Cherry Blossoms are an emblem of Japan. It is indeed a spectacular sight when they bloom, with the pink of the tree standing out. People from all over the world travel to Japan to bask in the glory that is its Cherry Blossoms. And the Tohoku region has some of the best spots to view cherry blossoms.
There are some gorgeous Sakura (another name for Cherry Blossoms) spots in Tohoku which have been well revered by the Japanese people for quite a while now. Though also found in other places in the country, the Tohoku Sakura are some of the country’s most beautiful.
Cherry Blossoms make their way to Tohoku following a trail up from southern Japan. Around late January, this wave of Sakura blooms first in Okinawa, the south of Japan, leading through Kyushu and the Kanto by March’s end, finally arriving in Tohoku. In Cherry Blossoms in Tohoku, we will walk you through ten locations in Tohoku where you can make the most of the Cherry Blossoms in Japan while visiting the beautiful, culture-rich country.
The first of Japan’s trees to be anointed as a natural monument, alongside the Yamataka Jindai-zakura and the Neodani Usuzumi-zakura, the Miharu Taki-zakura is also known as the weeping cherry tree. Its name is from its resemblance that people have often noticed: it reminds one of a waterfall, branches all protruding every which way, dainty cherry blossoms sparkling its broad expanse.
The Miharu Takizakura is over a thousand years old; its age can be felt from afar, and the roots and gnarly trunk are testament to its longevity. While the cherry blossoms are quite a sight in daylight, they are twice as beautiful at night when the lights light up the backdrop magnificently for people to see. The pink of the blossoms, accentuated by the light, is an exquisite kind of beauty, especially when observed at night.
From the abolished railway to the walking promenade, the Nicchu-sen National Railway has an abundance of Cherry Blossoms that are known to bloom first in the mid of April. All the way up to three kilometers, the place is a walk-through heaven with bustling pink trees lining one side.
This area is on the promenade, where the trees line both left and right, make it an exquisite Sakura tunnel to walk through. If you love breathtaking nature walks, you could not ask for a better place to take pictures than the Nicchu Line promenades.
Winds blow at the trees in the spring season, and the whole area is turned into a cherry blossom-sweetened street. It is absolutely perfect. The steam locomotive that once used to run along the line of the Nicchu-sen can also be seen when you’re in the middle of the path.
Cherry Blossoms in Nicchu Line Memorial Walkway
Found in the south of the Miyagi Prefecture, the Shiroishi River is an exquisite sight, meandering next to the snow-tipped white of the Zao Mountains. The mountain facing side of the river is impeccably lined with Sakura blossoms; that is around eight kilometers of walking side by side with heaven, the backdrop of the Zao adding to the overall beauty of the landscape.
While the blossoms are active, several Tohoku Sakura events are conducted during relevant months. This also includes the famous Ogawara Sakura Festival and the Ohanami Yakatabune. It is customary to delve into the delights of the bank-lining cherry blossoms while onboard a ship.
It gets even better if you choose to ride the JR Tohoku Main Line via train. The locomotive will carefully pass the Ogawara Station and the Funaoka Station, giving you a view of the luscious cherry blossoms from inside the train.
Shiroishi-gawa Tsutsumi Hitome Senbonzakura
A bit of history on Tsutsujigaoka, it is said that the Date clan’s fourth lord had supposedly planted some cherry tree seeds brought in all the way from Kyoto in the area which is now Tsutsujigaoka Park, thereby marking the inception of the now famous park.
The Tsutsujigaoka is known for its wide array of cherry blossoms. Around 370 cherry blossom trees bloom here in spring. These include the weeping cherry, the Yaezakura, the Ukon-zakura, and the Higanzakura. Their blooms last a long time, so people visiting can enjoy these blossoms for a longer period.
The Tsutsujigaoka Park has a signature festival by the name (you must have guessed it already) Sakura Festival. While this year’s Sakura Festival has already taken place, you can hope to catch the next one next year. The access is pretty easy, and the nearest way to get to the festival is the JR Tsutsujigaoka Station.
Another festival by the Cherry Blossom Festival for 2023 is yet to be disclosed.
Cherry Blossoms in Tsutsujigaoka Park
Situated close to Jozenji-Dori, a road symbolic for Sendai, the Nishi Park has around 200 Cherry Blossoms. These also include the Somei-Yoshino and the Edohigan Zakura, which can be found in full bloom during the days of April. Apart from the blossoms, there are other things in the park worth your attention, and you’d be making it to Nishi for just looking at trees, should you feel that way.
As far as this park’s history goes, a plum tree was brought back from Korea to Sendai Castle and transplanted, giving Date Masamune, the first lord of Sendai, the honor of having the Sakura-bloom in the area. The Sendai’s renowned zunda mochi – red bean paste on a rice cake – can also be enjoyed while taking in the beauty of the Cherry Blossoms.
This park is easily accessible from the Sendai City Subway Tozai line via the Omachi-Nishi-Koen Station. You can also go sightseeing around the area, shop and eat, too.
These ruins also go by Aoba Castle. The grounds were where the Date clan is remembered to have lived. It is a famous sightseeing place in the Sendai area.
The statue of Masamune Date can be seen in early spring, horse against the owner, the pink of cherry blossoms surrounding the sculpture. The surrounding area is now called Aobayama Park, encompassed by the magnificent Hirose River and the famous Mount Aoba.
So, where are the cherry blossoms at? The Aoba Castle, not far from the Sendai Castle Museum close to the Ruins, is where you can enjoy both a hearty meal and the area’s own abundance of beautiful cherry trees. The ruins are perfect for when you don’t just want to look at trees – there is a lot of other things for you to look at and amuse yourself.
Loople Sendai, the Sendai City Loop Bus, is what you need to get from the 16th bus stop near JR Station to get to the ruins.
Cherry Blossoms in Sendai Castle Ruins
Next comes the Okitama Region, connected through a 44-Kilometer-long route and part of the Yamagata Prefecture. Two cities and a town melded into one: the cities of Nanyo and Nagai, and the town of Shirataki when running alongside the Yamagata Railway, resulting in the Flower Nagai Line or the Okitama Sakura Corridor.
Dotted with several gorgeous and famous cherry trees: these include the Nanyo Eboshiyama-senbon Sakura, another tree called Yakushi Sakura around 1300 years old, and the Edohigan and Isazawa-no-kubo trees. The Lonesome Cherry Blossom can also be found here, and is particularly famous. The Lonesome Cherry Blossom is known to be over 1500 years old. The Okitama Sakura Corridor has received the honor of having two of Japan’s designated Natural Monuments.
Should you decide to visit the Okitama Sakura Corridor, we recommend going with a guide that can help you get the most out of your trip and help you avoid getting lost around the area.
Okitama Sakura Corridor
Found in Senboku City in the Akita Prefecture, there is a very well-known tourist destination where you can find streets well over 400 years old. The Bukeyashiki-dori is best known for its old samurai houses and residences, one reason why it is always crowded with tourists and quite popular among tourist circles.
Every year by April end, the streets are stings of pink weeping Sakuras, making for an exceptionally stunning view. The pitch dark, wooden fences encompassing the houses of the samurai provide quite the backdrop to the pink of the cherry blossoms. These streets are lit up in the most spectacular of fashions during the peak hours of the Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Festival.
There is another spot not too far from Bukeyashiki-dori, the river of Hinokinaigawa, where several Cherry Blossoms bloom during the same time as their Bukeyashiki counterparts.
Cherry Blossoms in Kakunodate Bukeyashiki-dori Street
Found outside of the Morioka District Court, Ishiwari is best known for its Edohigan Zakura cherry tree that blooms around the area. Known for having been around for more than 400 years, the trees are another of Japan’s national monuments. There is a massive boulder of rock that is around 21 meters in circumference, and this incredible cherry blossom has arisen from a crack in the middle of the stone. The crack, as legend says, might have been caused by a lightning strike long ago.
The courthouse has strict hours, and visitors can enjoy the 400 year-old cherry blossoms from 8:00 in the morning to 5:45 in the afternoon.
The view from the nearby sidewalk is pretty good, too, should the gates not be open to you.
Ishiwari “Rock-Breaking” Cherry Tree
A former part of the Morioka Castle and the former house of the lord of the Nanbu domain, the granite stone walls and the quaint, yet beautiful pond of the old Morioka Castle Ruins are still standing today, and a park has been built around them named after the ruins. People from all over the city come to take in the simple beauty of the Ruins and cherry blossoms surrounding them.
The Morioka Castle Ruins are also fascinating for the monuments dedicated to two poets, Kenji Miyazawa and Takuboku Isikawa, who frequently used the park to write prose and poetry. The Cherry Blossoms are quite a sight to see when set against the background of the stone walls and the poets’ monuments.
Cherry Blossoms in Morioka Castle Ruins Park
Tohoku is one of the best places to view cherry blossoms in the country, and there are far more than just ten places where you can enjoy looking at Cherry Blossoms.
Whichever sites you pick for looking at cherry blossoms, we hope you have a great time, and take a bucket lot of pictures.
Have fun and happy cherry blossom viewing in Tohoku.