5 Recommended Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Japan’s Tohoku Region

  • VARIOUS AREAS
  • SPOT
  • For the best cherry blossom viewing experience in the Tohoku region, which is located in the north of Japan right below the island of Hokkaido, it is best to follow the direction of the sakura bloom from south to north. The flowers usually bloom from the end of March until the end of April. Let’s have a look at some of the most interesting locations to enjoy cherry blossoms in Tohoku!

    1. Miharu Takizakura, Fukushima

    Miharu Takizakura (三春滝桜, literally “waterfall cherry tree of Miharu”) is the name of the tree that is over 1,000 years old in Miharu, Fukushima. About 12 meters (39 feet) high, its light pink flowers spread in all directions from its branches, resembling a waterfall. It is one of Japan’s oldest cherry blossom trees and one of the three beni-shidarezakura (Weeping Higan Cherry) trees in the country.

    This very tree was designated as a National Treasure in 1922 and has survived many natural disasters throughout the years, including the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

    There are about 10,000 cherry trees in the park, with approximately 2,000 of them being Weeping Cherry trees.

    Bloom period: mid to late April
    Address: Sakurakubo 91, Taki, Miharu-machi, Tamura-gun, Fukushima
    Hours: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM
    Admission: 300 yen per person (free for junior high students and younger)
    Telephone: +81 247 62 3690 (Miharu Tourism Association)
    Parking: large parking lot available (around 850 vehicles)
    Pets: allowed
    Access: 30 minutes by bus from JR Miharu Station (520 yen one way), an additional temporary 25-minute bus service is available during the peak of the cherry blossom season (1,000 yen round trip plus admission to the tree)

    Miharu Takizakura Website
    Access

    2. Kajo Castle (Yamagata Castle) Park, Yamagata

    In 1906, many sakura trees were planted around Kajo Castle Park, which used to be the site of the Kajo or Yamagata Castle, to commemorate the Russo-Japanese War. There are many different varieties of cherry blossoms here and there is a moat with sakura trees lining it. The Yamagata Prefectural Museum is also located within the park.

    The Kan-ou-Kai (sakura viewing festival) is held annually at Kajo Castle Park. On weekdays during the festival, there are illuminations, a tea ceremony, and koto music performances.

    Bloom period: mid to late April
    Address: 1-7, Kajo machi, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata
    Hours: 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM (nighttime illumination viewing is from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM)
    Admission: free
    Telephone: +81 023 647 2266 (Yamagata Tourist Information Center)
    Parking: 220 free parking lots and a toll parking lot on the outskirts
    Access: about a 10-minute walk from JR Yamagata Station

    Kajo Castle Park Website
    Access

    3. Hirosaki Park, Aomori

    The park located within the castle compound contains 2,600 trees, which were originally planted in the year 1903. You definitely should not miss the sight of sakura petals floating on the castle’s outer moat!

    One of Japan’s three major sakura sites, a sakura festival is held yearly at Hirosaki Park. In 2018, it will be held from April 21 to May 6. Interesting attractions during the blooming season include cherry blossom tunnels, picnic areas, rowing boat rentals, a variety of cherry trees, and illuminations in the evenings.

    Bloom period: late April to early May
    Address: 1, Shimoshirogane-cho, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori
    Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (longer hours during the sakura festival), 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM for the Botanical Garden (tickets sold until 5:30 PM)
    Admission:
    Honmaru/Kita no Kuruwa – 310 yen per adult, 100 yen per child (for a group of more than 10: 250 yen per adult, 80 yen per child)
    Hirosaki Castle Botanical Garden – 310 yen per adult, 100 yen per child (for a group of more than 10: 250 yen per adult, 80 yen per child)
    Combined ticket – 510 yen per adult, 160 yen per child (for a group of more than 10: 460 yen per adult, 130 yen per child)
    Telephone: +81 172 33 8733 (General Incorporated Foundation Hirosaki City Midori Association), +81 0172 33 8739 (Hirosaki City Park and Green Land Sector)
    Access: 15 minutes by the Dotemachi Loop Bus from the west side of JR Hirosaki Station, get off at the Shiyakusho-mae bus stop

    Hirosaki Park Website
    Access

    4. Kitakami Tenshochi Park, Iwate

    

    Being one of the top three cherry blossom sites in Tohoku, Kitakami Tenshochi Park should definitely not be missed as it has around 10,000 cherry blossom trees lining Kitakami River. The sakura tunnel is about two kilometers long. Food vendors and festival event venues can also be found at both ends of the path during the Cherry Blossom Festival. You can also ride one of the sightseeing boats available, which departs from the rest house at the south end of the park (1,300 yen per person, 20 minutes).

    Besides Kitakami River, there are also the Michinoku Folklore Village and Jingaoka Hill where you can enjoy viewing sakura.

    Address: Kitakami Tenshochi Park, Tachibana, Kitakami, Iwate
    Telephone: +81 197 65 0300
    Access: 20-minute walk from Kitakami Station / 15-minute bus ride from Kitakami Station (however, these buses tend to get stuck in traffic during peak season) / 7-minute ferry ride along the river (only available during the sakura festival)

    Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom Festival Website
    Access

    5. Okitama Sakura Corridor, Yamagata

    Located in the Okitama Basin of Yamagata Prefecture, you can see cherry blossom trees alongside approximately 43 kilometers of Yamagata Railway’s Flower Nagai Line, making it a popular cherry blossom tour route.

    The corridor is dotted with cherry blossom trees of more than 1,200 to 1,500 years old. There is a variety of about 1,000 cherry blossom species in the surrounding areas of Nagai City, Nanyo City, and the town of Shirataka. The Okitama Sakura Corridor extends from Akayu Hot Spring to Shirataka. With around 20 cherry blossom sites to boast, visitors can also rent bicycles to ride and enjoy the views.

    Bloom period: late April to early May
    Location: Nagai, Nanyo, and Shirataka areas of Yamagata Prefecture
    Telephone: +81 238 87 0827
    Access: taxi/local train/bicycle from Nagai Station or Akayu Station, or ride the Flower Nagai Line

    Okitama Sakura Corridor Website

    If you happen to be in the Tohoku region of Japan during cherry blossom season, do not miss out on viewing these beautiful blooms. Each place listed above is unique in their own way. However, be reminded that parking lots fill up quickly during sakura season, which is why public transport is very much recommended. Now, how about some sakura hunting?