It's late in the spring, and you have just realized that you missed seeing the cherry blossoms this year. Don’t worry because you’ll still be able to see gorgeous cherry blossoms in the northern parts of the country. These late blooming cherry trees are still decorated with blossoms for your hanami pleasure! Below is a short list of some famous sakura sites which you can visit as late as May.
So c'mon and hustle up north to see these end-of-season-beauties, because when these are gone, the blossoms will really be gone—until next year!
Hirosaki Park, in the southwest section of Aomori prefecture, is a public park containing the famous Hirosaki Castle ruins. Most of the original parts of the castle, which was built in 1611, have been beautifully preserved, and the castle tower, wooden stage, and gate have all been appointed important cultural properties. The grounds of the park enclose 2,600 cherry trees of fifty different varieties, and the view is so spectacular that the park has been designated as one of the top 100 locations for cherry blossom viewing in Japan. Wander through cherry blossom tunnels, admire the petal-filled moats from your own rented rowboat, and pay a visit to the Hirosaki Castle Botanical Garden and Gokoku Shrine while you’re in the park. Nighttime visitors are treated to a vision of illuminated trees for a hauntingly beautiful sight.
Also known as one of the top 100 cherry blossom sights, this park additionally has the honor of being one of the three most beautiful hanami sites in northern Japan. Old Somei Yoshino trees, over 90 years old, are aligned in a row extending for about a mile creating a picturesque canopy to walk under. With a carpet of cherry blossom petals beneath your feet, you won’t forget this visit in a hurry. The park is 724 acres, and in addition to the Somei Yoshino trees, features 10,000 cherry trees of 150 varieties. The trees blossom at different times during the season, finishing with the Beni Yamazakura in early May. Visitors may view the blossoms along the Kitakami River from the Jingaoka Hills within the park or even hop on a riverboat cruise to relax and enjoy the view. You’ll also sail under the 300 carp streamers which are hung every year and dance beautifully in the wind.
Located in the city of Hakodate, Goryokaku Park is considered one of the best places to view cherry blossoms in the city. Goryokaku Park also houses the Goryokaku, which was originally a fort and uniquely designed in the shape of a five-sided star; it has been declared a Special Historic Site. Within the park are 1,600 cherry trees, including Somei Yoshino and Yaezakura which usually come into full bloom in late April and last through May. The trees are planted along the moat and the inside of the star-shaped castle wall ruins. Visitors may enjoy a leisurely viewing of the blossoms as they relax on a boat ride along the moat. The trees are also illuminated at night to extend your viewing pleasure. While in the park, you can also view the Hakodate City Museum which is housed there, as well as climb the observation tower where you can catch an aerial view of the fort and the blossoms.
One of the most popular cherry blossom spots, attracting over 1 million tourists each year is Kakunodate (also known as Little Kyoto), a scenic town that is listed as one of the three famous cherry blossom spots of Michinoku. The town is famous for its light pink Shidarezakura or weeping cherry trees, some of which are over 200 years old, with 162 of them being considered Natural Monuments of Japan. Kakunodate was originally a castle town and home to samurai warriors, so there are many historic buildings to explore as you wander about the cherry blossoms blooming all around you. Just a five-minute walk from the town, you’ll reach the banks of the Hinokinai River, a popular walking spot that is also known as the Sakura Mile. During the spring season, over four hundred of these weeping cherry blossom trees form a stunning tunnel that stretches two kilometers making this a perfect spot for strolls along the river.