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Castle Town Obata Cherry Blossom Festival

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Castle Town Obata Cherry Blossom Festival


A striking parade of samurai warriors walking the streets of Kanra at the height of cherry blossom season

Gunma Prefecture


The Obata Castle in central Kanra, Gunma Prefecture, was the seat of power for the ruling Obata Domain for almost 300 years during the Sengoku and Edo periods (15th to 19th centuries). Unfortunately, the castle was destroyed and only its clay walls and dry moats remains, but today, more than 150 years after the end of the Edo period, the castle town of Obata retains much of the period architecture and samurai spirit.

From picturesque streets to preserved samurai residences, Obata is filled with enchanting links to Japan’s bygone days. The town was developed along the Ogawa-zeki Waterway, which is considered as one of Japan's 100 Famous Waters. The local Rakusan-en Park is a nationally-renowned landscape garden where visitors can enjoy matcha tea at a range of tea houses or simply stroll the grounds surrounded by magnificent natural sights.



Every year in April, the residents revive the ancient samurai spirit during the Castle Town Obata Cherry Blossom Festival, the biggest spring event in Kanra. The local populace fills the streets, as a force of 400 don authentic Japanese armor and follow their leader on horseback through dazzling streets lined with cherry blossom trees. This Warrior Procession celebrates the history of the area and welcomes non-Japanese residents as well as young children to partake in a range of uniquely enjoyable activities and attractions, including matchlock rifle and sword demonstrations, drum performances, and open-air tea ceremonies.




How to get there


From Takasaki Station, take the Joshin Line to Joshu-Fukushima (30 minutes), then a taxi for 5 minutes.


747-1 Obata, Kanra-cho, Kanra-gun, Gumma-ken



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