How about coming to the Tohoku Region for cherry blossom viewing? It is best to visit in April to see the region’s cherry blossoms at the peak of their beauty. This is our Tohoku 4-day spring itinerary, recommended for some of the best cherry blossom views in Japan.
Day 1: Tsutsujigaoka Park and the Weeping Cherry Tree at Ishibashiya Shop – Sendai City
Let’s start this cherry blossom viewing tour with our first spot. Located just a 10-minute walk from Sendai Station, Tsutsujigaoka Park is home to 360 cherry trees of different varieties. Since the different varieties have slightly different blooming periods, visitors can enjoy the cherry blossoms for a relatively longer period at this park. Every year, a cherry blossom festival is held. During this time, lanterns and stalls line the park, and the area is illuminated at night. The festival events and activities change every year, so it is better to check the latest information before you go.
Next is the Weeping Cherry Tree at Ishibashiya Shop, a hidden-gem cherry blossom spot that is growing in popularity. Built 137 years ago, Ishibashiya is a long-established shop selling traditional Japanese confectionery. The old building and the weeping cherry tree beside it create a unique retro-Japanese scene.
Day 2: A Thousand Cherry Trees at Hitome Senbon Zakura & Funaoka Castle Park – Ogawara and Shibata towns
Hitome Senbon Zakura (View of a Thousand Cherry Trees) along the Shiroishi Riverbank is a cherry blossom spot representative of Miyagi Prefecture. The 8-kilometer Shiroishi Riverbank is lined with 1,200 cherry trees, mainly of the most popular variety, the Somei Yoshino (Yoshino Cherry). The cherry blossoms in full bloom make for a breathtaking sight that has been selected as one of Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots. The flowers are at their best from the beginning to the middle of April, during which the two towns of Ogawara and Shibata, where the Shiroishi River flows, hold their respective festivals, the “Ogawara Cherry Blossom Festival” and the “Shibata Cherry Blossom Festival.”
Just walking distance from the previous spot, Funaoka Castle Park is another recommended cherry blossom spot. When the flowers are in full bloom, the whole mountaintop park turns cherry-blossom pink! Visitors can ride the slope car through the beautiful tunnel of cherry blossoms and take in the view from the top of the mountain or the observation deck, again of the thousand cherry trees of Hitome Senbon Zakura, but this time from above and alongside snowy scenery from the town of Zao.
The Shibata Sen’okyo Bridge (Shibata Thousand Cherry Blossom Bridge), which connects Funaoka Castle Park and Hitome Senbon Zakura, is also worth a stop as it allows you to enjoy the thousand cherry trees up close.
Day 3: Ishiwarizakura (Rock-Splitting Cherry Tree) and Kitakami Tenshochi Park – Iwate Prefecture
Iwate Prefecture’s Ishiwarizakura (Rock-Splitting Cherry Tree) is a majestic Edohigan cherry tree that grew out of a crack in a large granite boulder. Standing at about 10 meters high and estimated to be 350 to 400 years old, it has been designated as a national natural monument. The tree blooms beautifully every year starting in mid-April and is lovely both during the day and the night.
Next, view 10,000 cherry trees at Kitakami Tenshochi Park. The highlights here include the row of cherry trees extending for 2 kilometers from Sango-Bashi Bridge and the park’s rich variety of 150 types of cherry blossoms. During the cherry blossom festival, vibrant carp streamers adorn the Kitakami River, sightseeing boats ferry tourists, and nostalgic sightseeing horse-drawn carriages run along the line of cherry trees. At night, the beautifully illuminated trees are reflected on the river surface, making for a romantic scene.
Day 4: Saruka Park and Hirosaki City – Aomori Prefecture
View the cherry blossoms at Saruka Park, where greenery, flowers, and water are all in beautiful harmony. The park’s 330 cherry trees, comprising weeping cherries, Somei Yoshino, and double-flowered cherry trees, surround two ponds and create a splendid sight. Visitors can rent boats at Miharugaike Pond and enjoy the view of the cherry blossoms from the water. Try feeding the carp in the pond, as they’ve been known to scarf down food! The Hirakawa Cherry Blossom Festival is also held during the flowers’ blooming period.
The next stop is Hirosaki City, which is known for the best cherry blossom festival in Japan! Experience the distinctly Japanese scenery of 2,600 cherry trees blooming around Hirosaki Castle. Other highlights include the cherry blossom scenery reflected in the surface of the castle’s outer moat and fallen petals on the moat that create a stream of pink. The 300-meter cherry blossom tunnel on the western moat is another sight that should not be missed. The rows of cherry trees are breathtaking, and walking under the tunnel they make is like stepping into a fairy tale world!