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Story Kyushu: Seasonal Activities by JNTO on 04 January 2018

While Kyushu’s full of historic castles and timeless temples, seasonal events – like cherry blossom-viewing and various festivals – add to its charm.

Cherry Blossom Viewing


Situated in southern Japan, Kyushu’s sakura (cherry blossom) season arrives earlier compared to more northern places like Kyoto or Tokyo, blooming from late March to early April.


Omura Park (Nagasaki): Home to Kushima Castle and the Kushima Shrine, Omura Park is one of Japan’s top cherry blossom viewing locations when 2,000 blooming cherry trees all turn pink. The local omurazakura cherry variety is designated as a Natural Treasure of Japan.


sakura viewing omura park


Yanagawa river (Fukuoka): Like a Japanese version of Venice, traditional donko (gondolas) ply the ancient network of canals surrounding Yanagawa Castle, making it a unique way to see cherry blossoms from the water.


sakura viewing yanagama river


Maizuru Park (Fukuoka): Maizuru Park, located downtown, is home to the ruins of Fukuoka Castle and over 1,000 sakura trees accessible via scenic walking trails. At night, the trees and castle are lit up, accompanied by around 90 yatai (traditional food stalls) that pop up for the festival.


sakura viewing maizuru park


Yoshino Park (Kagoshima): One of Kyushu’s most iconic sakura-viewing spots is Yoshino Park which is home to 800 cherry trees. Concentrated in a single large grove, you can admire them against the backdrop of iconic Sakurajima in the distance.


sakura viewing yoshino park


Kirishima-jingu (Kagoshima): Famous for its fall foliage, it’s also one of Kagoshima’s best sakura-viewing spots. One of Japan’s most revered locations, the 6th century Shinto shrine is linked to the story of Konohanasakuya-hime, or Cherry Blossom Princess, the mythical mountain goddess of Mt. Fuji.


sakura viewing kirishima-jingu


Mochio Park (Miyazaki): One of Japan’s top 100 sakura viewing spots, Michio Park is home to over 2,600 cherry trees. A sakura ‘tunnel’ lines the road into Michio, and there’s a popular 2km walking path that weaves through thousands of trees in the park where you’ll find three varieties of cherry trees, including the yaeshidarezakura (weeping cherry), which blooms slightly later than other trees.


Spring & Summer Festivals


With its diverse culture and landscape, no matter when (or where) you visit Kyushu, you’re likely to find a festival happening.


Nagasaki Lantern Festival (16th February - 2nd March, 2018), Nagasaki Prefecture


Spanning 15 days over the Chinese New Year period, festivities are centered on Chuo Park and Minato Park, including the opening light-up in both parks, as well as fireworks in Minato. There’s also the impressive Emperor’s Parade, followed by the Mazu Procession. The entire city is adorned with over 15,000 festive lanterns for the duration of the festival, creating a romantic atmosphere.


spring summer festival nagasakilantern


Hakata Dontaku Port Festival (3-4th May)


With a legacy stretching back over 800 years, the Hakata Dontaku Port Festival is one of Japan’s biggest and oldest street parades where thousands of dancers march through the streets in traditional costumes, banging wooden shamoji (large rice spoons) together, followed by hundreds of brightly-lit vehicles called hana jidosha. Participants and onlookers alike dress in traditional summer garb and gorge on festival fare at yatai stalls which pop-up along the route.


spring summer fest hakata dontaku


Now's the time to experience Kyushu!


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