Northern Japan's Top Cherry Blossom Festivals

Japan is a country head over heels in love with cherry blossoms. Cherry trees can be found everywhere and the annual bloom is a major event with forecasts being broadcast on national media and discussed incessantly in springtime. The blossoms themselves are supposed to represent the ephemeral nature of life and people in Japan take the cherry blossom period seriously with hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties organized with family, friends, colleagues and clients. Crowds gather in parks all over the country and sit under the trees chatting, drinking and eating whilst enjoying the beautiful views on offer. At night, people can enjoy yozakura (evening cherry blossom viewing) with some parks illuminating the trees using lanterns. It's a beautiful time of year and one which is deep in the hearts of Japanese people and visitors who have experienced this stunning annual ritual.  

Hirosaki Castle, Aomori

Hirosaki Castle, in Aomori Prefecture, is already one of the region's top sightseeing spots in its own right due to its history and importance to the area. Hirosaki Park, which surrounds the castle, is legendary all over Japan for its gorgeous cherry blossoms and is known as one of the country's top three cherry blossom viewing locations. From late April to May visitors can enjoy the Hirosaki Sakura Festival which draws in huge crowds from around Japan and overseas. One of the reasons for this is "hanaikada" which is otherwise known as the "sakura carpet" in which the moat, which surrounds the castle, being blanketed in cherry blossom petals and is one of the most beautiful scenes found anywhere in the country during hanami (cherry blossom viewing) time.

Kakunodate, Akita

Kakunodate is known for its historical and cultural samurai district and for its architectural importance. One of the other reasons for its fame in Tohoku is its abundance of cherry blossoms. The annual Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Festival is one of Tohoku's top attractions due to the sheer amount of cherry trees and the different varieties on display such as weeping cherry trees and yoshino trees. Hinokinai River runs through the area and the riverbanks come alive with cherry blossoms from late April to May every year and create tunnels of cherry blossoms which run for two kilometers and illuminate the riverbanks. What better way to enjoy hanami than perched on a stunning riverbank surrounded by falling cherry petals?

Kitakami Tenshochi, Iwate

Iwate Prefecture's famous Kitakami Tenshochi is an idyllic park known all over Japan for it's truly majestic cherry blossom viewing opportunities. With over 10,000 cherry trees and 150 varieties it's one of Tohoku's top springtime attractions. The Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom Festival is held, annually, from early April to early May and attracts huge crowds eager to sample the unique cherry blossom views along the Kitakami River. Head over at night to enjoy some yozakura (evening cherry blossom viewing) and it would be rude not to sample the local cuisine as the festival includes a host of stalls selling local delicacies and Japanese festival favorites such as yakisoba and takoyaki.

Shiroishigawa Hitome Senbonzakura, Miyagi

Miyagi Prefecture's Ogawara town plays host to the renowned Hitome Sembonzakura on the banks of Shiroishi River every year to hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors. What makes this location special is that it's played out in front of the spectacular Mount Zao so the photographic opportunities here are endless. More than 1,000 cherry trees, along 8km, on the banks of the Shiroishi River makes Miyagi a must-visit destination during springtime. There are also river tours using traditional yakatabune boats, a plethora of food and beverage stalls and literally a thousand of trees including varieties such as yoshino, white mountain cherry and double flower cherry. It's a veritable spring dreamland.

Yamagata Castle/Kajo Park, Yamagata

Yamagata Castle, founded in 1592, is an historic location full of stories of mystery, murder and suspense. The castle grounds were opened, after WWII, as Kajo Park and attract visitors from all over the country. In spring the castle and park area are illuminated with cherry blossoms with the moat waters turning pink to the number of petals. The park plays host to around 1,500 cherry trees and are illuminated at night so it's a real gem of a sightseeing spot. This location is a real treasure for anthophiles and history buffs.

Hanamiyama Park, Fukushima

Unlike most parks in Japan, which have a succession of concrete paths to walk on, Hanamiyama Park is an actual agricultural field. So it's best to think about appropriate footwear when visiting. This is a beautiful spot which is situated on the top of a hill in Fukushima Prefecture and is known as one of the best spots for flowers and trees in the region. Opened to the public since 1959, Hanamiyama Park doesn't just host a plethora of cherry trees but more than 10 kinds of blossoms including plum and forsythia which makes for an aesthetically majestic sight.

Takada Park, Niigata

Takada Park has been lauded over by both domestic and international press for a while now. Known as one of Japan's top cherry blossom viewing spots due to its natural beauty it's an absolute must-visit destination when visiting Japan. Located in Niigata Prefecture's Joetsu City, Takada Park also hosts Takada Castle and more than 4,000 cherry trees which illuminate the whole area. "Sakura Road" is a splendid sight in which cherry blossoms are located on either side of a long, narrow road which creates a natural tunnel full of hues of pink and red making it a truly unforgettable experience.

  • Hirosaki Castle, Aomori
  • Kakunodate, Akita
  • Kitakami Tenshochi, Iwate
  • Shiroishigawa Hitome Senbonzakura, Miyagi
  • Yamagata Castle/Kajo Park, Yamagata
  • Hanamiyama Park, Fukushima
  • Takada Park, Niigata

The mapping service on this website is based on the free usage limits provided by Google Maps and the Google Maps privacy policy applies.
Please note that due to usage limits from time to time Google Maps might not display correctly.

  • Home
  • Features
  • Northern Japan's Top Cherry Blossom Festivals