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Story Enjoy Famous Castles and Sakura Spots Simultaneously! Experience Japan’s Spring with Cherry Blossom Festivals By JNTO on 20 February 2020

cherry blossom viewing at spots near the famous castles

visiting of sakura spots in Japan, then why not enjoy hanami (cherry blossom viewing) at spots near the famous castles? In this article, we will go over all these famous spots around the country!


Japan's Symbol of Spring, Sakura(Cherry Blossoms), can be Enjoyed Up from January to May Depending on the Area!

Cherry Blossoms
With Japan's itself being a long and narrow country, and its areas from Okinawa, Kyushu, Kansai, and Kanto- the season for cherry blossom blooming arrives later the further north it is.
Looking at the average time blossoming started between 2011 to 2019, it begins with Okinawa and Naha's Higanzakura beginning its sakura season from January 18th, then Fukuoka and Kyoto, Tokyo from around end of March, Aomori from around April 24th, and Sapporo from May 3rd.
If you choose your destination at the right time, you can enjoy hanami even in mid-May!
cherry blossom in Hanami
Not to mention, we say “Sakura(cherry blossom)” but there are many varieties of these flowers, with their blooming seasons differing as well. One of the most common representatives of sakura are the “Someiyoshino” or the Yoshino cherry variety, usually blooming between March and April.
Someiyoshino or the Yoshino cherry variety
In comparison, the “Kanhizakura” in Okinawa and Izu's “Kawazusakura” blooms earlier in January and February. The sakura known to blossom late are the Yaezakura variety such as the “Asahiyama”.

cherry blossom

Sakura matsuri, or cherry blossom festivals, are held alongside the blooming sakura trees. Popular festival sites include Matsumae Park (where Matsumae Castle ruin is located) of Hokkaido, Kajo Park (where Yamagata Castle is located) of Yamagata, Nagoya Castle of Aichi, and Akashi Park (where Akashi Castle is located) of Hyogo!

Sakura matsuri and Famous Castles


The Great Sakura Spots with an Entire Moat Covered in a Carpet of Pink Petals!
The Hirosaki Sakura Festival 2020 (Aomori Prefecture)

Hirosaki Castle and sakura trees
Aomori's Hirosaki Park is known as one of the best locations for sakura by many locals.
The Hirosaki Park, where the Hirosaki Castle is surrounded by the Moat of Mie and earthen walls, house many sakura trees including the Someiyoshino, Shidarezakura, and Yaezakura varieties of. With an approximate total of 50 varieties of sakura and 2600 of their trees here, it makes for a beautiful, picturesque scene when they blossom. This famous spot for sakura known to bring in about 2 million visitors annually. Among the many trees, is a Yoshino sakura tree that was planted back in the 15th year of the Meiji Era (1882) making it the oldest planted tree of that variety!

picturesque scene when sakura blossom

It is recommended that you check out the outer moat first. After the full bloom of these sakura, the moat becomes completely covered with flower petals, and the phenomenon is known as “hana-ikada.”
Then you can proceed to the moat on the west side, which has cherry blossom trees planted alongside 360 metres of the road. You will be amazed as you go through this magnificent tunnel of beautiful sakura trees. Finally, it is recommended that you appreciate the sakura in the water up close by riding the available boat across the moat of petals(please note that this is a paid service). It is a completely different experience from your usual cherry blossom viewing!


Hirosaki Sakura Festival
Address: 1 Shimoshiroganecho, Hirosaki, Aomori
Access: From Hirosaki Station, take the Dote-machi Loop Bus for 100 yen and about 10 minutes to the bus stop “Hirosaki Park”.
Event Period: 23 April to 6 May 2020
*Certain areas require entry fee


View Cherry Blossoms During a Tea Ceremony
Tsuruga Castle Sakura Festival (Fukushima Prefecture)

Tsuruga Castle Sakura Festival
Tsuruga Castle is known as the impregnable symbol of Fukushima Prefecture’s Aizuwakamatsu city.
Here, the Tsuruga Castle Sakura Festival is held. Tsuruga Castle is the only castle in Japan known for its impressive red roof tiles and the contrasting white castle walls.
Tsuruga Castle Sakura Festival
While the festival, you can try making matcha green tea for yourself by participating in the “Tsuruga Castle Festival Tea Ceremony”. You can experience a variety of Japanese traditions here, from watching performances of Japanese Taiko drums and folk songs of the local area to trying out the limited-time Kimono rental and dressing service (reservation and rental fee required). Finally, it is recommended seeing East Japan's grandest night-time special light up!

East Japan's grandest night-time special light up in Tsuruga Castle Sakura Festival

  • Tsuruga Castle Sakura Festival
  • Address: 1-1 Otemachi, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima 
  • Access: From Aizu-Wakamatsu Station on JR Banetsu West Line, take Machinaka Shuyu Bus “Haikara-san” and get off at Tsuruga Castle North Entrance “Tsurugajo Kitaguchi”, then take a 5-minute walk.
  • Event Period: Early April to early May


The Takato Kohiganzakura at Takato Castle Park Sakura Festival (Nagano Prefecture)

Takato Castle Park in Nagano

Takato Castle Park in Nagano is also one of the three great sakura spots of Japan along with Hirosaki Park. Enjoy the grand view of sakura with the Japanese Central Alps and Southern Alps in the background, still partially covered in snow! Along with the native variety of sakura which is the ”Takato Kohiganzakura”, there are 1500 trees that go into full bloom.

The Takato Kohiganzakura have flowers that are small in size, but do not turn white like many sakura do, but instead have a strong pink colour with brilliant red hue, making for an extraordinary scene.
Takato Castle Park Sakura Festival

  • Takato Castle Park Sakura Festival
  • Address:Takatomachi Higashitakato, Ina, Nagano
  • Access: During the festival, take the looping bus that runs from JR Takato Bus Station, and get off at “Joshi Koen iriguchi(Castle park entrance)” Bus Stop (bus journey is about 10 minutes)
  • Event Period: Late March to 30 April

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