Try Cherry Blossom Viewing At Night At These 4 Locations
When we think of hanami or cherry blossom viewing, we usually picture gorgeous pink sakura looking its best in the daylight. However, because most people do their business while the sun is up, Yozakura – the practice of illuminating cherry blossom trees at night – has also become its own attraction during Japan’s spring season. This nighttime cherry blossom festival can be witnessed in four major places in Japan – Saga, Tottori, Aomori, and of course, Tokyo. Curious to learn more? Here’s what to expect in each of these Yozakura viewing locations.
1. Meguro River in Tokyo
Crowds pour in Tokyo from late March to early April to witness the beautiful cherry blossom display dressing the city. But when it comes to Yozakura, Meguro River is the place to be. Located in the laidback but trendy Nakameguro district, Meguro River is lined with over 800 sakura trees stretching up to 3.8 kilometers on both sides during this period. These trees form a mesmerizing pink arch over the water, which looks ethereal as soon as the illuminations start at sundown.
There’s also the Nakameguro Cherry Blossom Festival held every end of March to beginning of April, where food and game stalls, as well as musical acts, add to the allure of the occasion. The 2022 event is postponed due to safety precautions, but make sure to look forward to it in years to come.
How to get there: Take a five-minute train ride from Shibuya Station to either Meguro Station or Nakameguro station.
2. Mifuneyama Rakuen in Saga
Mifuneyama Rakuen, designed and built by feudal Lord Nabeshima Shigeyoshi and completed in 1845 is located in Takeo City. It is known for its 500,000-meter-wide floral landscape. The mix of cherry blossoms, azaleas, and plum trees gives the site a fairytale-like feel that looks even more magical when everything gets lit up after sunset. This location also has a traditional Japanese tea house and is home to statues paying homage to 500 disciples of Buddha.
How to get there: Ride a train to JR Takeo-Onsen Station. From there, you can choose to take a 20-minute walk or a 5-minute taxi ride to reach the site or ride a bus headed to Ureshino Onsen. Alight at the Mifuneyama Rakuen bus stop.
3. Utsubuki Park in Tottori
Home to almost 4,000 sakura trees and around 40,000 azaleas, Utsubuki Park is a must-visit site when in Tottori. This park is surrounded by flowers all year round but breathes extra life around spring, especially when night illuminations are set. Another key highlight of the park is the red bridge at the entrance that’s built over a clear pond that charmingly reflects the surrounding flora. Make sure you make a lot of room on your phone’s gallery when visiting because taking tons of photos is simply a must!
How to get there: From JR Kurayoshi station, ride a bus headed to Akagawara-Shirakabedozo. Once you’re there, follow the 10-minute trail to Utsubuki Park. You can also ride a bus headed to Shiyakusho Utsubuki Koen Iriguchi, which leads to a 5-minute trail to the park.
4. Hirosaki Park in Aomori
Cherry blossoms are beautiful but fleeting, which usually makes the viewing experience bittersweet. However, at Hirosaki Park in Aomori, falling sakura petals become even more beautiful as they fill the inner and outer moats of the Hirosaki Castle, creating a pink carpet. Because of this, the city is dubbed “the best place to see cherry blossoms after the petals have fallen.” Talk about apt considering that Aomori cherry blossoms bloom later (usually last) than other places in the country. Yozakura in this town serves as a beautiful farewell to the spring season, don’t you think?
How to get there: Ride the Dotemachi Loop Bus located at JR Hirosaki Station. Get off at Shiyakusho-mae bus stop and take a 5-minute walk to Hirosaki Castle grounds.