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Raina's Japan Travel Journal
by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report

After a short break from the cherry blossoms, we resume our reporting in the northern Tohoku Region where the flowers in the respective capital cities have reached full bloom (mankai) last week. The cherry blossom season has also just reached Hokkaido, with Hakodate reporting the opening of the first blossoms (kaika) today (April 21). This week, I will be reporting from Iwate, Aomori and Akita prefectures and visiting the top three cherry blossom sites in the region.

Today, I headed to Kitakami in Iwate Prefecture, about 500 kilometers northeast of Tokyo and a three-hour bullet train (shinkansen) ride away. Kitakami is famous for the more than 10,000 cherry trees, of which there are about 150 different varieties, planted along the Kitakami River in Tenshochi Park. There is a sakura festival until May 6 at Tenshochi Park during the cherry blossom season, and attractions in the area include horse-drawn cart rides, food stalls, sightseeing boats that ply the river as well as those that bring people across the river.

Tenshochi Park
April 21, 2015 - petals starting to fall

I arrived at Kitakami Station just before 10:00 and checked out the temporary booth just outside the station. Luggage storage as well as rental bicycles (limited number of bicycles) were offered for 300 yen per item. There were directions to the ferry boarding point, but unfortunately, it was not in operation today because of high water levels in the river due to heavy rain the day before. The other options to get to the park was a 15-minute walk, a short cycle, or a taxi. I left my backpack at the booth, rented a bicycle and headed for the park.

The wind was very strong when I was at the park and each gust of wind brought petals flying everywhere. While the cherry trees at the ends of the park had fewer petals and looked less full and fluffy, the trees in the middle of the two kilometer walkway still looked full and attractive despite having some petals flying off in the strong winds. The weather for the next couple of days is forecast to be sunny and warm, which is perfect for cherry blossom viewing (hanami). However, strong winds may shorten the peak viewing period and the trees may not look as attractive or full by this weekend.

View of the two kilometer cherry tree lined path from the bridge
Walking under the trees
Dark clouds, carp streamers and cherry blossoms
Petals on the ground reminding me of a galaxy far far away
Petals floating in a large puddle
Dark clouds gave way to blue skies
Weeping cherry blossoms about 50-80 percent open
Weeping cherry tree
Somei Yoshino blossoms, a cherry tree variety most commonly seen in Japan
Near the end of the walkway, close to the food stalls
This oyster stall had a very long line
View of the food stalls
Hanami in the park
Horse drawn cart ride
Blossoms against the blue sky
Delicate cherry blossoms up close

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List of Posts:
2017/07/03 - Spiritual Chichibu
2017/05/02 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2017/04/14 - Sneak Peek from Ginza Six
2017/03/21 - A bit of everything in Fukui
2017/03/13 - Nikko Toshogu Uncovered
2017/02/15 - Subculture in Ikebukuro
2017/02/07 - Travel to the Goto Islands
2017/02/06 - Nagasaki Lantern Festival

2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/12/19 - Winter Illuminations in Tokyo
2016/10/24 - The way of old on the Kunisaki Peninsula
2016/10/11 - Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu
2016/08/27 - Fool's Dance at Koenji Awa Odori
2016/08/16 - The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
2016/06/20 - Train travel into the Ise-Shima region
2016/04/03 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2016/03/08 - The hunt for Namahage on the Oga Peninsula
2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria
2016/02/20 - Tokyo Plum Blossom Report
2016/01/26 - Tour de Reinan: Obama, Oi and Takahama
2016/01/25 - Tour de Reinan: Tsuruga, Mihama and Wakasa

2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/10 - 48 hours in Tokushima
2015/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Kankakei
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2015/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/09 - Autumn Color Report: Koyasan
2015/11/08 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2015/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Dazaifu
2015/10/28 - The 44th Tokyo Motor Show
2015/10/21 - Hirado, where East meets West
2015/10/20 - Kujukushima Islands and Winter Illumination at Huis Ten Bosch
2015/10/19 - Navigating the Christian sites in Nagasaki
2015/10/18 - Cosplay at Haco Stadium Tokyo
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2015/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2015/09/16 - Nakanojo Biennale 2015
2015/08/19 - Traditional culture and hot springs of the Aizu Region
2015/08/17 - Nature and Hot Springs at Naruko Onsen
2015/08/04 - Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2015
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Sendai
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Tokyo
2014/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa
2014/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2014/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2014/10/01 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2014/09/29 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/06/19 - Toranomon Hills opens in Tokyo
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu-Wakamatsu Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/04 - Early Tokyo Blossom Report