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Check out these cherry blossom festivals in Japan this spring

Stripes Japan

As of March 14, Sakura Weathermap forecasts that cherry blossoms will start blooming in Tokyo March 21. For the forecast in Japan: https://sakura.weathermap.jp/en.php. The following are place to enjoy the blooms.

 

JINDAI BOTANICAL GARDEN CAMELLIA & CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Tokyo): March 12-April 14, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Mon. and March 19; 620 camellias bloom starting in mid-March and 750 cherry trees are to bloom late March or the first week of April, also mini concerts at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on March 31 and April 7 at Shibafu Hiroba scheduled; 5-31-10 Jindaiji Motomachi, Chofu City, Tokyo, bus from Mitaka Station, JR Chuo Line, or Chofu Station, Keio Line, Jindaiji Shokubutsu Koen Mae bus; 600 yen adults, 400 yen high school students, kids free; 0424-83-2300; www.tokyo-park.or.jp/english.  

CHERRY BLOSSOM VIEWING AT THE TOKYO NATIONAL MUSEUM: March 12- April 7, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (until 9 p.m. on Fri. and Sat.): featuring many art works of cherry blossom including masterpieces from ancient to modern on display in the galleries, along with gallery talks, haiku poetry gathering and concerts, also spring open garden from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until May 19, illuminated between 4 and 7:30 p.m. on March 22, March 23, March 29 and March 30 at Tokyo National Museum; 620 yen adults, 410 yen college students, 10-minute walk from JR Ueno Station; 03-3822-1111; www.tnm.jp/modules/r_event/index.php?controller=dtl&cid=5&id=10009&lang=en.

TOKYO MIDTOWN BLOSSOM 2019 (Tokyo): March 15-April 14; 150 cherry trees are in bloom and can be viewed at an open-air terrace of Tokyo Midtown Garden; illuminated between  5-11 p.m.; Roppongi Station on Hibiya Line or three-minute walk from Nogizaka Station on Chiyoda Line; 03-3475-3100; www.tokyo-midtown.com/en.

BUNKYO CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Tokyo): March 23-April 7; 120 cherry trees on Harimazaka slope in bloom; seven-minute walk from Myogadani Station on Marunouch Line; 03-5803-1941.

UENO PARK (SHINOBAZU POND) (Tokyo): March 21-April 7, illuminated between 5:30-8 p.m., 1,200 cherry trees, two-minute walk from Ueno Station on Metro Ginza and Hibiya Lines; 03-3828-5644.  

RIKUGI-EN GARDEN (Tokyo): March 21-April 3; Rikugi-en, a garden built in Edo Period, is famous for the drooping cherry trees, illuminated during the bloom; until April 3, garden is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m., blossoms illuminated after sunset. Subway Nanboku Line, Komagome Station; 300 yen; 03-3941-2222.

SUMIDA RIVER CHERRY FESTIVAL (Tokyo): March 21- April 7; about 1,000 trees along the Sumida River, illuminated sunset-10 p.m. on March 21-April 7, and now a popular spot for visitors because Tokyo SkyTree is close by; five-minute walk from Asakusa Station on Ginza-Line or seven-minute walk from Honjo Azumabashi Station on Toei Asakusa-Line; 03-5608-6951. 

TSUKAYAMA PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Yokosuka): March 20-April 8, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; about 1,000 cherry blossom trees on the hill with a view of Yokosuka Port, illuminated from sunsets to 9 p.m., Tsukayama Park, 25-minute walk from Keikyu Line, Itsumi or Anjinzuka Station; 046-822-2575. 

ODAWARA CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Kanagawa prefecture): March 16- April 7;   about 320 cherry blossom trees at Odawara Castle Park and are illuminated 6-9 p.m.; a 10-minute walk from JR Odawara Station; Odawara Tourist Association 0465-33-1521.  2019

TOSHIMAEN AMUSEMENT PARK (Tokyo): March 16-April 7, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; 500 cherry trees; illuminated between sunset and 8 p.m. on  March 21-April 7; 500 yen after 3 p.m., 1,600 yen adults, 1,300 yen kids for entry and free ride ticket after 3 p.m.; Seibu Ikebukuro Line, Toshimaen Station; 03-3990-0884.

HAMURA FLOWER AND WATER FESTIVAL (Yokota area): March 28-April 14, 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m.; about 200 cherry trees along the Tama River; festival has food booths and street performers and trees illuminated 6-8:30 p.m.; JR Ome Line, Hamura Station; 042-555-6211.

SHINJUKU GYOEN (Tokyo): March 25-April 24, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; 144 acres park in Shinjuku, famous viewing spot of 1,000 cherry trees in 65 varieties, 10-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station; 500 yen; 03-3350-0151; www.env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/english/index.html

GONGENDO PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Saitama prefecture): March 25-April 9; known as one of the best sites for cherry blossoms in Japan, it has 1,000 cherry trees along a roughly half-mile-long dike are contrasted against field mustard; 30-minute walk from Satte Station on Tobu Nikko-Line or 20-minute drive from Kuki IC on Tohoku Express; parking for 1,000 vehicles nearby; 0480-43-1111 or 0480-44-0873.  2019

SHAKUJI RIVERSIDE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Tokyo): Late March-early April; 1,000 cherry trees along the Shakuji River, five-minute walk from Nakaitabashi Station on Tobu Line; 03-3579-2251.  

INOGASHIRA PARK CHERRY BLOSSOMS (Tokyo): Late March-early April; 500 cherry trees around the pond at Inogashira Park, illuminated between 6-10 p.m., near fancy shopping district of Kichijoji; 10-minute walk from JR Kichijoji Station on Chuo Line; 0422-47-6900.  

IZU KOGEN CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Shizuoka prefecture): March 23-31; cherry trees along the streets near Izu Kogen Station in bloom, along with live performance show, food booth, craft shop, free market and more; 0570-064-713.

MOUNT OMURO CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Shizuoka prefecture): Late March-early April; 3,000 cherry blossom trees in 40 varieties bloom at Sakura-no Sato of Mount Omuro, 30-minute ride from JR Ito Staion; 0557-37-7135.

TAKASAKI CASTLE RUIN CHERRY FESTIVAL (Gunma prefecture): Late March-early April; 300 cherry trees along the Takasaki Castle Ruin’s moat to bloom, illuminated between sunsets and 10 p.m. at Takasaki Castle Ruin; 15-minute walk from JR Takasaki Station on Takasaki Line or 15-minute ride from Takasaki I.C. on Kanetsu Express; 027-321-1257.

HARADANIEN GARDEN CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Kyoto): Late March-late April, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; 250 cherry trees in 20 varieties are bloom at Haradanien Garden, open to the public only during cherry blossom and autumn leaves season, located near Kinkakuji Temple (the Golden Pavilion); 1,500 yen adults, 500 yen children; 36, Okitayama Haradani Inuicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, five-minute taxi ride from Kinkakuji Temple (no parking) or take a taxi from Enmachi Station on Arashiyama Line; 075-461-2924.

CHIDORIGAFUCHI (Tokyo): March 27-April 7; Chidorigafuchi, the northeastern moat of the Imperial Palace, is one of the most famous cherry blossom viewing spot in Japan and the trees are illuminated 6-10 p.m. during the festival; Subway Tozai Line, Kudan-Shita Station; 03-5211-4185. 

CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Yokosuka): March 28-April 8; 2,000 cherry blossoms trees, illuminated 6-8 p.m., also taiko (Japanese drums) and shakuhachi (bamboo fruit) and other performances at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekends at Kinugasa-yama Park, a 25-minute walk from JR Kinugasa Station; 046-853-1611; www.cocoyoko.net/us/.    

SANKEIEN GARDEN (Yokohama): March 22-31, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; seasonal flowers and historic buildings in the garden, illuminated 30-minute after sunsets till 9 p.m., best time to view at 7:30 p.m.; 10-minute bus ride from JR Negishi Line; 500 yen; www.sankeien.or.jp/pdf/guidemap_english.pdf.  

KOGANEI PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Tokyo): March 31& April 1; 1,700 cherry trees at Koganei Park, 10-minute bus ride from JR Musahi Koganei Station and get off at Koganei Koen Nishiguchi; 042-385-5611. 

FUSSA CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Yokota area): March 30-April 7; 500 cherry trees along the banks of the Tama River, illuminated 5-9 p.m.; 15-minute walk from JR Kumagawa Station; 042-551-1740.   

KOMATSUGAWA 1,000 CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Tokyo): April 1, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; 1,000 cherry trees in bloom along the Arakawa River; festival includes performance, food booths and free pony rides at Komatsugawa Park, five-minute walk from Higashi Oshima Station on Toei Shinjuku Line; 03-5662-5543.

YAMATAKA JINDAI CHERRY BLOSSOMS FESTIVAL (Yamanashi prefecture): April 1-20, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Jindai cherry tree is Japan’s one of the three giant trees, believed to be 1,800-2,000 year-old and attracting people by its presence in the precincts of Jissouji Temple;

Hokuto city: 500 yen for parking, 15-minute ride from JR Hinoharu Station on Chuo Line or 15-minute ride from Sudama I.C. on Chuo Express, parking lot available; 0551-42-1351. 

MOUNT YOSHINO CHERRY BLOSSOM (Nara prefecture): Early April through late April; Mount Yoshino is known as the best cherry blossom sites in Japan and is a UNESCO World Heritage site; it features 30,000 cherry blossom trees in 200 varieties, illuminated between 6-10 p.m.; 75-minute ride from Nagoya Station by Kintetsu Super Express or 100-minute ride from Kyoto Station by Kintestu Super Express; www.yoshinoyama-sakura.jp/english.  

IWAI SHINSUI KOEN NARCISSUS FESTIVAL & CHERRY BLOSSOM (Gunma prefecture): April 1-April 21 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Over 300,000 narcissuses to bloom on a farm next to Iwai Shinsui Koen, contrasted with 0.63-mile avenue lined with cherry trees, along with taiko (Japanese drums), awa odori (local dancing), food booths and more; 10-minute ride from JR Gunma Haramachi Station on Amatsuma Line or 40-minute ride from Shibukawa I.C. on Kanetsu Express; 0279-70-2110. 

MIHARU TAKIZAKURA CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Fukushima prefecture): Early April-late April; Miharu Takizakura is known for Japan’s one of the three giant cherry trees and attracting people by impressive weeping form as “cherry tree’s waterfall” and believed to be over 1,000 year-old, illuminated between 6 and 8:30 p.m. in bloom; Miharu town, Fukushima prefecture; 300 yen; shuttle buses available from JR Miharu Station and nearby parking lots; 20-minute ride from JR Miharu Station or 20-minute ride from Funahiki Miharu I.C. on Ban-etsu Express; 0247-62-3690. 

SAKURAYAMA KOEN CHERRY FESTIVAL (Gunma prefecture): Early April-mid April; 7,000 early-bloom  cherry trees to bloom gloriously contrasted with 3,000 someiyoshino cherry trees at Sakurayama Koen; 40-minute ride from Kodama I.C. on Kanetsu Express or Fujioka I.C. on Jyoshinetsu Express; 0274-52-3111. 

YASUKUNI SHRINE CHERRY BLOSSOM NIGHT VIEW NOH PERFORMANCE (Tokyo): April 2-4, 6:40-9 p.m.; At Yasukuni Shrine Noh-gakudo, or at Shinjuku Bunka Center if rain, 3,500-5,500-8,500-12,000 yen; 03-5215-2888. 

HEIAN JINGU SHRINE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Kyoto): April 4-7, 6:15 a.m.-9 p.m.; gorgeous live performance of court music of Japan and string quartet starting at 6:40 p.m. and 7:50 p.m. at Shobi-kan of East Garden (Higashi Shin’en), Heian Jingu Shrine in the midst of cherry trees in full bloom along with night illumination; 2,000 yen; 075-241-6170; www.heianjingu.or.jp/

SHIROISHI RIVER CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Miyagi prefecture): April 3-18; 1,200 cherry trees along Shiroishi River dike and known for one of the best  spots to view cherry blossom in Japan, also illuminated between 6 and 10 p.m. during the event;  three-minute walk from Ogawara Station on JR Tohoku-Line; 0224-53-2141.

TAKADA PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Niigata prefecture): April 1-15; more than 4,000 cherry trees in bloom and are illuminated by 3,000 traditional lights (bonbori-handled paper lanterns) sunset-9 p.m., until 10 p.m. in full bloom; JR Takada Station on Shinetsu Line; 025-543-2777.  

1,000 CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL AT TONERI PARK (Tokyo): April 6 & 7; 1,000 cherry blossom, along with local products on sale between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Toneri Park; one-minute walk from Toneri Koen Station on Nippori-Toneri Liner; 03-3880-5853; http://adachikanko.net/en/.

NAKANO CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Tokyo): April 7; 320 cherry trees on Shin Ome Streets (north exit of JR Nakano Station) are to bloom, along with hula and eisa dance, cheerleading, brass band performances scheduled, also illuminated until midnight between March 19 and April 7; JR Nakano Station; 03-3389-1310.   

MEGURAGAWA CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Tokyo): April 6-7; 800 cherry trees along the Meguro River near JR Meguro Station, illuminated from sunsets to 9 p.m., five-minute walk from JR Meguro Station on Yamanoto Line; 035722-6850. 

KUNITACHI CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Tokyo): April 6-7; 330 cherry blossom trees on Daigaku and Sakura Streets, along with live performances and food booths and more at Yaho Daisan Koen (1.25-mile from JR Kunitachi Station), or Yaho and Yagawa Stations; 042-576-2111. 

TAKIYAMA PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Tokyo): April 6, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (alternative: April 7); 5,000 cherry trees on hilly terrain at Takiyama Park, as well as traditional live performance, open-air tea services and sweet drink made from fermented rice, Takatsuki-cho, Hachioji city; 042-691-5215.

KITAKAMI CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Iwate prefecture): April 15-May 6; About 10,000 cherry trees in 150 varieties to bloom at Tenshochi Park and along the River Kitakami, and are illuminated between 6-9 p.m.; 20-minoute walk from JR Kitakami Station; Tenshochi Park, Kitakami city; 0197-65-0300. 

MATSUMOTO CASTLE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Nagano prefecture): three days after the cherry blossom trees bloom in mid-April; includes night illumination, koto and gagaku (traditional Japanese music instruments) and flute performance along with open-air tea services and free admission to the castle; 15-minute walk from JR Matsumoto Station or 15-minute ride from Matsumoto I.C. on Matsumotodo Express; 0263-32-2902; www.matsumoto-castle.jp/lang/.

FUJIKAWAGUCHIKO CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Yamanashi prefecture): April 6-14, Cherry trees to start blooming at Kawaguchiko Lake North Shore Walking Trail and Kawaguciko Stellar Theater areas, illuminated from sunsets to 9 p.m.; near Kawaguchiko Lake Bridge, 15-minute ride from Kawaguchiko I.C. on Chuo Express; 0555-72-3168. 

SANEHARA CHERRY VIEWING (Yamanashi prefecture): One week from mid-April; it’s fun to stroll on 0.5-mile avenue while viewing 200 cherry trees to bloom contrasted with the snow covered on Mount Kaikomagatake on Japan’s Alps; Hokuto city, 20-minute ride from Sudama I.C. on Chuo Express; 0551-42-1351. 

KAJO KOEN CHERRY FESTIVAL (Yamagata prefecture): Mid April-late April; 1,500 cherry trees along the Yamagata Castle’s moat to bloom, illuminated between 6-10 p.m.;  free; 10-minute walk from JR Yamagata Station; 023-641-1212. 

EBOSHIYAMA KOEN/AKAYU ONSEN CHERRY FESTIVAL (Yamagata prefecture): Mid April-late April; over 1,000 cherry trees in 25 varieties to bloom gloriously on the mountain at Eboshiyama Koen near Akayu Onsen (hot spring); 20-minute walk from JR Akayu Station on Yamagata Express; 0238-40-2002. 

AOBAYAMA PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Miyagi prefecture): Early April-late April; 200 cherry trees to blossom; Aobayama Park, Sendai, 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.      

MATSUGASAKI KOEN CHERRY BLOSSOM (Yamagata prefecture): Mid April-late April; 250 cherry trees along the Yonezawa Castle Ruin’s moat to gloom at Yonezawa Castle Ruin; two-minute walk from Uesugi Jinja Shrine-mae bus stop after taking a bus from JR Yonezawa Station; 0238-21-6226. 

SHIROISHI CASTLE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Miyagi prefecture): Early April 1-mid April; About 200 cherry trees will bloom at Masuoka Koen, Shiroishi night illumination around the castle by 350 paper-lantern and LED lights between sunsets and 10 p.m.; 400 yen adults, 200 yen children; 10-minute walk from JR Shiroishi Station or 10-minute ride from Shiroishi I.C. on Tohoku Express; free parking; 0224-24-3030. 

TOWADA CITY CHERRY FESTIVAL (Aomori prefecture): April 20-May 5; 156 cherry trees along the Koma Highway to bloom, illuminated between 6-10 p.m.; 30-minute bus ride from JR Shichinohe Towada Station Towada-shi Chuo Station on Tohoku Shinkansen; 0176-51-6772.

KAKUNODATE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Akita prefecture): April 20-May 5; 162 weeping cherry trees -- nation’s natural monuments -- around samurai district in Kakunodate town, along with 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/language/en/events/spring.html.

HIROSAKI PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Aomori prefecture): April 20-May 6; about 2,500 trees around the castle and moat bloom and are illuminated from sunsets to 10 p.m.; 20-minute bus ride from JR Hirosaki Station; 310 yen adult, 100 yen children admission. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on April 20-22 and May 6, 7 a.m.-9 p.m. on April 23-May 5; 0172-35-3131. 

TONO CHERRY FESTIVAL (Iwate prefecture): Late April-early May; 1,000 cherry trees to bloom at Nabekura Koen, also samurai parade scheduled from Kura-no Hiroba to Eki-mae dori (avenue), on Sunday, April 28, along with varieties of folk entertainment and more; eight-minute walk from JR Tono Station; 0198-62-2111; https://tonojikan.jp/Several_languages/english/english.html.

YONEZAWA UESUGI CHERRY FESTIVAL (Yamagata prefecture): April 29-May 3; 250 cherry trees along the Yonezawa Castle Ruin’s moat to gloom at Yonezawa Castle Ruin, along with Kenshin Uesugi’s samurai warriors’ parade on main streets in Yonezawa city and renactment of historical “Kawanakajima Battle” between Kenshin Uesugi and Kenshin Takeda on the Matsukawa Riverside on May 3; 10-minute bus ride from JR Yonezawa Station on Yamagata Express; 0238-22-9607.

SANNOHE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Aomori prefecture): April 27-May 5; 1,600 cherry trees to bloom, along with dance, live performance, open-air tea services and more, also illuminated between 6 and 9 p.m. at Shiroyama Koen; 10-minute walk from Sannohe Machiyakuba-mae (town hall) after taking a bus for Sannohe Eigyojo from Sannohe Station on Aoi Testudo; 0179-22-0777.

KOIWAI FARM CHERRY FESTIVAL (Iwate prefecture): April 25-May 6, 9 a.m.-5:p.m.; 90 cherry trees to bloom gloriously contrasted with farm’s green and the alps’ snow-covered white at Koiwai Farm; five-minute ride from JR Koiwai Station on Tazawa Line or 15-minute ride from Morioka I.C. on Tohoku Express; 800 yen adults, 300 yen children, 019-692-4321. 

ASHINO KOEN KANAGI CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Aomori prefecture): April 27-May 6; 1,600 cherry trees to bloom, illuminated by 80 traditional lights (Bonbori-handled paper-lantern) from 5-9 p.m., varieties of attractions, over 100 food booths and more scheduled, also 4,500 fireworks display at 7:20 p.m. on May 2 at Ashino Koen, Goshogawara city; in front of Ashino Koen Station on Tsugaru Tetsudo or 40-minute ride from Namioka I.C. on Tohoku Express, parking lot available; 0173-52-2611.    

GORYOKAKU PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Hakodate city, Hokkaido): Late April- mid May; 1,600 cherry trees are to bloom at Goryokaku Park, illuminated between 7-9 p.m.; 15-minute walk from Goryokaku Koen stop (streetcar) from after taking a bus at 0138-27-3333; www.hakodate.travel/en/

MATSUMAE PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Matsumae town, Hokkaido): April 27-May 15; over 10,000 cherry trees in 250 varieties are to bloom at Matsumae Park, illuminated from sunsets to 8:30 p.m. during the cherry trees in bloom; seven-minute walk from Matsushiro Bus Stop after taking a bus from JR Kikonai Station on Tsugaru Kaikyo Line; 0139-42-2726.

MARUYAMA KOEN CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Sapporo): Late April-mid May; 150 cherry trees are to bloom at Maruyama Koen; five-minute walk from Maruyama Koen Station (metro); 011-621-0453.  

ASAHIYAMA KOEN CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL (Asahikawa city, Hokkaido):  May 5-10; 3,500 cherry trees are to bloom at Asahiyama Koen, also illuminated from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in early May; 40-minute bus ride from JR Asahikawa Station on Hakodate Line for Asahiyama Zoo; 0166-52-1934.

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