Chasing Cherry Blossoms: The Most Beautiful Cherry Blossoms are in Tohoku

While the cherry blossoms are falling in Tokyo and young green leaves begin to appear, the long-awaited spring arrives in Tohoku. The cherry blossoms, having endured the long and harsh winter, bloom all at once and turn the world around them pink. Tohoku is a treasure trove of cherry blossom viewing spots. Many of these spectacular sights are unique to Tohoku, including cherry blossoms in full bloom with lingering snow and cherry blossoms against the backdrop of famous castles and magnificent nature. The best time to view cherry blossoms in Tohoku is from early April to early May. Chase the cherry blossom season into the pink wonderland of Tohoku.

[Aomori Prefecture] Hirosaki Park

“Japan's Oldest Shidare-zakura Cherry Blossom Tree” Flowing Down Like a Waterfall


It is hard to believe that a single blooming tree could produce such an overwhelming sense of presence. Located in the town of Miharu in Fukushima Prefecture, the Miharu “Takizakura” (Waterfall Cherry Blossom Tree) is an over 1,000-year-old weeping cherry blossom tree with branches stretching 25 meters from east to west and 20 meters from north to south, with light red cherry blossoms blooming in all directions. It is said that the reason why it is called the "Waterfall Cherry Blossom Tree” is because, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the branches hang down like a cascading waterfall.

Considered one of the three largest cherry blossom trees in Japan, in 1922 it was the first such tree to be designated as a national natural monument.


The illuminated cherry blossoms at night are also a must-see.


In the darkness, countless petals catch the light, creating a fantastic atmosphere that is completely different from the daytime.


■Access Information

[By train] From JR Miharu Station, take a taxi or a temporary bus for about 20 minutes.

[By car] Approximately 20 minutes by car from the Funehiki Miharu Interchange on the Banetsu Expressway.

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Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom with the Snow-covered Mt. Iwaki in the Background

Near Hirosaki Park, from the outer moat with the Tsugaru Clan Neputa Village in the background, check out the cherry blossoms in full bloom in front of the snowy Mt. Iwaki!


The combination of the historical Hirosaki Castle, the snow-covered Mt. Iwaki, and the cherry blossoms in full bloom is truly unique to Hirosaki Park.


Mt. Iwaki has been selected as one of the 100 most famous mountains in Japan and is also called "Tsugaru Fuji" for its handsome appearance.


It is a popular photo spot for those in the know!

[Akita Prefecture] Kakunodate

A curtain of Shidare-zakura cherry blossoms falling against the black walls of samurai residences.


Kakunodate is called the “Little Kyoto of Michinoku” because it still retains the atmosphere of a castle town that flourished in the Edo period (1603-1868). It is one of the three most famous cherry blossom viewing spots in Michinoku, with weeping cherry blossom trees blooming like a pale red curtain covering the blackboard walls of the samurai estates. About 400 Shidare-zakura cherry blossom trees stand in a row, some of which are 300 years old.

The white and pink petals falling from their branches gracefully onto the historic streets are breathtakingly beautiful. When the petals begin to fall, the cherry blossoms dancing in the wind adds to the atmosphere of the castle town. Enjoying the cherry blossoms while walking is great, but we also recommend taking a rickshaw ride. You will feel as if you have slipped back to the Edo period.


On the banks of the Hinokinai River near the Samurai Residence Street, there is a line of Someiyoshino cherry blossom trees that stretches on for about two kilometers.


■Access Information

[By train] 20 minute-walk from JR Kakunodate Station. 

[By car] 40 minutes from the Omagari Interchange on the Akita Expressway.

[Iwate Prefecture] Kitakami-tenshōchi

“Tunnel of Cherry Blossoms" and 10,000 cherry blossom trees decorating the Kitakami River


Kitakami-tenshōchi in Kitakami City, Iwate Prefecture is one of the "Three Great Cherry Blossom Sites in Michinoku", along with Hirosaki Park in Aomori Prefecture and Kakunodate in Akita Prefecture.


Along the banks of the Kitakami River, a line of cherry blossom trees stretches for two kilometers. The road is lined with 500 Someiyoshino cherry blossom trees all over 90 years old and forms a “tunnel of cherry blossoms”.


During the “Kitakami-tenshōchi Cherry Blossom Festival”, sightseeing carriages run under the rows of blooming cherry blossom trees, making the viewing experience even more exciting. One of the attractions of the festival is that you can see the cherry blossoms up close, with the branches reaching down almost to your hands.


We also recommend taking a sightseeing boat ride from the Kitakami River to view the rows of cherry blossom trees.

It is said that there are 10,000 cherry blossom trees of about 150 different varieties in Tenshōchi Park, and you can enjoy many different varieties of cherry blossom trees. Each variety begins to bloom at different times starting from mid-April to early May, so you can enjoy the varying cherry blossoms for an extended time. At night, the beautifully illuminated rows of cherry blossom trees are reflected on the surface of the flowing Kitakami River, adding to the already fantastic atmosphere.


■Access Information

[By train] About a 20-minute walk from JR Kitakami Station.

[By car] 15 minutes from the Kitakami Ezuriko Interchange or Kitakami Kanegasaki Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway.

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A Sakura Festival Specialty! Carp Streamers Swimming over the Kitakami River

During the Kitakami-tenshōchi Cherry Blossom Festival held every year from mid-April to early May, colorful carp streamers swim above the Kitakami River in the spring sunshine. The colorful carp streamers swimming cheerfully in the blue of the sky and surrounded by the pink of the cherry blossoms are one of the specialties of the Sakura Festival.

[Miyagi Prefecture] Shiroishi Riverbank's Thousand Cherry Blossom Trees

The Zao Mountain Range with Lingering Snow and Rows of Blooming Cherry Blossom Trees


The Shiroishi Riverbank’s “Hitome Senboku Zakura” (Thousand Cherry Blossom Trees at a Glance) started in 1923 when a local businessman planted over 1,200 cherry seedlings on the banks of the Shiroishi River with the hope that it would become a famous cherry blossom viewing spot.


Today, along the Shiroishi River, whose water is so clean it’s clear, rows of cherry blossom trees including Someiyoshino trees stretch for 8 kilometers.

The main attraction is the cherry blossoms in full bloom against the backdrop of the snow-covered Zao mountain range. The view from the “niragamiseki” sluice is said to be particularly spectacular, as it allows visitors to see the snow-covered Zao, the rows of cherry blossom trees, and the Shiroishi River all at the same time in the clear blue spring sky. When combined with the spray of water from the river as it flows down the sluice, the scenery is like a painting.


During the “Ogawara Cherry Blossom Festival” held when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, yakatabune (houseboats) take a 2.3 km round trip from the venue to the Niragamiseki sluice downstream, allowing visitors to enjoy cherry blossom viewing in the beautiful scenery.


■Access Information

[By train] 3-minute walk from JR Funaoka Station and Ogawara Station. 

[By car] 15 minutes from the Shiroishi Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway. 20 minutes from the Murata Interchange.

[Yamagata Prefecture] Tsuruoka Park

Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom with Retro Western-style Buildings


Located in the center of Tsuruoka City, Tsuruoka Park spreads out from the ruins of Tsurugaoka Castle, which once flourished under successive lords of the Sakai family of Shōnai Domain.


Every year in mid-April, 730 cherry blossom trees including Someiyoshino, Yae-zakura, and Shidare-zakura cherry blossom trees bloom in the park with the added atmosphere of a castle town with moats, stone walls, and hundred-year-old cedars.


The park is one of the 100 best cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan.

One of Tsuruoka Park’s charms is that you can enjoy cherry blossoms in full bloom together with retro Western-style buildings, such as the Taihokan, a beautiful wooden building with a red dome and white walls, and the former Nishitagawa County Office in the Chido Museum near the park.


■Access Information

[By train] From JR Tsuruoka Station, take a bus bound for Yunohama Onsen or Atsumi Onsen (about 10 minutes). 

[By car] About 10 minutes from the Tsuruoka Interchange the Yamagata Expressway.


[Fukushima Prefecture] Miharu Takizakura (Miharu Waterfall Cherry Blossom Tree)

“Japan's Oldest Shidare-zakura Cherry Blossom Tree” Flowing Down Like a Waterfall


It is hard to believe that a single blooming tree could produce such an overwhelming sense of presence. Located in the town of Miharu in Fukushima Prefecture, the Miharu “Takizakura” (Waterfall Cherry Blossom Tree) is an over 1,000-year-old weeping cherry blossom tree with branches stretching 25 meters from east to west and 20 meters from north to south, with light red cherry blossoms blooming in all directions. It is said that the reason why it is called the "Waterfall Cherry Blossom Tree” is because, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the branches hang down like a cascading waterfall.


Considered one of the three largest cherry blossom trees in Japan, in 1922 it was the first such tree to be designated as a national natural monument.

The illuminated cherry blossoms at night are also a must-see.


In the darkness, countless petals catch the light, creating a fantastic atmosphere that is completely different from the daytime.


■Access Information

[By train] From JR Miharu Station, take a taxi or a temporary bus for about 20 minutes.

[By car] Approximately 20 minutes by car from the Funehiki Miharu Interchange on the Banetsu Expressway.

[Niigata Prefecture] Takada Park

One of the “Three Great Night Cherry Blossoms of Japan” with 4,000 cherry blossom trees floating on a spring night.


Takada Park was developed on the site of Takada Castle, which was built in 1614 as the residence of Matsudaira Tadateru, the sixth son of Tokugawa Ieyasu.


A famous cherry blossom viewing spot, during the Takada Castle Cherry Blossom Festival held every year in April, about 4,000 Someiyoshino cherry blossom trees bloom in and around the vast inner and outer moats and are brightly illuminated by about 3,000 paper lanterns.

The sight of 30 turrets and cherry blossoms reflected in the lights of the bonbori lanterns and on the water surface of the moat is one of the "Three Great Night Cherry Blossoms" in Japan, along with Hirosaki Park in Aomori and Ueno Onshi Park in Tokyo. The "Sakura Road", a tunnel lined with illuminated cherry blossom trees, is also popular.


During the cherry blossom viewing season, the park is crowded with many cherry blossom viewers from far away as well as local citizens who wait eagerly every year for the spring-time blooming. 


■ Access Information

[By train] Approximately a 15-minute walk from Takada Station on the Echigo Tokimeki Railway.

[By car] 10 minutes from the Joetsu Interchange on the Hokuriku Expressway or the Joetsu Takada Interchange on the Joshinetsu Expressway.

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Dreams Do Come True: The "Three Great Night Castles of Japan" and the "Three Great Night Cherry Blossoms of Japan"

Takada Castle, when beautifully lit up, is recognized as one of the "Three Great Night Castles of Japan" along with Osaka Castle and Kochi Castle. Takada Park is the only place in Japan where you can see one of the three major nighttime cherry blossoms and one of the three major nighttime castles in Japan together.


Don't miss the fantastic sight of the three turrets, seemingly floating in the air, with the cherry blossoms in full bloom!

  • [Aomori Prefecture] Hirosaki Park
  • [Akita Prefecture] Kakunodate
  • [Iwate Prefecture] Kitakami-tenshōchi
  • [Miyagi Prefecture] Shiroishi Riverbank's Thousand Cherry Blossom Trees
  • [Yamagata Prefecture] Tsuruoka Park
  • [Fukushima Prefecture] Miharu Takizakura (Miharu Waterfall Cherry Blossom Tree)
  • [Niigata Prefecture] Takada Park

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