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)
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.
Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival
Running: April 20, 2019 – May 6, 2019
Location: Hirosaki Park (1 Shimoshiroganechō, Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture)
Honmaru/Kita no Kuruwa Area – 7:00-21:00 (9:00-17:00 from April 20 to 22 and May 6)
Botanical Garden – 9:00-18:00
Illuminations – Sunset until 23:00 (subject to change)
*Some locations in the park will charge a fee. This includes the Honmaru/Kita no Kuruwa Area. It costs ¥310 for adults and ¥100 for children.
Hirosaki Castle Chrysanthemum and Autumn Foliage Festival Begins on October 18
13.October.2019 | SPOT
This year’s Hirosaki Castle Chrysanthemum and Autumn Foliage Festival is set to take place in Hirosaki, Aomori from October 18 to November 10.
The festival is held annually every autumn and has been since 1962. It has become a festival deeply tied to autumntime Hirosaki, with 1,000 vivid chrysanthemum trees set to bloom at Hirosaki Park this year in addition to 2,600 cherry blossom trees, which in springtime were pink and will now turn red and yellow for the autumn season.
After the sun sets during the event, the castle, park and surrounding areas will be lit up with enchanting illuminations, reflecting off the trees and surface of the moat, lending even more beauty to the area.
Hirosaki Castle Chrysanthemum and Autumn Foliage Festival
Running: October 18, 2019 – November 10, 2019
Location: Hirosaki Castle Botanical Garden in Hirosaki Park
General (High School Students and older) – ¥320
Children (Junior High School students and younger) – ¥100
*The illuminations will run from sunset to 21:00
Support Japan’s National Rugby Team With Cherry Blossom Popcorn & Cheetos
02.August.2019 | FOOD
To promote support of the Brave Blossoms―Japan’s National Rugby Union Team (JNRU)―Mike Popcorn and Cheetos are teaming up with them to release limited edition packaged products on August 26.
Mike Popcorn Japan National Rugby Team Salted Sakura Shrimp – ¥125 (Before Tax)
The JNRU are known for their trademark cherry blossom emblem and red and white striped uniforms, so Mike Popcorn are releasing salted sakura shrimp flavour popcorn with these very motifs.
Cheetos Japan National Rugby Team Pollock Roe Cheese – ¥125 (Before Tax)
Cheetos are a global brand sold in over 40 countries worldwide. This exclusive flavour forms a tight scrum of ingredients, perfectly combining rich cheese and delicious Pollock roe into a crunchy snack. Like with Mike Popcorn, Cheetos have created a beautiful packaging with cherry blossom flowers as well as Chester Cheetah showing his support by donning the iconic jersey.
Which pack do you want to try most to show your support for Japan in the Rugby World Cup?
Mike Popcorn Japan National Rugby Team Salted Sakura Shrimp
Price: ¥125 (Before Tax)
Release Date: August 26, 2019
Available: Everywhere in Japan
Mike Popcorn Official Website: http://www.fritolay.co.jp/ourbrands/mike/
Cheetos Japan National Rugby Team Pollock Roe Cheese
Price: ¥125 (Before Tax)
Release Date: August 26, 2019
Available: Everywhere in Japan
Cheetos Official Website: http://www.fritolay.co.jp/ourbrands/cheetos/
From Wine to Hydrangeas Taste the Regional Shaved Ice Flavours of Japan at Hoshino Resorts KAI
10.July.2019 | FOOD
Hoshino Resorts hot spring ryokan brand KAI is offering guests the opportunity to explore different regional shaved ice desserts that are served with delicious regional syrups and toppings. Shaved ice is a traditional summer dessert that was even mentioned in the famous work The Pillow Book, which was written by Sei Shonagon during her time as Empress Consort Teishi’s court lady during the 990s and early 1000s of the Heian period.
The concept of KAI expresses both originality and the thirst for experimenting to make something new. The event offers a range of original flavours, embracing the Japanese tradition of eating flavoured shaved ice to battle the heat of summer. From wine-flavoured shaved ice in Nagano, to Hydrangea shaved ice at Hakone, this is the perfect opportunity to try a range of shaved ice desserts that are full of vibrant colours. These regional flavours are sure to spark your curiosity for discovery in that region.
Wine Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Matsumoto (Asama Onsen, Nagano)
The cone-shaped region of Kikyogahara, which is located next to Matsumoto city, is well known for its wine production. This area produces around 50 different kinds of Kikyogahara wine. The flavoured syrup for this shaved ice comes from concord grape wine sourced from Kikyogahara. Each porcelain bowl for the dessert is handmade. Customers can enjoy the smooth, rounded feel of the grape pattern on the bowl as they dig into their dessert. As the alcohol is burned out of the dish, even those who do not like alcohol can enjoy this mature dessert. From the carefully prepared wine syrup to the handmade bowl, you will be able to feel all the hard work put into the making of these luxurious desserts. This is the perfect way to cool off after a hot day.
Hydrangea Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Hakone
Due to the altitude differences at Hakone, you can enjoy the beautiful hydrangeas for an even longer time than other areas of Japan. There is a Hydrangea train (Ajisai Densha) that runs up the mountains providing passengers with the beautiful view of blooming flowers, creating the perfect summer memories. Observing the large groups of flowers in full bloom fills you with such a refreshing feeling. Their beautiful colours are expressed in the colour of this hydrangea shaved ice.
Strawberry Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Nikko (Chuzenji Onsen, Tochigi)
Tochigi prefecture has been Japan’s no.1 producer of strawberries for 50 years straight. This shaved ice is served in a strawberry-shaped bowl and is served with sweet yet slightly sour strawberry syrup and a topping of bittersweet matcha sauce. Here, you can enjoy a cool evening up 1,300 metres high overlooking beautiful scenery from inside the establishment whose spectacular interior that boasts Tochigi’s traditional art of Kanuma Kanoko craft.
Tomato Flavoured Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso (Sonomoto, Oita)
As tomatoes thrive during the summer, this tomato shaved ice is the perfect way to cool down. This shaved ice is sweet and slightly sour and the vibrant red colour is enough to refresh you. Tomatoes are low in calories and contain an abundant range of healthy nutrients. They are also high in vitamin C which is good for your skin and is known for helping prevent illness. Tomatoes are also a good supply of vitamin E, which is good at slowing the effects of aging. Take a seat on the terrace and enjoy your shaved ice as a refreshing breeze rolls by. This is the perfect way to enjoy a cool summer with a healthy and delicious dessert.
Neputa Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru (Owani Onsen, Aomori)
The Neputa Shaved Ice represents the Hirosaki Neputa Festival that takes place in the summer at the old castle town of Hirosaki. To represent Tsugaru Vidro coloured glass, which is an important part of Tsugaru culture, red, blue and green coloured jelly pieces decorate the top of the shaved ice. These colours also represent the vibrant colours of Neputa festival. This Instagram-worthy dessert shows off the best of the fresh colours of Tsugaru.
Kai Regional Shaved Ice Desserts 2019
Running: July 13, 2019 – August 31, 2019
Hoshino Resorts Kai Official Website: https://kai-ryokan.jp/
Indulge In The Best Melon Experience At Japan’s First Melon Factory Antenna Shop
24.June.2019 | FOOD
Tsugaru, Aomori is known for its delicious melons. On July 7, Japan’s first melon factory called Melon to Roman will open its first ever antenna shop in Kagurazaka, Tokyo. Here, a range of delicious melon-themed desserts and drinks will be developed for customers to try out Aomori melon treats.
Recently, melons are becoming less and less popular in Japan. As a result, Melon to Roman was established to spread the love of melons countrywide.
The melon factory uses 10,400 tonnes of melons each year, meaning that Tsugaru alone creates 70% of Aomori’s melon produce. The melon desserts at the antenna shop are made from Tsugaru’s special melons. The aim of the antenna shop is to make Tsugaru more famous.
Melon Fruit Sandwich
A melon fruit sandwich is definitely a rare sight. The Melon Fruit Sandwich is made by filling raisin bread with melon pieces. Adults are bound to love its rich flavour.
Melon Shaved Ice with Fluffy Mousse
The Melon Shaved Ice with Fluffy Mousse consists of fluffy shaved ice made from the juice of the melon. This is topped with a generous serving of foam made out of 100% melon juice.
Luxury Melon Parfait
The melon parfait is the masterpiece of the menu. It is made of three luxurious layers of fresh melon.
The antenna shop provides a number of ways to experience Aomori’s melons with all your senses. Witness calligraphy written by original melon ink, listen to the stories of the journey of these melons, touch the drinks coasters that will make you feel like you are touching a melon, and sample different flavours of melon from the food and drinks tasting menus to immerse your sense of taste and smell in the world of melons. There has never been an antenna shop quite like this before. There will also be a video called “The Girl And The Melon” that will be shown at the antenna shop. Some adults might find this video quite emotional.
Immerse yourself fully in the miraculous world of melons and learn about a whole new perspective on melons.
Location: 3-6-92, Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Grand Opening: July 7, 2019 (11:30 ー 17:30)
Closed: Mondays, Tuesdays & New Year’s period
Official Website: melon-roman.com
* Open from July 1
The Premium Bread of Ginza Nishikawa Arrives in Japan’s Tohoku Region
11.June.2019 | FOOD
Ginza Nishikawa is a popular bread shop that opened its doors in Ginza last autumn. The store has announced that on June 27, it will open its 10th branch in Hirosaki, Aomori―the first to open in the Tohoku region.
The shop sells one product: a high-quality premium loaf whose water content Ginza Nishikawa are very particular about. The bread’s chewy and slightly sweet taste is best enjoyed as it is―and on the first day. If left after the first day, you can enjoy a completely different tasting experience. This is because the water content decreases after day one. If toasted from the second day onward, the bread has a deliciously particular aroma which you don’t get when the bread is soft.
This bread goes extremely well with Japanese ingredients and condiments, such as kinpira gobo (braised burdock root), nasu miso, narazuke pickles, pollock roe, shuto (pickled bonito entrails mixed with honey, mirin and sake), and so on.
Ginza Nishikawa also recommends eating the bread with alcohol, such as a light and slightly sour red or rosé, or a strong white. It also goes well with sparkling wine, especially brands from Japan. With cocktails, they recommend drinking fruity ones like peach, loquat, or yuzu. Bread is normally seen as a breakfast food, but this bread is also one to be enjoyed in the evening too.
Ginza Nishikawa’s bread is handcrafted into delicious loafs that anyone can enjoy at anytime by their skilled bakers. The staff check the temperature of the weather and level of humidity to carefully calculate the rate of water absorption and fermentation time to ensure high quality results every time. And to make sure that the flavour and texture of the bread is exactly the same at every branch, the company created their own evaluation system.
The water in the bread is made with an alkaline ionizer which is what makes it so unique, giving it a smooth texture like silk.
The stores also sell four different cloths that wrap around a single loaf (¥1,296 tax included).
Be sure to stop by Ginza Nishikawa if you’re passing through Aomori Prefecture.
Ginza Nishikashi (Hirosaki Branch)
Grand Opening: June 27, 2019
Address: 1-2-9 Miyakawa, Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture
Opening Hours: 11:00-18:00
*Reservations can be made from June 17, 2019 at 12:00 (JST) onward
Official Website: https://ginza-nishikawa.co.jp/
Cherry Blossom & Matcha Parfait Now Being Served at Saryo Tsujiri Gion Honten
03.April.2019 | FOOD
The Gion branch of Saryo Tsujiri released its new dessert “Hana no Utage” (Flower Banquet) on April 1.
Price: ¥1,451 (Tax Included) / Available: April 1, 2019 – April 30, 2019
This parfait breathes springtime with its blooming cherry blossom ice cream, fluffy cherry blossom cream, cherry blossom cookie, matcha cookie and more.
If you’re in Kyoto this spring then treat yourself to this refreshing parfait.
Saryo Tsujiri Gion Honten
Address: Saryo Tsujiri Gion Honten Floors 2F & 3F, 573-3 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Opening Hours: 10:00-22:00 (Last Orders – Weekdays 21:00 / Weekends 20:30)
No Fixed Holidays.
Official Website: http://www.giontsujiri.co.jp/saryo/store/kyoto_gion/
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.
Hanami With Eimei the Giant Panda
Address: 2399 Katata, Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun, Wakayama Prefecture
Running: March 28, 2019 – April 3, 2019
Adventure World Official Website: http://www.aws-s.com/
Twitter Japan is now holding a campaign entitled Sakura Saku (#サクラサク) until April 30, 2019. The campaign title means “blooming cherry blossoms” and is a way to get more people talking about the country’s springtime cherry blossoms online.
There are 3 ways to participate and it’s super easy to get involved.
1. Bloom cherry blossoms across Twitter feeds with hashtags (Running: Until April 30)
Twitter has implemented a feature so when certain hashtags are posted a cherry blossom flower appears after it.
These hashtags are as follows: #さくら ＃花見 #はなみ #お花見 #桜 #おはなみ #sakura #開花 #開花宣言 #咲いた #さくらの日 #サクラ #夜桜 #満開 #cherryblossom #サクラサク
Additionally, if you hit “Like” on a Tweet that has one of these hashtags in it the heart symbol becomes a cherry blossom.
2. Cardcaptor Sakura Collaboration (Running: March 27 – April 30)
These cherry blossom marks also work with the hashtag #木之本桜 which is Sakura Kinomoto’s name in Japanese, the protagonist of Cardcaptor Sakura.
27 lucky people have the chance to win a special merchandise set made in collaboration with Twitter and the series by simply retweeting the above Tweet.
3. Sakura for Good Project (Running: Until April 30)
Twitter will donate to Sakura Line 311, a non-profit orgranisation that plants cherry blossoms, depending on how many times the hashtag #桜 is Tweeted including Retweets. Anybody can join this campaign and it goes towards a good cause.
If you have a Twitter account then be sure to get involved.
Top 3 Cherry Blossom Events in Japan’s Kansai Region for Hanami 2019
We previously covered the top cherry blossom events to enjoy in Japan’s Kanto region for this year’s hanami. If you’re travelling to the Kansai region however―which includes Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Kobe and many others―then we’ve got you covered for that too. Here are our Top 3 picks for cherry blossom events you should visit this flower-viewing spring season in Kansai.
Kyoto Botanical Garden – Sakura Light-Up 2019
Kyoto Botanical Garden’s Sakura Light-Up 2019 will run from March 25 to April 7 followed by the Sakura Sanpo cherry blossom strolling event from April 19 to 21. The garden boasts a long cherry blossom season. In many famous cherry blossom spots in Japan the Yoshino cherry trees bloom for one week at the beginning of April, but at Kyoto Botanical Garden they sprout early in mid-March and stay until the end of April, meaning you can enjoy the beautiful pink hues for even longer.
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/163353
CAFETEL Kyoto Sanjo for Ladies – SAKURA ROOM
CAFETEL Kyoto Sanjo for Ladies is a female-oriented café and hostel that is now taking bookings for its SAKURA ROOM. This beautiful room radiates a spring vibe with its light coloured ribbon curtains, a cherry blossom fragrance that permeates the room, pretty cherry blossom flower crowns and more. There are plenty of places to snap some Instagrammable pictures. From outside the window guests can the scenery of the city of Kamogawa so they can enjoy hanami from their room!
Osaka Hirakata Park – Enjoy 300 Cherry Trees桜300本が楽しめる 大阪ひらかたパーク
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. Enjoy the cherry blossoms while riding the attractions!
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/186019
Did you enjoy this list? Be sure to see as many cherry blossom spots as you can when in Japan.
Experience an Edo Hanami at Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura
24.March.2019 | SPOT
Edo Wonderland is a cultural theme park in Nikko, Tochigi that recreates what life was like back in the Edo period. The park is currently putting efforts in to provide a new kind of food experience to guests. Since last year, with the help of Rei Fuyuki―a food researcher knowledgeable in Edo cuisine―the park has been serving authentic Edo style dishes inspired by the four seasons.
This spring, Edo Wonderland is set to host a new event that will offer people a chance to experience an Edo hanami. They will tuck into food from the Edo period while viewing the cherry blossoms.
Guests will be able to enjoy hanami in a variety of different ways, be it under the blue sky, on the side of a moat with a bento in hand, in the restaurant with a luxurious hanami-inspired meal and sake, and more.
The EDO-SATOYAMA Project is an initiative that aims to restore the original scenery of Edo. As part of the project, British-born Japanese writer and environmentalist C. W. Nicol planted cherry trees with children from local nurseries last year. He is set to participate in this year’s Edo hanami too where he will fertilise and water plants with the children to help pass on the importance of taking care of the beautiful undeveloped woodlands.
Change into traditional Japanese dress and become a person of Edo to enjoy a unique Edo flower-viewing experience.
Edo Wonderland Saijiki Haru no Utage ~Edo no Hanami~
Running: April 4, 2019 – April 14, 2019 (*Select events running on weekends only)
Location: Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura (Address: 470-2 Karakura, Nikko-shi, Tochigi Prefecture)
Official Website: http://edowonderland.net/
World heritage site Nijō Castle, Kyoto holds Sakura illumination event!
24.March.2019 | SPOT
From national holiday Thursday 21st March to Sunday 14th April, world heritage Nijō Castle (Kyoto) is holding a cherry blossom festival to celebrate its 25th anniversary called “Seikaiisan tōroku 25 shūnenkinen Nijōjō Sakuramatsuri 2019”. Last spring, approximately 304,594 people visited the castle during the day and during the night illumination event, making Nijō castle one of the most popular places in Kyoto to watch cherry blossoms.
Nijō castle is home to 300 cherry blossom trees. There are approximately 50 different varieties of cherry blossoms and some bloom earlier and later than others. Kanhi-zakura tend to bloom first, followed by Somei Yoshino, Yamazakura, Segakuzakura and Satozakura, meaning that you have approximately one month to enjoy cherry blossoms!
For two years now, the night Sakura festival includes projection mapping on the castle gates, illumination on the rapeseed blossoms, and much more! This time the festival space will be the largest it’s ever been. This has been powered up to become an even more enjoyable event.
Gate projection mapping
Blue butterflies form on the gate, turn into gold and dance into the castle as if they are bringing spring into Nijō castle.
Illumination of thin Sakura-lined paths and Rapeseed Sakura
This will be the first time that the small path that passes out of the park of Sakura will also be illuminated. The area before the thin pathway is a great photo spot that visitors can enjoy! This is where the illuminated rapeseed blossoms will be.
Seiryu garden illumination
At Seiryu garden, the illumination suddenly moves when you shine your smartphone light on it, and when you sit on a bench, the trees in front of you will suddenly light up ー this illumination is an interactive experience affected by the movements of the visitors!
There are also a variety of other special events such as a live flower arranging performance and a traditional arts performance called “Denraku”. This is a festival that combines traditional and digital art and it is a flower viewing experience unique to Nijō Castle.
Nijō castle Sakura Matsuri 2019
Opening hours: National holiday Thursday 21/03 ー Sunday 14/04/2019
Opening hours: Lunch: 8:45 ー 17:00（Last entry: 16:00）, Night: 18:00 ー 21:30（Last entry: 21:00）
Location: Nijō castle (541 Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto)
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!
Weekdays: 10:00 ー 17:00
Weekends & national holidays:
・ Monday 25th March ー Friday 5th April 10:00 ー 18:00
Saturday 27th April ー holiday Monday 6th May: 10:00 ー 19:00
Entry prices: Adults: (Middle school+) ￥1,400, children: (2 y/o ー elementary school): ￥800