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Sakura viewing spots expecting blossoming around March 31st
Tochigi Prefecture
Hachimanyama Park
Hachimanyama Park, a popular holiday spot for local people, is a park placed on the north of Futaarayama Shrine on the hills of Hachimanyama. The garden inside this large park has 600 cherry trees and 2,300 roots of azalea. Besides the garden, there are a zoo, a botanical garden and sports facilities.
Ohirayama Prefectural Natural Park
Ohirayama Park is registered as one of the ten best viewing spots of Kanto region and is 343 meters high. From here you can look out over Kanto Plain and even see as far as Mt. Fuji. Especially the view from Kenshindaira near the top is so beautiful that it has a nickname of “Matsushima of the land”. For about 4 kilometers to the top, you can enjoy a hike through a tunnel of cherry blossoms.
Gunma Prefecture
Mt.Myogi sits on the borders of Gunma and Nagano Prefectures. It is an area of weathered rocky peaks and is counted as one of the Three Great Places of Rare Scenic Beauty. On the western foot of the mountain lays Sakura-no-sato where 15,000 cherry trees of about 50 kinds are planted since 1978 and show brilliant beauty during blossoming season.
Numata Park situating on the site of former Numata Castle is on a hill northwest to the city center. The Edohigan cherry tree in the park is said to have been planted almost 440 years ago commemorating the founding of the castle. Despite the number of old trees, the blossoms are surprisingly rich and splendid.
Yase River
In 1936 several hudred cherry trees had been planted on both banks of Yasegawa, a river running through the former post town Ota. The riverbanks are now favorite places for local people to view cherry blossoms, and the river is a nice place to take a walk for Nishikigoi carps swim in the clear stream.
Kezouji Park
Inside Kezouji Park locating north to Isesaki City, lies Kezouji pond on the west side of the prefectural route. The vast park is famous as a blossom-viewing spot especially around the pond, and towards spring aquatic plants start to bloom as well. Also in Kezouji Temple there is a gigantic tree of Orange Osmanthus which is registered as a national natural monument.
Saitama Prefecture
Minoyama Park
The 583-meter-high Mt.Minoyama is located on the border of Minano Town and Chichibu City, and is the only independent mountain in Chichibu district. On the top of the mountain is Minoyama Park, and about 10,000 cherry trees in 97 different kinds blossom in spring. The facilities are in good condition and the park is a popular spot for viewing cherry blossoms.
Kumagaya Sakura-tsutsumi
“Kumagaya Sakura-tsutsumi” is a nickname for the riverbanks of Arakawa, particularly the south of Kumagaya City. It has been selected as one of the 100 best cherry blossom spots of Japan, and in the pre-war days the riverbanks were so popular that extra trains for cherry blossom viewing setting out from Ueno were temporarily added. Today 500 Someiyoshino cherry trees create a grand view of cherry blossoms for 2 kilometers. There is a festival held at the same time.
Nagatoro, a small town 80 kilometers north from central Tokyo is a place of scenic beauty at the upper stream of Arakawa River. In spring, the row of cherry trees stretching out along Arakawa River north to south from Nagatoro Station is absolutely astonishing. You can take a wonderful walk through the tunnel of shower of cherry blossoms on a warm sunny day. There are quite a number of old trees, but there are many young trees as well. Among 2,000 cherry trees, the 200 year-old (estimate) Edohiganzakura and the weeping cherry tree with 16 meters of branch spread in Hozenji temple grounds are especially worth having a look.
Tokyo Prefecture
Tama Park of Forestry and Science (Tama Shinrin Kagaku-en)
In this base of general forestry studies, there is a preserved forest of cherry trees where 1,800 cherry trees of 250 kinds are planted. Until 15 years ago the park was open to the public only during blossoming season, but because there are so many visitors the park is now open with admission fee. Here you can see rare kinds of cherry blossoms including Kenrokuen Kikuzakura which a single blossom has 300 petals, the yellow-green blossoms of Gyoiko, and Surugadainioi, the representative of fragrant cherry.
Yamanashi Prefecture
Lake Kawaguchiko
A number of cherry trees surround Kawaguchiko, one of the Fuji Five Lakes The view seen from Ubugayasaki is especially marvelous, with the cherry trees in the front and Mt. Fuji in the back. At the time of full blossoming of the cherry trees, the great mountain is still covered in snow. Kawaguchiko is one of the few places where you can get the elegant view of white and pink contrast.
Kanazakura Shrine
Kanazakura Shrine is a famous God for medicine, and is a shrine with beautiful cherry blossoms located about 2 kilometers northeast of Kofu City. On top of the Someiyoshino trees there are also Ukonzakura blossoms which put on rare cherry blossoms in yellow.
Maizuru Park
This park, located in the heart of Kofu City and is commonly used as a relaxation park for local people, is the site of former Kofu Castle. As you go up to the top of the stonewall piled up high, you can get a great view of the Southern Alps and Mt.Fuji. The cherry trees grow as to surround the stonewall and outs on elegant blossoms.
Ohboshi Park
Placed in the center of Kajikazawa Town, Ohboshi Park has a great view of Kofu Basin. The cherry trees first planted in 1967 are still young yet large in number, and about 2,000 cherry trees including Someiyoshino and weeping cherry trees fills up the park. Ohboshi Park has been registered as one of the 100 best spots of cherry blossoms in 1990.
Shinjuku Gyoen
Gifu Prefecture
Kamagadani has been known for its Yamazakura and Higanzakura for a long time. The valley was named Kamagadani, for from a distance the valley looks like it has haze when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. A few thousand cherry trees growing along the street at the foot of Mt.Ikeda are rich in color and are wild. Kamagadani has been registered scenic beauty and national natural monument in 1928, and as 100 best cherry blossoms in 1989.
Aichi Prefecture
Yamazakigawa Riverbank
The range from Ishikawa Bridge spanning over Yamazaki River to Mizuho Park is known to be one of the major spots for cherry blossoms in the city. About 600 Someiyoshino form a row of cherry trees and there is a promenade where you can enjoy seasonal faces of the area.
Tsurumai Park
Made in 1909, this park is the first public park made by Nagoya City. A large water fountain and sports complex are included in the vast park, and in the Japanese-Western mixed garden about 1,000 cherry trees spread out their branches to show off their gorgeous flowers. The park is also known for roses and azalea.
Although it’s called a “yama”, Komakiyama is more like a hill having only 86 meters of height. It is famous as a battle fort first used by legendary Oda Nobunaga at the time of is conquest of Mino region and afterwards by Tokugawa Ieyasu at the battle of Nagakude. During the blossoming season the hill gets covered in pink from corner to corner.
Nagoya Castle
The Golden Killerwhale on top of the Nagoya Castle tower is now a very famous symbol of Nagoya. Nagoya Castle has been built in the order of Tokugawa Ieyasu for is son. The Golden Killerwhale built on top of the main castle tower reconstructed in 1959 was made in the Osaka Mint Bureau, and uses 1,272kg (2,800 lbs) of 18K gold. 2,000 cherry trees grown on the castle grounds as if to fill up the castle.
Kiso Riverbank
Cherry trees line up on the banks of Kiso River for about 3 kilometers. These trees were planted starting in 1885, and now approximately 600 cherry trees color the northern parts of Ichinomiya City. During the blossoming season many people take a slow walk in the shower of petals or cycle under the pink arcades.
Inuyama Castle
This castle is known to be the oldest remaining castle in Japan and is included as one of the Four National Treasure Castle of Japan. From the castle tower built on a small hill you can have a grand view of Inuyama City, Komakiyama and Owari Fuji. There are a number of cherry trees on the castle ground and also along the paths.
Mie Prefecture
Matsuzaka Castle
Currently the site is Matsuzaka Park, but there used to be a grand castle on this ground. The park is located on a hill west of Matsuzaka Station and on the right bank of Hannai River, and has a shrine and former residence of Motoori Norinaga (18C’s prominent studier of Japanese classics). In spring visitors can view the splendid blanket of cherry blossoms covering up the castle ground.
Kyuka Park
Kyuka Park is located at the mouth of Nagara River, a river flowing into Ise Bay together with Kiso River. Besides the cherry trees, there are also wisteria and azalea which vividly color up the park. Kuwana City has many places to visit including Kaizoji Temple or the ruins of Kuwana Castle.
Shinpukuin is a prominent temple of Shingon sect of Buddhism. It is located 3 kilometers west from Ise Okitsu Station, and a row of 2,000 cherry trees stretch out for 1.5 kilometers along the approach to the temple. Local residents call the marvelous tunnel of blossoms “Mitaki no Sakura”, which brings spring to this mountain land.
Shiga Prefecture
The Mii Temple Drainage
Miidera is the head temple of Tendai sect located on the middle of Mt. Nagaranoyama. The drainage draws water from Lake Biwa, and flows on the eastern side of the Temple. The drainage has a line of cherry blossoms on its west bank and boasts off a spectacular view in spring. On top of the view of Lake Biwa, you can get a grand view of 1,000 Someiyoshino from the Kannon Hall of the Temple.
Shinjuku Gyoen
Ishiyama Temple
It is said that the historical female writer Murasakishikibu built the plot for her masterpiece “The Story of the Genji (Genji Monogatari)” in this old temple. With Mt.Garan in the back, the temple is located at a place of sceninc beauty looking out over Seta River and not only laypeople but also the Imperial Family has worshipped this temple for centuries. In spring, 1,500 cherry trees produce beautiful blossoms all together.
Nagara Park
Nagara Park spreads out on the middle to the foot of Mt.Nagaranoyama on the southwest of Hamaotsu City. 1,500 cherry trees grow on the slope of the park and blossom at once stirring up spring’s excitement. The blossoms are lit up at night and show another aspect of beauty.
Shinjuku Gyoen
Nara Prefecture
The 8-km-long counterfort stretching from the north to south of Omine mountain range is called Yoshinoyama. In addition to the Shugen-do temples, there are many historical sites from the Nambokucho Period (full 14C). Since the ancient days Yoshinoyama has been known as one of the best places to view cherry blossoms in Japan and the sakura here is read in many poems and songs.
Shinjuku Gyoen
Most of the 30,000 cherry trees coloring the counterfort in elegant beauty are Shiroyamazakura.
Kofukuji was the center of Buddhism in Nara Period and has produced many high priests since more than one thousand years ago. It is located within the grounds of Nara Park and the view of the Goju-no-toh (five-layered tower) seen from Sarusawa Pond is particularly beautiful. Many cherry trees grow on the temple grounds and brings back the atmosphere of the ancient days.
Nara Park
The vast park retaining the air of the ancient days ranges from Mt.Wakakusa and Mt.Kasuga to Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Shrine. You can see Nara-Yaezakura here and there inside the park, but a lot of the trees concentrate on Wakakusayama mountain. Also, raw woods of Yaezakura still remain on the temple grounds of Chisokuin, Todaiji Temple.
Shinjuku Gyoen
Tanzan Shrine
Tanzan Shrine is said to be the location where Fujiwarano Kamatari and Nakano-Oeno Prince formed a ring to overthrow Sogano Iruka (mid-7C A.D.). The main hall, hall of worship, thirteen-layered tower, etc. are located in the mountains of Tonomine, and around 1,000 cherry trees are planted on the shrine grounds. The place is well known for the crowd cruising in to view the cherry blossoms.
Monju-bosatsu (Bodai Satva), the principal image of the temple and the kyoji (the sculptures accompanying the bosatsu) are said to be works of An’ami, the master craftsman of Kamakura Period, and are counted as one of the Three Great Monju of Japan. A temple building stands by Monju Pond and the numerous cherry trees blossom as to remember the air of the old days.
Koriyama Joshi Park
Koriyama Castle was built in 1580, and the cherry trees were transplanted from Tonomine at the time of enlargement of the castle 5 years later. The gates and towers are restored and the site is now a castle ruin park. There are about 1,000 cherry trees mostly on the south side and west park which are lit up at night.
Spirited Away (2001)
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