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Cherry Blossom Report 2014
Official cherry blossom reports by japan-guide.com

2014 Cherry Blossom Forecast - Schedule of upcoming reports - Popular cherry blossom spots
How to do hanami? - Cherry tree varieties - Post your own report

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2014/04/22 - Aizu Report
by raina

View of Tsuruga Castle from the castle wall walk

After a brief hiatus and continuing with cherry blossom reporting in the Tohoku region, I headed to Aizu-Wakamatsu today. Aizu-wakamatsu is in Fukushima prefecture, and is about 3 hours away from Tokyo. It is a castle town and you can see traditional buildings between the castle and the station.

Tsuruga Castle
April 22, 2014 - full bloom

The cherry trees at Tsuruga Castle reached full bloom a couple of days ago and I was fortunate enough to make it there today. The skies were overcast and it was a little chilly when I was at Tsuruga Castle, so there weren't many people picnicking under the cherry trees. The cherry blossoms held up well despite the rain yesterday. The weather for the rest of the week is forecast to be good and if there are no strong winds, the cherry blossoms should maintain their beautiful state and be worth a visit over the weekend.

There are about 1000 cherry trees of different varieties planted on the castle grounds and the castle is lit up until May 6, from sunset till 21:00. There were a lot of people at Tsuruga Castle by the time I arrived and I followed the bus loads of students and tour groups into the keep. Entry into the castle keep costs 410 yen and the interior has been transformed into a museum with lots of exhibits.

Sakura frame for the castle

Close up of the flowers

One of the two wedding photoshoots I saw today

Cherry trees along the moat

Sturdy blossoms that should last for the next few days

Cherry trees line the path along the moat

So many people visiting Tsuruga Castle today

Ishibezakura
April 22, 2014 - full bloom

From Tsuruga Castle, I went to see the Ishibezakura, a huge cherry tree. It is about a 10 minute walk from Iimoriyama and many visitors visit it on the way to Iimoriyama. The Ishibezakura tree is estimated to be 650 years old, and is a Edo-higan cherry tree. The tree has a height of 11 meters, and 8 trunks, the crown spread is said to reach 20 meters. This year, they've built a stage for visitors to get closer to the tree without trampling on the nearby field, and there's security around the area to guide traffic and make sure that visitors don't destroy or step on the fields. The tree is at full bloom now and like the cherry trees at Tsuruga Castle, the views should remain till this weekend baring strong winds.

The Ishibezakura tree looks like it's made up of a few trees, but there is really only one

Blossoms on the Ishibezakura tree

A tour group taking a group picture, maybe I'll be in it too

The road to the tree and the specially built stage in front of it

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List of Posts:
2014/05/09 - Hakodate Report
2014/05/08 - Matsumae Report
2014/05/01 - Hirosaki Report
2014/04/30 - Kakunodate Report
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Report
2014/04/23 - Mt. Fuji Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu Report
2014/04/19 - Matsushima Report
2014/04/17 - Takato Report
2014/04/16 - Sendai Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Report
2014/04/15 - Fukushima Report
2014/04/15 - Mount Fuji Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Report
2014/04/11 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/10 - Yoshino Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/09 - Gunma Report
2014/04/09 - Hikone Report
2014/04/08 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/07 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Report
2014/04/05 - Matsuyama Report
2014/04/04 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/04 - Kamakura Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/03 - Fukuoka Report
2014/04/03 - Uji Report
2014/04/02 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Report
2014/04/02 - Kumamoto Report
2014/04/01 - Kyoto Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Report
2014/03/29 - Kyoto Report
2014/03/28 - Kumamoto Report
2014/03/27 - Fukuoka Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Report
2014/03/25 - Kyoto Report