In bloom: 2014 Cherry Blossom Festivals
The cherry blossoms are blooming, so read below so you know where to check them out.
RIKUGIEN GARDEN (Tokyo): March 20-April 6, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; this garden built in the Edo Period is famous for drooping cherry trees which are illuminated after sunset during the bloom; Subway Nanboku Line, Komagome Station; 300 yen; 03-3941-2222; tinyurl.com/ork4ds8.
SUMIDA RIVER CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Tokyo): March 20-April 14; about 1,000 trees along the Sumida River; five-minute walk from Asakusa Station on Ginza Line or seven-minute walk from Honjo Azumabashi Station on Toei Asakusa-Line; 03-5608-6951.
MIDTOWN BLOSSOM 2014 (Tokyo): March 20-April 20; 150 cherry blossom trees in bloom and see them from an open-air terrace at Tokyo Midtown Garden, and 5-11 p.m. the trees are illuminated; Roppongi Station on Hibiya Line or three-minute walk from Nogizaka Station on Chiyoda Line; tinyurl.com/p6tdvrp.
UENO PARK (Tokyo): March 21-April 6, until 8 p.m.; 1,200 cherry trees; two-minute walk from Ueno Station on Metro Ginza and Hibiya Lines; 03-3828-5644; http://tinyurl.com/owf2xns.
TOSHIMAEN AMUSEMENT PARK (Tokyo): March 21-April 6, until 9 p.m.; 800 cherry trees; 500 yen after 3 p.m., free April 4 & 5, 1,000 yen adults and 500 yen kids for ride ticket after 3 p.m. during the week; Seibu Ikebukuro Line, Toshimaen Station; 03-3990-0884.
SHINJUKU GYOEN (Tokyo): March 25-April 24, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; 144-acre park in Shinjuku, a famous blossom viewing spot; 10-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station; 200 yen; 03-3350-0151; tinyurl.com/nzg2mjo.
CHIDORIGAFUCHI (Tokyo): March 28-April 6; Chidorigafuchi, the northeastern moat of the Imperial Palace is one of the most famous sites to view cherry blossoms in Japan and illumination is 6:30-10 p.m. during the festival; Subway Tozai Line, Kudan-Shita Station; 03-5211-4185.
YASUKUNI SHRINE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Tokyo): March 28-April 6; when predicting the bloom for the Tokyo area, the meteorological agency’s staff uses the 800 trees here; five-minute walk from Subway Tozai Line, Kudan-shita Station; 03-3261-8326; www.yasukuni.or.jp/english/index.html.
SANKEIEN GARDEN (Yokohama): March 29-April 6, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; seasonal flowers and historic buildings in the garden; 10-minute bus ride from JR Negishi Line; 500 yen; 045-621-0634; tinyurl.com/78ccezf.
TSUKAYAMA PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Yokosuka): March 24-April 8; about 1,000 cherry blossom trees with a view of Yokosuka Port; 25-minute walk from Keikyu Line, Itsumi or Anjinzuka Station; 046-822-2575.
GONGENDO PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Saitama prefecture): March 26-April 10; 1,000 trees along a roughly half-mile-long dike is one of the best spots for cherry blossoms in Japan; 30-minute walk from Satte Station on Tobu Nikko Line or a 20-minute drive from Kuki IC on Tohoku Express, 1, parking available nearby; 0480-43-1111 ext. 538.
HAMURA FLOWER AND WATER FESTIVAL (Yokota area): March 27-April 13; this festival has food, street performers and features about 500 trees along the Tama River, illuminated 6-8 p.m.; JR Ome Line, Hamura Station; 042-555-6211.
KINUGASA CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Yokosuka): March 27-April 7; 2,000 trees which are also illuminated in evening at Kinugasa-yama Park, 25-minute walk from JR Kinugasa Station; 046-853-1611.
FUSSA CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Yokota area): March 29-April 6; cherry trees along the bank of Tama River, 15-minute walk from JR Ushihama Station; 042-551-1511.
KOMATSUGAWA 1,000 CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Tokyo): March 30, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; event with 1,000 cherry trees in bloom along the Arakawa River, has live performances, food booths and free pony ride at Komatsugawa Park, five-minute walk from Higashi Oshima Station on Toei Shinjuku Line; 03-5662-5543.
NINGYOCHO CHERRY BLOSSOMS FESTIVAL (Tokyo): March 30, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; celebrating the bloom on Hamacho Ryokudo Street (Amasake Yokocho Intersection to Meiji-za Theater, where there were many amasake — sweet drink made from fermented rice or sake lees — stores in Meiji Period (1868-1912). A free cup of amasake is given to first 1,200 people; JR Asakusabashi Station on Subu Line or Ningyocho Station on Toei Asakusa Line; 03-3666-7662.
ODAWARA CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Kanagawa prefecture): Late March until early April; about 320 trees, which are also illuminated 6-9 p.m. during the bloom; 10-minute walk from JR Odawara Station; 0465-33-1521.
TOKYO SUMMERLAND CHERRY BLOSSOM VIEWING: March 31-April 13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; 1,500 cherry blossoms trees, along with food booths at Family Park; free admission and free parking; 042-558-6511; www.summerland.co.jp/english/index.html.
YASUKUNI SHRINE CHERRY BLOSSOM NIGHT VIEW NOH PERFORMANCE (Tokyo): April 1-3, 6:40 p.m.; at Yasukuni Shrine Noh-gakudo or Shinjuku Bunka Center if rain; 3,000-5,000-8,000-11,500 yen; Cherry Blossoms Night View Concert Jimukyoku 03-5215-2890.
YAMATAKA JINDAI CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Yamanashi prefecture): April 1-22, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; a tree here is believed to be 1,800-2,000 years old and the best time to view it is April 5-12; Hokuto city; 15-minute ride from JR Hinoharu Station on Chuo Line or 15-minute ride from Sudama I.C. on Chuo Express; 0551-42-1351.
MOUNT YOSHINO CHERRY BLOSSOM (Nara prefecture): Early April through late April; Mount Yoshino is known as the best cherry blossom site in Japan with 20,000 trees; 75-minute ride from Nagoya Station by Kintetsu Super Express or nearly two-hour ride from Kyoto Station by Kintestu Super Express; 0746-32-1007; www.yoshinoyama-sakura.jp/english.
ASAKUSA HANAYASHIKI NIGHT ILLUMINATION & BEER GARDEN (Tokyo): April 2-5 & 9-11, 6:30-9:30 p.m.; visitors to Japan’s oldest amusement park, founded in 1853, can enjoy the illuminated bloom, five rides, street performances, and enjoy a beer at Asakusa Hanayashiki Amusement Park, five-minute walk from Asakusa Station on Ginza Line; 500 yen; 03-5789-8686; www.hanayashiki.net/e/index.html.
MIIDERA TEMPLE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Shiga prefecture): April 2-13, 6:30-9:30 p.m.; more than 1,000 trees at the precinct of Miidera Temple are illuminated 6:30-9:30 p.m.; 20-minute walk from JR Otsu Station or a five-minute walk from Miidera Station on Ishiyamasaka Line (Keihan); 500 yen adults, 300 yen senior and junior high school students, 200 yen elementary school students; 077-528-2772.
TAKADA PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Niigata prefecture): April 4-20; commemorating 400th anniversary of founding of shogunate government at Takada by Tadateru Matsudaira, celebrating cherry blossoms festival at Takada Park, which is more than 4,000 trees in bloom are illuminated by 3,000 Bonbori-handled paper lanterns sunset-11 p.m.; JR Takada Station on Shinetsu Line; 025-543-2777; http://enjoyniigata.com/english/03/the-84th-takada-castle-cherry-blossom-viewing-for-1-million-people.html.
TAKIYAMA PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Tokyo): April 5; 5,000 trees on hilly terrain and traditional live performances, open-air tea services and sweet drink made from fermented rice April 5 (April 6 if rain April 5); Takatsuki-cho, Hachioji city; 042-691-5215.
1,000 CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL AT TONERI PARK (Tokyo): April 5 & 6; 1,000 trees in bloom, along with 3,000 fireworks at 7-7:30 p.m. April 5; one-minute walk from Toneri Koen Station on Nippori-Toneri Line; 03-3880-5853.
SHIROISHI CASTLE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Miyagi prefecture): April 5-30; about 300 cherry trees at Masuoka Koen, with a night illumination around the castle with 350 paper lanterns until 9 p.m.; 10-minute walk from JR Shiroishi Station or 10-minute ride from Shiroishi I.C. on Tohoku Express; free parking; 0224-24-3030.
NEODANI USUZUMI CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Gifu prefecture): April 8-15, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Usuzumi cherry tree is believed to be 1,500 years old, illuminated until 9 p.m.; Motosu city, 15-minute walk from Tarumi Station on Tarumi Line or 80-minute ride from Gifu Hashima I.C; 500 yen/parking; 058-323-7756.
SHIROISHI RIVER CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Miyagi prefecture): April 10-25; one of the best known sites to view the bloom, featuring 1,000 cherry trees along Shiroishi River dike, illuminated 6-10 p.m. during the event; three-minute walk from Ogawara Station on JR Tohoku-Line; 0224-53-2141.
AOBAYAMA PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Miyagi prefecture): April 10-30; 480 trees; 10-minute drive from Sendai Miyagi IC or eight-minute bus ride to Hakubutsukan Kokusai Senta-mae bus stop from JR Sendai Station; 022-225-7211.
MIHARU TAKIZAKURA CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Fukushima prefecture): April 12-20; Miharu Takizakura (cherry blossom waterfall) — a cherry tree believed to be more than 1,000 years old — is illuminated 6-9 p.m.; Miharu town, shuttle buses from JR Miharu Station and nearby parking lots or a 20-minute ride from JR Miharu Station or 20-minute ride from Funahiki Miharu I.C. on Ban-etsu Express; 300 yen; 0247-62-3690.
KITAKAMI CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Iwate prefecture): April 15-May 6; about 100,000 trees at Tenshochi Park and along River Kitakami are illuminated sunset-9 p.m.; Tenshochi Park, Kitakami city, 20-minute walk from JR Kitakami Station; 0197-65-0300.
KAKUNODATE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Akita prefecture): Mid-April through early May; 162 weeping cherry trees around samurai district in Kakunodate town and the River Hinokinaigawa; 394-2 Kamisugasawa, Kakunodate town, Senboku city, JR Kakunodate Station on Akita Shinkansen from Morioka; 0187-54-2700; http://kakunodate-kanko.jp/languages/en/spring/The-Sakura-Festival-of-Kakunodate.html.
MATSUMOTO CASTLE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Nagano prefecture): festival starts three days after trees bloom in mid-April and features night illumination, koto and gagaku (traditional Japanese music instruments) and flute performances, open-air tea services and free admission to Matsumoto Castle during the festival; 0263-32-2902; http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp/contents08+index.htm.
HIROSAKI PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Aomori prefecture): April 23-May 6; about 2,500 trees around Hirosaki Castle and moat bloom and are illuminated sunset-10 p.m.; 20-minute bus ride from JR Hirosaki Station; 300 yen admission 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; 0172-35-3131.