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Cherry Blossoms 2007

Yozakura : Cherry Blossoms at Night

The beauty of cherry blossoms is not limited to the gradation of faint to dark pink under the brisk blue sky and warm sunlight of spring. The blossoms providing elegant, noble and lovely views during the daytime shows a completely different kind of beauty after dark. From the ancient times Japanese people have had as much affection for sakura during nighttime as daytime, appreciating the blossoms under the moonlight and with the light of the paper lanterns or torches.

Below are some famous sakura viewing places especially known for the beauty of yozakura, night blossoms. The dimly illuminated blossoms with an illusionary and fantastical kind of beauty can be enjoyed in various ways, from quietly walking among the trees to having cheerful hanami parties.

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Gojo River | Aichi Prefecture
Gojo River snake its way through Iwakura, a city located to the north of Nagoya. In spring you can have a view of “Nombori-arai”, a seasonal scene of washing the freshly dyed koinobori cloth. Lines of cherry trees stretch along the river for 7.6km, and at night the river reflects the beautiful image of the lit-up blossoms.
Wakayama Castle | Wakayama Prefecture
Wakayama Castle was built by Toyotomi Hidenaga in the order of his brother Toyotomi Hideyoshi when he obtained Kishu (today Wakayama). The castle tower made of three layers of white chalk looks out over Kii aqueduct and the castle park provides a place of relaxation and recreation for local people. At night the paper lantern light brings out the elegant beauty of cherry flowers blossoming by the castle moat.
Maruyama Park | Kyoto Prefecture
Maruyama Park
You cannot miss the night cherry flowers when speaking of spring in Kyoto. On the western side of the Hyotan Pond located in the center of the park is the famous weeping cherry tree which at night is lit up from beneath. Besides the illumination of trees, bonfires go on till dawn and attract many visitors at night as well.
Heian Shrine | Kyoto Prefecture
The main shrine still resembles the old palace of more than a thousand years ago. This circuit style Japanese garden with the area of 30,000 square meters contains about 450 cherry trees which continuously put on flowers including Someiyoshino. The most astonishing is perhaps the view of 140 Benishida trees bearing flowers. Trees are illuminated during blossoming season and produce a festivity of brilliant colors.
Osaka Expo Memorial Park | Osaka Prefecture
Bampaku Park
This park opened as a sports, leisure and cultural complex on the site of ’70 Osaka Expo. During the blossoming season the park lights up the cherry trees and creates a beautiful scene, and you can also enjoy translunary shows staged with live Japanese traditional music, laser beam and fireworks.
Tsuruyama Park | Okayama Prefecture
Tsuruyama Park is built on the site of former Tsuyama Castle. The site built in a form of terrace retains the architectural style of the Edo Period and is designated as a national historical site. In the flower season a daimyo march parades the park during the day and at night the blossoms are lit up.
Kumamoto Castle | Kumamoto Prefecture
Kumamoto Castle is said to be one of the Three Major Castles of Japan alongside of Osaka Castle and Nagoya Castle. During the cherry blossoming season the opening hours of the castle park is extended. The illumination from the foot of the castle silhouettes the castle tower against the night sky and the elegantly lights the cherry blossoms.
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