6 Best Hanami Spots in Japan: March 2018 Edition

25.January.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

‘Hanami,’ the Japanese tradition of flower-viewing, is a must-do when visiting Japan in springtime. Today, we’re taking an early look at some of the best spots to see Japan’s cherry blossoms during the hanami season in March.

 

 

Mitsuike Park (Kanaga Prefecture)

 

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Covering an area of 29.7 hectares, this huge park is also known as “Hyakuju no Mori” for its lush greenery. The trees are surrounded by three ponds, which is where the park gets it name “mitsuike” from (3 ponds), and Yoshino Cherries bloom flowers, gorgeously decorating the waterside. The beauty of Mitsuike Park made it one of the 100 most famous locations for cherry blossoms in Japan. There are 70 varieties of cherry blossoms that flower the environment, from campanulata, which bloom from the start of February, to rarer types such as the yellow ‘ukon’ sakura and yokohamahizakura.

 

■Information

Mitsuike Park

Address: 1-1 Mitsuike Park, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture

Webpage: http://www.kanagawaparks.com/mitsuike/

 

 

Kawazuzakura (Shizuoka Prefecture)

 

The ‘kawazuzakura’ is a natural crossbreed of campanulata and the early-blooming Oshima cherry. This breed has a reputation for flowering before other cherry blossoms. Almost 8,000 trees decorate the Kawazu River around town. The kawazuzakura was also chosen as Shizuoka Prefecture’s number 2 cherry blossom, making this a popular spot for hanami.

 

■Information

 

Kawazuzakura

Address: Around the region of – Hama, Kawazu, Kamo District, Shizuoka Prefecture

Webpage: http://www.kawazuzakura.net

 

 

Sakuma Dam Park (Chiba Prefecture)

 

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Sakuma Dam is a place of relaxation and refreshment upstream Sakuma River where you can enjoy hiking and camping amongst daffodils, ume and azalea. Many cherry blossoms bloom there including the early-bloomer kawazuzakura, Yoshino cherry, shidarezakura, and yaedazakura, making a great spot for hanami and a location where you can enjoy the cherry blossoms over a long period.

 

■Information

Sakuma Dam Park

Address: 39 Okuzure, Awagunkyonanmachi, Chiba Prefecture

Webpage: http://sakumadam.com

 

 

Kyunakagawamizube Park (Tokyo)

 

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This park is maintained as a place for relaxation where cherry blossom loving locals plant cherry trees. This one’s also home to the kawazuzakura, and since a wide variety of trees are planted, you can enjoy the cherry blossom season even longer. It’s popular as a hidden, tucked-away gem of a location as it rarely appears on maps.

 

■Information

Kyunakagawamizube Park

Address: 1-2 Higashisumida, Sumida-ku, Tokyo住所:東京都墨田区東墨田1~2丁目ほか

Webpage: http://www.city.sumida.lg.jp/sisetu_info/kouen/kunai_park_annai/sumida_park/tac04000201104011347.html

 

 

Hirano Shrine (Kyoto)

 

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Hirano Shrine is famous for its cherry blossoms, a symbol of the enshrined gods’ vitality, which have been around since the Heian Period. It’s home to 400 trees comprised of 60 types of cherry blossoms. Expect to see the ‘momozakura’ which comes out at the beginning of March, as well as the famous ‘sakigake-sakura.’ The Yoshino will bloom at the end of April, followed by rare varieties that will flower one after the other. Hirano Shrine is Kyoto’s 5th most popular hanami spot.

 

■Information

Hirano Shrine

Address: 1 Hirano, Miyamotocho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Opening Hours: 6:00-17:00 (flowering period until 21:00)

Homepage: http://www.hiranojinja.com

 

 

Rokugi-en (Tokyo)

 

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Kigugi-en is a representative garden of the Edo period and designated ‘special place of scenic beauty’ as specified by the Japanese government. When the end of March rolls in, the heart of the garden is in full bloom with shidarezakura, a spectacular view that looks like a running waterfall. The shidarezakura can normally be seen before the Yoshino cherries and are truly a sight to see at nighttime.

 

■Information

Rokugi-en

Address: 6-16-3 Honkomagome, Bunkyo, Tokyo

Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (last entries 16:30)

Webpage: https://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/park/format/index031.html

 

 

Did you enjoy our special selection? For full details on the various locations at the cherry blossoms, be sure to visit the webpages (Japanese). ‘Hanami’ is an important tradition in Japan – the magnificent cherry blossoms absolute must-see, so don’t miss out.

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    See the green maple trees of Hōgon-in on a private train

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    Sky Bus

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    Discover the beauty of Kyoto in this very special hotel plan at Kyoto Brighton Hotel.

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    Official Website:  http://tohoku.japanshopping.org/

     

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    Official Website:  http://matsuyama.japanshopping.org/

     

    Discover the wonders of shopping in Japan and learn more about the country with the Japan Shopping Festival.

  • Top 4 Places to Visit in Kyoto This Winter: Snow, Gourmet Food, Hot Springs & More

    26.November.2019 | SPOT

    Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history. Today, we take a look at some of the best places to visit in Kyoto this winter as covered by the November 2019 issue of Japanese magazine Mou Hitotsu no Kyoto (“The Other Kyoto”).

     

    From gourmet food to sightseeing spots, the arts and moreーif you’re in Kyoto this year, you have plenty of reasons to leave your hotel room or house.

     

    Yuki Tourou: See the snowy thatched-roof huts

    Miyama Kayabuki no Sato is located in Miyamachokita, Nantan. It is home to 39 houses with thatched roofs and is a popular sightseeing spot due to its gorgeous natural scenery throughout the entire year. It was listed in Japan’s Groups of Traditional Buildings in 1993.

    In the New Year, snow falls on the huts, which looks beautiful when they light up the “Yuki Tourou”ーor snow lanternsーin late January every year. There are stalls that serve hot food in this little town, and they also host an event where you can make your own snow lantern.

     

    Running: January 25, 2020 – February 1, 2020

    Official Website: http://www.yukitouro.jp/

     

     

    Amanohashidate: One of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”

    Amanohashidate is a sandbank located in Miyazu Bay that separates the north and south inlet of the Asoumi Sea. It formed as a result of pebbles being carried by the ocean current for thousands of years. Its name comes from the way it looks like a bridge spanning across the sky. It is known as one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”

    Amanohashidate is a sight to behold at any point throughout the year, but if you can travel there in the winter, you’re in for a surprise, as the entire sandbank is littered with pure white snow. On very cold days in the morning the snow even covers the tops of the pine trees, but when the sun rises and the temperature warms up the snow on the frost-tipped trees melts. This has led to it being called an “illusionary sight” due to its rarity. Make a point of getting up super early so you don’t miss it!

     

    Address: Tango-Amanohashidate-Ōeyama Quasi-National Park, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Official Website: https://www.amanohashidate.jp/lang/en/

     

     

    Fukuchiyama Castle: The magnificent castle of snow

    Fukuchiyama Castle sits atop a tall hill in the city of Fukuchiyama. The castle was established as the new Tanba province by Akechi Mitsuhide in 1579 following the province’s capture in 1576. The castle was demolished once during the Meiji Period but was restored again in 1986. It is now the only castle that remains today built by Mitsuhide.

    The castle architecture has a lot of personality, and during the winter months takes on a gorgeous white as a result of the snow. Gazing across the castle land from the watchtower is an absolute must when visiting. Also, if you’re visiting next year, the new Fukuchiyama Mitsuhide Museum is set to open on January 11, so be sure to check that out too.

     

    Address: 5 Chome Naiki, Fukuchiyama, Kyoto

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)

    Closed: December 28-31, 2019 / January 4-6, 2020

    Entry Price: General ¥330 / Elementary & Junior High School Students ¥110
    Official Website: https://dokkoise.com/en/temple_shrine/index.html

     

     

    Monjusou Shourotei: Feast on crab fondue while gazing at Amanohashidate

    Monjusou Shourotei is a ryokanーa Japanese-style innーlocated along Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s Three Scenic Views which we mentioned earlier on this list. All guests staying at the inn are given a window view of Amanohashidate from their rooms.

     

    The inn offers an original salted snow crab fondue. Snow crab is particularly enjoyed for its degree of freshness. It’s served with vegetables and the boiled crab itself, making for a delicious combination of flavours.

    The hot springs at Amanohashidate are famous and praised as “the baths of the gods.” They are also said to leave your skin looking beautiful after a dip. The inn also offers open-air baths lined with stones from Shikoku and wild grass from the mountains, offering a truly indulging experience.

     

    Address: Amanohashidate Monjudomisaki, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Official Website: https://shourotei.com/

     

     

    These are just some of the incredible places you can enjoy in wintertime Kyoto. You can find more information on Kyoto Side or from one of our many articles on Kyoto.

  • TOTOCO Odawara: Kanagawa’s Sea Food Theme Park Opens November 22

    17.November.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is a new “fish theme park” set to have its grand opening on November 22, 2019 at 10:00am (JST).

    The facility was established to promote further exchanges with Odawara Fishing Port which is said to be the biggest fish market in western Kanagawa Prefecture. It is the first “Fishing Port” (Gyoko no Eki*) and will sell seafood sourced locally, fishery products and more, as well as hold events to help promote Odawara.

     

    The building has three flours. The first floor is like a marketplace where fish, fishery products, produce, and more will be sold. The second and third floors house seafood restaurants and offer a panoramic view of Sagami Bay. This view is best observed from the terrace while you enjoy your delicious meal.

    *Fishing Port (in Japanese: Gyoko no Eki, or 漁港の駅) is a registered trademark of Odawara City to highlight facilities that promote exchange with Odawara Fishing Port. (Registered Trademark No.: 6163121).

    Odawara Fishing Port sells fresh fish sourced from the waters of Sagami Bay, which houses a variety of fish species, as well as fish and processed marine products from around Japan. TOTOCO Odawara will sell these very same products, all delivered directly from the port, to help spread the fishing culture and economy of Odawara.

     

    Let’s take a look at some of the delicious gourmet seafood meals you can expect to tuck into at TOTOCO Odawara!

    Totomaru Summit Bowl – ¥2,480

    A hearty and towering dish so high that it looks like it might topple over.

    Greedy Sea Urchin Eggs & Salmon Roe Bowl – ¥4,280

    A dream combination you’ve been waiting for your entire life. Savour the richness and sweetness of both of these mouth-watering delights.

    Oyster Egg Donburi Set – ¥1,680

    You can’t even see the rice any more for the pile of tasty oyster eggs, with their exquisitely soft texture.

    Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO

    The third floor of the building is home to Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO, a restaurant that calls itself “Sashimi Heaven” and offers a 59 minute all-you-can-eat buffet of fish, sides, desserts and more.

     

    59 Minute All-You-Can-Eat
    Adults – ¥2,590 / Children (Elementary School & Younger) – ¥1,390 / 3-Years & Younger – Free (All Prices Before Tax)

     

    Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is easily reachable from Tokyo and right next to the local station. If you’ve come to Japan looking to try the country’s famous seafood, then make sure to put this place on your list.

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