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Cherry tree [East Japan]

Japan's Four Seasons and Flowers

Japan In-depth

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.


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.


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).


Ueno-Onshi-koen Park, Shinjuku Gyoen 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.
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

Ueno-Onshi-koen Park
Address: Taito-ku, Tokyo
Directions: A 5 min walk from JR Ueno Station (Yamanote Line).
Admission: Free
Closed: Open throughout the year

Shinjuku Gyoen Park
Address: 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).
Admission: 200 yen for adults
Closed: Mondays (if the Monday is a national holiday, it is closed on the following day), New Year's holidays (Dec. 29-Jan. 3)


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
Direction: 25 min ride by bus from JR Ina-shi Station to Takato. It is a 15 min walk from the bus stop.
Admission: 500 yen (charged only during the cherry-blossom season)


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).
Admission: 500 yen for adults