-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto
Directions: A 10 min walk from Daigo-ji Station (Subway Tozai Line).
3.)"Toorinuke" - Cherry blossom viewing at Japan Mint [Osaka]
When the cherry trees bloom around mid-April, the Japan Mint in Osaka opens a passage of 560 meters long, from Minami-mon Gate (Tenma-bashi side) to Kita-mon Gate (Sakura-bashi side), to the general public for one week. This area along the old Yodo-gawa River (Tenma, Kita-ku, Osaka) has long been famous for its beautiful scenery, especially in spring when the cherry trees bloom gorgeously. The Japan Mint has been holding this traditional and seasonal event of Osaka since the end of the 19th century. In the Mint, there are about 120 different varieties of the total 370 extant varieties of cherry trees, such as Kanzan, Fugenzo, Shogetsu, Benitemari, Shibayama, Kizakura, and Yokihi.
Flowering season: Mid- to late April
Address: 1-1-79 Tenma, Kita-ku, Osaka
Directions: A 10 min walk from subway Tenmabashi Station.
4.)Senkoji-koen Park [Hiroshima]
Senkoji-koen Park is a scenic spot of cherry trees located at the back of Onomichi Station, spreading from the top to the hillside of Mt. Senkoji-yama (137 m). The park was built in 1894 by the chief priest of Senko-ji Temple. There are nearly 10,000 cherry trees here, mainly comprising Somei-yoshino, but also including weeping cherry trees (shidare-zakura) and sato-zakura. In April, from the observation platform on the top of the mountain, you can enjoy a splendid landscape over the town of Onomichi and the islands of the Inland Sea. Also located there are the City Art Museum, Bungaku-no-komichi (Path of Literature), and an amusement park, making the park very popular, especially for visitors with children.
Flowering season: Early to mid-April
Address: 19-1 Nishi-Tsuchido-cho, Onomichi, Hiroshima
Directions: 5 min ride by bus or 15 min walk from JR Onomichi Station. Then, take Senkoji-yama Ropeway (aerial tramway) for 3 min to Sancho Station (summit station).
5.)Kumamoto-jo Castle [Kumamoto]
Kumamoto-jo Castle is one of the three most famous castles of Japan and was built in the early 17th century by Kato Kiyomasa. The castle has a number of interesting features, such as a stone wall called Musha-gaeshi, the castle tower, which forms a beautiful contrast of black and white, and Naga-bei (the long wall). However, it is the 800 cherry trees that add unrivalled elegance to the castle. The main varieties are Somei-yoshino as well as mountain cherry trees (yama-zakura) and Higo-zakura which make the square in front of the castle tower and the front of Naga-bei a wonderful spot for cherry blossom viewing. This vast castle area is also a cultural place, and houses the Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art, the Kumamoto City Museum, the Kenmotsudai-jumokuen Botanical Garden, and the Kumamoto Prefectural Traditional Crafts Center.
Flowering season: Late March to early April
Address: 1-1 Honmaru, Kumamoto
Directions: 15 min ride from JR Kumamoto Station to Kumamotojo-mae Station (Kumamoto City Tram). It is a 10 min walk from the station.
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