A MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON 2016 Guide to Late-Blooming Cherry Blossoms!

06.April.2016 | SPOT

Hurray because the freezing days that seemed rather endless at the time, are actually coming to an end! (Sorry winter lovers)

We’re finally spotting the cherry blossoms bloom as we gaze outside the train windows on our daily commute; which officially means so long winter, HELLO SPRING. After all, aren’t we totally geared up for spring already anyway? (*waves at guy in a t-shirt*)

If you’re not familiar with the tradition – tis the time to Hanami (roughly translates to “flower-watching”) — which equates to spreading out a picnic mat and sitting under the cherry blossom trees to eat and drink your lives away. However, the cherry blossoms live very short lives (usually a week or so from full bloom), so if you’re not paying enough attention they’ll be gone with the wind (literally) before you know it. But don’t give your hopes up because although this may ring true for some of the variations, the late bloomers that reach full bloom in mid-April are ready to keep the town pink for the month of April!

*~ SAKURA AND ITS VARIATIONS ~*

Talk was that March 31st saw full bloom in Tokyo, which leaves us exactly a day until the beautiful sakura magically disappear affront our eyes if this sakura-expires-in-a-week-news is in any way accurate. Sadly, this is half true, but luckily — half false! To delve further into detail on why this is false it’s essential to know that cherry blossoms are divided into largely two parent categories. One is the yamazakura that grow in the wild, and the other is the satozakura, which are hybrids of different yamazakuras, bred for visual/gardening purposes. For example the somei yoshino, spotlighted to predict when the cherry blossoms will see full bloom in all areas of Japan, is a hybrid of two Yamazakuras: the Oshimazakura and the Edohigan. The Somei Yoshino is surprisingly fairly new if we were to consider the history of flowers, only being bred by these two back in the Edo period. Now it takes over 90% of all the sakura we see today.

An easy comparison? Satozakura, a mix breed (or below picture), yamazakura a pure breed. Simple!

dogs

Photo credits: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

The somei yoshino is likely to be the variation that pops up in your mind when you think sakura:

ソメイヨシノ

(Photo credits:http://shiga-kouyouen.com/

And then there’s the infinitely popular yaezakura, also the hybrid satozakura, that is bred to have more petals compared to a pure-breed:

yae

(Photo credits:http://ihoujin4192.blog.fc2.com/

And then there’s the fabulous shidare-zakura, characterized by its towering branches, creating a gorgeous curtain-like physique — also a satozakura.

しだれ

(Photo credits:http://guide.travel.co.jp/

The flowers on a yamazakura tree all bloom at different times, which explains why we still spot a couple of sakura trees out there from mid-late April boasting their beautiful petals. We’re happy to tell you that on top of the late-blooming yamazakura, the yaezakura is also a late-bloomer, so if anyone tells you sakura season’s done already, you can officially go and tell them that’s rubbish and catch these late-bloomers because it’s better late than never! Read on for the ultimate late-blooming Sakura guide from your go-to Tokyo hanami spots to wearable and edible sakura items.

*~ Spotting the late bloomers ~*

hanami

Photo credits: https://en.wikipedia.org/

1. Shinjuku Gyoen

Once you visit Shinjuku Gyoen, you start to think that it’s best to pay 200yen to enter ANY park if this is the treatment it’s going to get. The down side is as follows: to keep true to sanitary purposes, Shinjuku Gyoen prohibits you from unleashing your drunken craziness. Sorry party people, no alcohol. But if you’re out for a peaceful picnic, there’s plenty of room, and can we just mention that rolling around on grass (or embracing nature in general) becomes somewhat of a dream when you live your life in a concrete jungle that once you embrace it, you realize it’s actually totally necessary. In other words, Shinjuku Gyoen will definitely gift you with the much-needed nature fix.

Alcohol: ×

Food:

Number of cherry blossom trees: 1100

Closest station: Shinjuku Gyoen station (Metro Marunouchi line)

さくら

(Photo credits:http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/

2. Sumida Park

Walking through Sumida Park is like a time-capsule-stroll that takes you from some time in Edo to modern times — located smack in between the old-time townscapes of Asakusa (decked with rickshaws on the streets and a kabuki-theater-district) and the relatively new and tallest communication tower in Japan aka Tokyo Sky Tree. Here is where they hold a total of 640 trees right by the river, which you can also canoe if ever you feel like it. The somei yoshino may be gone by the beginning of April (*sobs*) but the yaezakura will be there to back you up!

Alcohol:◯

Food:◯

Number of cherry blossom trees:640

Closest station:Asakusa station (Tobu Isezaki line, Tokyo Metro Ginza line)

おくたま

(Photo credits:http://www.tachikawaonline.jp/

~Ver. Far out~ | Okutama Lake

Hop on the train and ride it for an hour and a half and this is where it’ll take you. Say hello to some nature you never got in the center of town! The Okutama Lake is a man-made lake that holds 4,000 cherry blossom trees in its graciously sweeping nature, and surely enough there’s a good number of yamazakura (the wild ones!) that will be blooming by the day. Spare yourself a day to catch this breathtaking view, you know it’ll be worth it.

penguins

Photo credits: http://www.fashion-press.net

~Ver. Interesting sakura experience~ | Sumida Aquarium

We’re giving you safety because at one point or another, the cherry blossoms will fall off their trees and get swept away. Here at Sumida Aquarium, you can spot their lovely penguins swim in a water full of sakura petals as well as other flower petals that’ll be enacted by projection mapping. Beware that this is a 7-min light show that happens 4 times a day with the first one starting at 1pm. Be sure to check details from the web before you rush out!

Dates: Mar. 19 (Sat) ~ Jul. 10 (Sun)

Closest Station: Oshiage (Metro Hanzomon-line)

Website: http://www.sumida-aquarium.com/

*~ If you wanna guzzle/munch on some… ~*

drinks

1. Sakura drinks

Carbonated drinks have got their very own sakura makeover this spring — go get a sakura power charge with the Pink Bull (or to be exact, Red Bull “The Spring Edition”) or drink up the sakura-flavored Pepsi coke, whichever you prefer.

Pink Red Bull website: http://www.redbull.com/

Sakura Pepsi Coke website: http://www.suntory.co.jp/

tsujiri

2. Saryo Tsujiri

It’s better to leave it up to the guys who’ve mastered their matcha sweets craft than picking up some random matcha treat at the combini, trust us on this for a better matcha/sakura combo experience. Entering spring, they’ve concocted a sweet, sweet sakura-matcha collab parfait. Yayz. The matcha sweets store, Saryo Tsujiri, is based in Kyoto (now 38 years running!) but if you’re in Tokyo, you can find them at Soramachi, the shopping mall attached to the tallest tower (specifically, a communication tower) in Japan, Tokyo Sky Tree as well as Daimaru in Tokyo. They’ve both got their own sakura-matcha make-over, so do some Saryo Tsujiri-hopping to get the full load!

Website: http://www.giontsujiri.co.jp/saryo/

*~ If you wanna wear some… ~*

sakuranike

Photo credits: http://www.highsnobiety.com/

1. NIKE

Can’t get enough of the seasonal flower? Slip these cherry blossom printed NIKEs from the cherry blossom pack on your feet, and make the effect last a little longer. You can currently get them in multiple silhouettes: Air Rift, WMNS Air Max 1, Stefan Janoski, Roshe, Cortez, and Toki Slip-ons.

Website: http://store.nike.com/jp

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    In the middle of the cafe is a 3-meter tall cherry blossom tree to recreate that Japanese springtime feel. There are also some cherry blossom-themed souvenirs available for purchase.

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    Surrounded by peach blossoms in full bloom

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  • Lisa Larson Designs Cute New Cherry Blossom Hedgehog Items

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    An adorable new collection of items fitting for Japanese springtime have been released featuring Lisa Larson’s popular hedgehogs and cherry blossoms. Larson has an interest in Japanese culture, and has designed this line-up in time for the Hanami season.

    Letter Paper Set – ¥440 (Tax Included) / Masking Tape (35mm) – ¥550 (Tax Included)

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    Water Absorbent Cloth – ¥660 (Tax Included) / Tea Towel – ¥660 (Tax Included)

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    Printed Hand Towel – ¥1,540 (Tax Included)

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    Mamezara Dish (Hasami Ware) – ¥1,430 (Tax Included)

    The hedgehogs are in the thick of the fully-bloomed cherry blossoms on this mamezara dish, which can be used for food or placing small items like keys and accessories.

    Waffles – ¥1,620 (Tax Included)

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    Hanami Set 2020 (Online Orders Only) – ¥11,000 (Tax Included)

    Available online only, this special set is the perfect way to enjoy Hanami in Japan this season, featuring a cute bird sake jug and more.

     

    Celebrate the arrival of the cherry blossoms in Japan with this new line-up from Lisa Larson.

  • Cherry Blossoms and Rape Blossoms Compete For Spring at Kusaba River in Fukuoka

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    But Kusaba River isn’t only home to cherry blossoms; it also sees rape blossoms sprout their yellow flowers during springtime, which offers a beautiful contrast to the overhead pink from the cherry trees.

    The place is lit up in the eveningsーa great chance to see the cherry blossoms in a different light at night.

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  • Must-Visit Spots in Kagawa Prefecture in 2020: Cherry Blossoms, Dolphins, Bonsai & More

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    Appreciation for the Seto Inland Sea in Japan is on the rise: American company Discovery named Shikoku one of its Top 10 must-visit rising locations around the world for 2020, and the city of Setouchi in Okayama has featured as a recommended travel destination in Western media. One particular location, Kagawa Prefecture, has been featured on many international travel sites as a must-visit place, including on Booking.com, Skyscanner, and REMOTE LANDS, with places such as Takamatsu, Teshima, and Shōdo Island being picked up.

     

    Takamatsu is known as the doorstep that brings together the many islands of Seto Inland Sea. It’s a port city with great fresh food, highly convenient for travellers wanting to visit lots of different islands, and a popular region that brings together elements of Japanese culture.

     

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    Shikoku Aquarium – The largest aquarium in Shikoku

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    Shikoku Aquarium

    Address: Utazu Rinkaikoen, 4-1 Utazu, Ayauta District, Kagawa

    Opening Hours:

    [March 20, 2020 – September 30, 2020] 9:00-18:00

    [October 1, 2020 – March 19, 2021] 10:00-18:00

    [Golden Week/Summer Break] 9:00-21:00

    No Fixed Holidays

    Price: General (16+ Years & High School Students) ¥2,200 / Children (Elementary School Students) ¥1,200 / Toddlers (3+ Years) ¥60

    Official Website: http://shikoku-aquarium.jp/

     

    Well-Known & Little-Known-Good Cherry Blossom Spots

    Kagawa Prefecture is home to many spots that offer beautiful sounds and sights throughout the four seasons. Cherry blossom season is right around the corner in Japan, so let’s take a look at some must-visit spots, both popular and little-known good ones.

     

    ■Well-Known Spots

    Ritsurin Garden (Takamatsu)

    One of the most famous historical gardens in Japan, Ritsurin Garden is home to around 320 Yoshino cherry trees, whose pink colour reflects beautifully off the lake together with the 1,000 green pine trees.

     

    Marugame Castle (Marugame)

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    ■Little-Known-Good Spots

    Megijima (Takamatsu)

    Around 3,000 cherry trees bloom on t he island, including Yoshino cherries, yama-zakura, and yae-zakura, which roll from the port to the lighthouse.

     

    Asahiyama Forest Park (Mitoyo)

    Asahiyama Forest Park is located on the peak of Mt. Asahi, up 238 meters high. There, you can witness 2,000 vibrant cherry blossom trees bloom in spring, including Yoshino cherries. The park’s observation deck is popular too, offering a 360° panoramic view.

     

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    Official Website: https://takamatsu-bonsai.com/en/

     

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    Takamatsu Bonsai no Sato

    Grand Opening: April 17, 2020

    Address: 353-1 Kokubunjichō Kokubu, Takamatsu, Kagawa

     

     

    Travel to Kagawa this spring to enjoy the cherry blossoms and pay a visit to the new Shikoku Aquarium.

  • Hanami in Japan 2020: Bite-Size Sushi Hanami Bento Lunch Box Releasing in Ginza

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    SHARI and SHARI THE TOKYO SUSHI BAR in Ginza, as well as CRAFT in Ariake, are releasing the perfect accompaniment to your hanami flower-viewing experience in Japan this spring: the “Hanami Roll Sushi Bento” lunch box, which consists of 36 bite-size sushi pieces made up of 12 different kinds of sushi. It will be available February 18 to April 30.

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    Shrimp Roll

    From the four new rolls, we have the sakura ebi shrimp roll, which is served with a gorgeous cherry blossom colour. It’s made with shibazuke pickles and vinegared rice, which gives it its colour, and contains, rape blossoms, okra, Chinese yam, and egg. The rape blossoms add a springtime bitterness to the sweetness of the sakura ebi, creating a wonderful combination of flavours.

    Beef Butterbur Miso Roll

    Then there’s the sakuradai roll is wrapped with vinegared tobiko flying fish roe, okra, and cucumber, which is topped with sashimi-style sakuradacherry blossom seam bream and salty cherry blossom leaves. The spring vegetable and tempura roll has shrimp and green bean tempura mixed with yuzu kosho paste; and finally, the beef butterbur miso roll, which contains beef rib seasoned in a sukiyaki style, finished with sesame seeds, and seasoned with butterbur miso.

     

    The eight popular classics include the wagyu roll sushi seasoned with luxurious truffle oil, Italian roll, duck roll, salmon roll, spider roll (soft shell crab), and more. All of these varied picks go great with wine or champagne.

    Hanami Roll Sushi Bento (9 Pieces): ¥1,200 (Tax Included)

    The “Hanami Roll Sushi Bento” comes in various sizes. As well as the 36 pieces of 12 sushi types, there’s also 18 pieces of 9 types (serves 1-2), and the 9 pieces of 9 types (serves 1).

     

    Reservations are available until 15:00 the previous day. Order yours for your Hanami cherry blossom flower-viewing this year in Japan.

  • Starbucks Reserve®︎ Roastery Tokyo to Release Cherry Blossom Spring Drinks and Merchandise

    15.February.2020 | FOOD

    Starbucks Reserve®︎ Roastery Tokyo boasts the most incredible location, sitting by the side of Nakameguro, one of Tokyo’s most famous spots for seeing the cherry blossoms in spring.

     

    This year, the coffee roastery’s “Sakura Season” is set to begin on February 15, when its cherry blossom-inspired merchandise collection is released, along with a line-up of pink beverages and food.

    The official Starbucks sakura merchandise ranges from tumblers and mugs to a key ring, handkerchief, and more, for a total of 10 items.

    Strawberry Chia Oolong – ¥900

    Poppun Sakura Jasmine Tea – ¥950

    Floating Blossom – ¥900

    Six beautiful beverages from last year’s Sakura Season at Starbucks are also making a return from the Teavana™️ brand, made with delicate and soft cherries, hibiscus, and tea leaves as refreshing as green grass.

    Clockwise From Left: Gianchetti & Sakura – ¥880 / Mini Panettone Sakura – ¥680 / Cornetti Sakura – ¥380 / Maritozzo Sakura – ¥540

    Italian bakery Princi®︎ is also heading to Japan for the first time to serve up Italian food culture to people at Starbucks Reserve®︎ Roastery Tokyo. Enjoy the floral taste of cherry blossoms done in a Princi®︎ way.

     

    Heading to Tokyo for Hanami and the cherry blossoms? Then make a stop at Starbucks Reserve®︎ Roastery Tokyo for this year’s Sakura Season.

  • Experience Tokyo’s Cherry Blossoms at Night With Rickshaw and Boat Rides

    08.February.2020 | SPOT

    HOSHINOYA Tokyo, a ryokan accommodation in the centre of Tokyo, has announced an exciting new plan for guests this spring season. Titled “Tokyo Yozakurabune Asobi,” the plan gives guests the chance to enjoy city’s cherry blossoms under the night sky from the seat of a rickshaw and from a boat ride. It’s running from March 25 to April 10 this year.

     

    Observe Tokyo’s nightscape and cherry blossoms from the Sumida River

    The departing site for the boat ride is located at Nihombashi Pier, just a 5-minute car ride from HOSHINOYA Tokyo. This 60-minute night cruise begins at the pier before floating across the Sumda River. Passengers will be able to to set their gaze on a multitude of Tokyo’s many beautiful cherry blossom spots, including along the coast of Tsukuda and along Oyokogawa River, amongst others.

     

    While aboard the boat, you can enjoy tucking into a spring coloured hanami bento box and sipping on sparkling Japanese sake. Your meal will provide the perfect accompaniment to the enchanting sights your eyes will be treated to, from the dusk-basked cherry blossoms to the reflection of the city lights on the water surface.

     

    Hanami flower viewing on a boat – a tradition since the Edo Period

    When Tokyo was known as Edo, its former name used until 1868, the city thrived as a Mizu no Miyako, or “Water Metropolis” due to its sophisticated water transportation system which enabled the carrying of people and goods. During this time, the people of Edo enjoyed the waterside in many different ways. One of these was Fune Asobi, or “pleasure boating,” where people would enjoy the nature along the shore throughout the four seasons. In spring, cherry blossoms would bloom along the Sumida River where some of the official buildings of the Tokugawa Shogunate were located. The Bakufu also incentivized pleasure trips of the masses, and so people would enjoy Hanami, or flower-viewing, from the boats.

     

    HOSHINOYA Tokyo has recreated this experience to not only pay homage to the activities of Edo, but to let people enjoy a luxurious time away from everyday life.

     

    1: Peer at the nighttime cherry blossoms and Tokyo’s evening scenes from your pleasure boat

    Your boat ride will take you to the best spots to see the cherry blossoms on that particular day. As night falls, you’ll also get to see some of Tokyo’s most famous tourist spots light up, like Tokyo Skytree and Eitai Bridge. Riverboat Mizuha, who operate the boat, will provide guests with a guide who will give them an insight into the history of the bridges, towns, and surrounding sights.

     

    2: Overhead cherry blossoms fill your vision on the rickshaw

    Experience Hanami like never before with HOSHINOYA Tokyo’s rickshaw ride. Your journey begins at the ryokan and ends at Nihombashi Pier. This one-way 30-minute trip will take you to some  breathtaking cherry blossom sites, including Edozakura-dori Street which is home to many historical buildings such as the Bank of Japan.

     

    3: Hanami bento and sake provided by a longstanding shop

    In the evening, enjoy tucking into a decorative Hanami bento made by Shin-Kaika, a long-standing restaurant in Kanda Myoujinshita by Kanda Myoujin Shrine. The colourful and light-tasting assortment includes cherry blossom pink sea bream kombu, as well as sushi rice seasoned with kurozu. Your meal will also be paired with delicious sparkling Japanese sake. On the way back, you can also enjoy matcha and tea-flavoured confections.

     

    Optional: Rent a springtime kimono and have it fitted on you

    For those looking to spend and even more special time out this spring in Japan, they can rent a silk kimono and have it fitted onto them. You select it beforehand and it is put on you at HOSHINOYA Tokyo. They will also do your hair and makeup. And if you have it all fitted early, you can spend the day walking around Tokyo seeing the cherry blossoms. You must book to choose and have a kimono fitted.  Prices start upward from ¥50,000 per person.

  • AI Predicts First Cherry Blossom of 2020 To Spring Up in Tokyo

    27.January.2020 | SPOT

    Weather app and website Otenki JAPAN’s free cherry blossom forecast ‘AI Sakura Yoso‘ is a service which predicts the blooming stages of cherry blossoms across the country by AI. The service has just released its predictions for the start and full bloom periods of 1006 cherry blossom-viewing locations. Otenki JAPAN has been using AI predictions since 2018 and has significantly improved its accuracy by 9 percent since last year.

    According to the AI’s predictions, many places from Kyushu to Tokai and in the Hokuriku region will see cherry blossoms blooming later in the season than the average year whereas many areas of the Kanto-Koshin and Tohoku regions will see sakura blooming earlier than average. Current predictions for blooming start dates include March 19 for Tokyo (7 days earlier than average), March 27 in Nagoya (1 day later than average), March 30 in Osaka (2 days later than average), and March 26 for Kyoto (2 days earlier than average). The earliest cherry blossoms are predicted to be in Tokyo and the latest are predicted to be in Aomori on April 23. 

     

    AI Sakura Yoso creates predictions by processing information on the blooming process of cherry blossoms, the weather, climate and much more. The app provides predictions for six stages for the blooming of cherry blossoms from the day they start blooming to the end. The AI uses data on the blooming conditions of approximately 980,000 cherry blossoms at 1,000 locations across the country over the past 10 years combined with weather information collected by Japan’s Automated Meteorological Data Acquisition System (AMeDAS) since 1998. The information is used to study each stage of the cherry blossom starting from its dormant stage and the end of its dormancy to the formation of the bud until the very end of the life cycle. Temperature and weather patterns are studied by the AI to produce its own sakura season prediction which is updated every day.

     

    If you’re keen to get your cherry blossom fill this spring, AI Sakura Yoso will help you plan your trip in advance. 

  • See 2,600 Cherry Blossom Trees at the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival

    02.April.2019 | SPOT

    Taking place in the city of Hirosaki in western Aomori Prefecture, this year’s Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival will run from April 20 to  May 6.

     

    This annual festival is the biggest in Hirosaki bringing in over 2 million people every year. Visitors will once again to be treated to a visual spectacle of 2,600 cherry blossom trees of 52 different species blooming their beautiful pink flowers in Hirosaki Park.

    Various events and activities will take place throughout the festival such as boat rides, a tour carried out by the one of the gardeners, and more.

     

    Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Celebratory Lantern Parade

    The festival will hold a parade on May 3―the date on which the first flower-viewing party event in Hirosaki was first carried out. It will ring in the start of Japan’s new era following Emperor Akihito’s abdication with a lantern parade

    Running: May 3 from 10:00am

    Where: From Hirosaki Park Otemon Gate to Inner East Gate

     

    Flower-Viewing Party in Traditional Japanese Dress

    This flower-viewing party was so popular last year that it is making a return in 2019. Dress up in traditional Japanese clothing and receive a special ticket to enter the Hirosaki Castle botanical gardens for free.

    Running: April 20, 2019 – May 6, 2019

    Ticket Location: Ninomaru / Shinomaru Information Centre

    Hirosaki Park Boat Ride

    Enjoy the cherry blossoms from a different angle with a boat ride along the moat.

    Running: April 20, 2019 – May 6, 2019

    Time: 9:00-17:00 (Last rides at 16:30) *Subject to change depending on weather and number of boarders

     

    Special Cherry Blossom Tour

    The park’s gardeners will carry out a tour of the cherry blossoms and provide interesting explanations.

    Running: April 30, 2019 & May 2, 2019

    Time: From 13:30 (90 minute tour)

    No. of People: 40 people per tour (first-come, first-served)

    Price: Free

    Flower Carpet

    During the cherry blossom’s full bloom season thousands of petals will fall into the moat, creating a gorgeous pink carpet on the water surface. This will make for some great photographs.

  • Enjoy Hanami With Eimei the Giant Panda at Adventure World in Wakayama

    30.March.2019 | SPOT

    Adventure World in Wakayama is holding a special springtime event from March 28 to April 3 called Hanami With Eimei.

     

    A hanami flower-viewing area will be set up in front of the outdoor breeding centere where Eimei the giant panda lives meaning you get to enjoy the cherry blossoms together with her. The cherry blossoms at the park are scheduled to be at the height of their blossom on March 30.

    Bask in the warm spring sun while gazing at the beautiful pink flowers with Eimei.

  • Enjoy cherry blossoms from theme park rides at Osaka’s Hirakata Park! ♡ Over 300 trees about to bloom!

    18.March.2019 | SPOT

    From the end of March to the beginning of April, sakura will bloom at Hirakata amusement park. There are approximately 300 sakura trees and eight varieties of tree including Yoshino cherry blossoms. Amongst the park attractions is the “Skywalker”; a giant ferris wheel that overlooks the park. The path to the ride is hilly and lined with sakura trees, so during full bloom, the path is completely covered in a bed of pink petals!

     

    This theme park is unique in that you can enjoy the cherry blossom view and the rides simultaneously! The roller coaster ride “Red Falcon” is also located near a road lined with sakura trees, so you can enjoy an even more wonderful sakura-viewing experience! Plus, you can take your cherry blossom viewing to a whole new level on the “Skywalker” as the carriages of the ride overlook the park from the sky and remain in mid-air for approximately 10 minutes. ♡

     

    Thanks to the arrival of spring, you can enjoy Hirakata Park sakura to the max!

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