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Cherry Blossom Report 2011
Official cherry blossom reports by japan-guide.com

This year's cherry blossom season will be overshadowed by the tremendous loss caused by the recent earthquake. However, we believe that the blossoms will serve as symbols of hope and resilience and a source of motivation along Japan's road to recovery. With this in mind, we never hesitated to go ahead with our annual reports in order to inform travelers in Japan and readers across the world about this year's cherry blossom season.

2011 Cherry Blossom Forecast - Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report
Popular cherry blossom spots - How to do hanami? - Cherry tree varieties

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2011/04/12 - Okayama Report
by schauwecker

Okayama City

I wrapped up my 3-day reporting trip to Western Japan with the first ever cherry blossom report from Okayama, the second largest city in the Chugoku Region.

Korakuen Garden and Okayama Castle
April 12, 2011 - petals starting to fall

I started the day at Korakuen Garden which is ranked as one of Japan's three best landscape gardens alongside Kanazawa's Kenrokuen and Mito's Kairakuen. The garden's cherry trees were starting to drop their petals, but still looked close to full bloom today. They should remain attractive for at least a couple more days.

Korakuen Garden
Cherry trees are still close to full bloom at Korakuen Garden
Cherry Tree Grove at Korakuen Garden

More cherry trees could be enjoyed around nearby Okayama Castle and along Asahi River, which is lined by more than 200 trees along the so called Asahi River Cherry Road (Asahigawa Sakuramichi). The trees there were at an identical state as the trees in Korakuen.

Okayama Castle
Asahi River Cherry Road

Handayama Botanical Garden
April 12, 2011 - petals starting to fall

One thousand cherry trees, including 700 Somei Yoshino trees are planted on the grounds of Okayama's Handayama Botanical Garden, one of the most spectacular hanami spots that I have visited this year so far.

Handayama Botanical Garden
Petals have started to fall at Handayama Botanical Garden

The botanical garden is located along a hillside with cherry trees planted on multiple levels, making for some amazing sights in combination with views of the city. Many benches and a few lawned areas provide visitors with opportunities for a picnic or rest under the trees.

The skyline of Okayama

Although petals have started to fall, the trees were still at their best today and should remain enjoyable for a few more days to come. Whether they can carry their seasonal beauty into the weekend, however, is questionable.

Handayama Botanical Garden
Handayama Botanical Garden

Takebenomori Park
April 12, 2011 - approaching full bloom (50-80%) (weeping cherries)
April 12, 2011 - full bloom (Somei Yoshino)

Takebenomori Park is a spacious park in the hills north of Okayama, a 45-60 minutes car drive from Okayama Station. About 15,000 spring flowering trees of one hundred different varieties have been planted across the park. Lawned areas with views into the hills and wooden platforms for picnics provide a wonderful atmosphere for hanami activities.

A walking path lined by weeping cherry trees
The weeping cherry trees have almost reached full bloom

Many of park's trees are cherry trees. Most numerous among them are weeping cherry trees with more than five, dark pink petals per blossom (yae-beni-shidare-zakura). They were approaching full bloom today and needed only a few more hours of warmth to open up their remaining buds.

A grove of young Somei Yoshino trees in full bloom

Also numerous are Somei Yoshino trees, which stood already at full bloom today. Many other cherry tree varieties can be found in smaller numbers across the park. The late flowering varieties among them should provide park visitors with hanami opportunities through the rest of April.

Takebenomori Park

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List of Posts:
2011/05/09 - Sapporo Report
2011/05/06 - Hakodate Report
2011/05/02 - Kakunodate Report
2011/05/01 - Hirosaki Report
2011/04/29 - Kitakami Report
2011/04/22 - Aizu Report
2011/04/21 - Sendai Report
2011/04/20 - Fujigoko Report
2011/04/19 - Tokyo Report
2011/04/16 - Kyoto Report
2011/04/15 - Osaka Report
2011/04/14 - Tokyo Report
2011/04/14 - Kanazawa Report
2011/04/13 - Yoshino Report
2011/04/12 - Kyoto Report
2011/04/12 - Okayama Report
2011/04/11 - Tokyo Report
2011/04/11 - Takamatsu Report
2011/04/10 - Osaka Report
2011/04/10 - Matsuyama Report
2011/04/09 - Kyoto Report
2011/04/08 - Tokyo Report
2011/04/08 - Yoshino Report
2011/04/07 - Hiroshima Report
2011/04/07 - Iwakuni Report
2011/04/07 - Nagoya Report
2011/04/06 - Kyoto Report
2011/04/05 - Tokyo Report
2011/04/04 - Kyoto Report
2011/04/03 - Fukuoka Report
2011/04/02 - Tokyo Report
2011/04/01 - Kyoto Report
2011/04/01 - Kagoshima Report
2011/03/31 - Kumamoto Report
2011/03/31 - Fukuoka Report
2011/03/30 - Tokyo Report
2011/03/30 - Kochi Report
2011/03/29 - Kyoto Report
2011/03/28 - Himeji Report
2011/03/27 - Tokyo Report