The Sembonzakura is a row of more than 1,000 cherry trees, mainly the someiyoshino variety, that blossom and then scatter their petals along an 8km stretch of the banks of the Shiroishi River and against the backdrop of majestic Mt. Zao. The interwoven three-layered scene of the clear blue waters of the Shiroishi River, the brilliant pink of the 1,000 cherry trees, and the gleaming snow that remains on the peak of Mt. Zao, is a breath-taking sight that can only be enjoyed here in this region. This place has also been certified by the Japan Cherry Blossom Association as one of the “100 Famous Cherry Blossom Sites” in Japan.
The best time to visit is from early to mid-April. While the tunnel of pink blooms being buffeted gently by spring winds may be beautiful by day, once the sun has gone down and the riverbanks are illuminated, the night-time cherry blossoms are truly magical. Another fun way to enjoy the blossoms is by traditional yakatabune boat. Seeing the banks of the Shiroishi River from the river itself will give you an even wider field of vision and perspective. The 2km return journey takes a leisurely 30 minutes, from the main event site of the Ogawara Cherry Blossom Festival down to Niragamizeki and back.
At the peak of the cherry blossom season the trains between Ogawara and Funaoka Stations on the JR Tohoku Main Line slow down, so that passengers can enjoy the blossoms from the train windows.