community-forum community-penpal community-userReports destinations-admission destinations-beenThere-outline destinations-beenThere-solid destinations-city_outline destinations-city_solid destinations-closedDays destinations-date destinations-getThere destinations-hotels destinations-hoursFees destinations-itineraries-3 destinations-links destinations-nearbySpots destinations-pin-simple-outline destinations-pin-simple destinations-sortBy-dots destinations-thumbsUp destinations-tours destinations-town destinations-wishlist-heart-outline destinations-wishlist-heart-solid interests-agriculture interests-amusementParks interests-beaches interests-castles interests-city_solid interests-contemporaryArt interests-events interests-festivals interests-flowers interests-foodDrink interests-gardens interests-hiking interests-historicSites interests-industry interests-koyo-single interests-koyo interests-mangaAnime interests-museums interests-nature interests-onsen interests-parks interests-pottery interests-sakura-single interests-sakura interests-scenicRides interests-shopping interests-shrines interests-skiing interests-snow interests-sumo interests-temples interests-traditionalArts interests-traditionalTheater interests-viewpoints interests-volcanoes interests-wildlife interests-winterIlluminations news-section planning-section planning-tickets-2 planning-transportation-access planning-transportation-bicycle planning-transportation-boat-2 planning-transportation-boat planning-transportation-bus planning-transportation-car planning-transportation-plane planning-transportation-shinkansen planning-transportation-tickets planning-transportation-train planning-transportation-walk shapes-chevron-down shapes-circle shapes-star social-fb social-gplus social-instagram social-twitter ui-alert-construction ui-alert-warning ui-calendar ui-date ui-globe ui-lightbulb ui-no_entry ui-ok ui-pencil ui-reverse ui-search ui-time ui-x user-avatar
seasonal-koyo-brown seasonal-koyo-green seasonal-koyo-red seasonal-koyo-yellow seasonal-sakura-aboutToOpen seasonal-sakura-endOfSeason seasonal-sakura-fullBloom seasonal-sakura-justOpened seasonal-sakura-notOpen seasonal-sakura-opening seasonal-sakura-petalsFalling seasonal-sakura-petalsStarting

Odawara: Petals Starting To Fall

Beautiful cherry blossoms at Odawara Castle

While yesterday's weather took a bit of a toll on the cherry blossoms in many regions across western and central Japan, it wasn't as destructive as feared. Petals are definitely starting to fall in cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, yet this weekend will still be a good chance to see the flowers. You may even catch a cherry blossom storm (hanafubuki)! In northern and eastern Japan, the season is far from over. Cities like Fukushima and Sendai are in their best viewing period now, and north of Sendai, buds haven't even started opening yet. Check out our cherry blossom forecast for more information.

Today I visited Kanagawa Prefecture to bring you the first ever report from Odawara Castle in Odawara City. Odawara is a main transfer point for visitors going to Hakone. Few make it past the station gates, yet the castle is well worth a visit and is the closest castle with a castle keep to Tokyo. The park around the castle also features two museums, a shrine, a small amusement park for children, and over 300 cherry trees, making it a great spot for cherry blossom viewing parties (hanami). Odawara Castle is an easy 10 minute walk from Odawara Station, which is accessible from Tokyo by the Tokaido Shinkansen (30 minutes) or by regular trains (70-100 minutes).

As expected, yesterday's weather caused a little damage to the cherry blossoms around the castle grounds, and petals are starting to fall from most of the trees around the park, with a few trees here and there even further along. However this coming weekend will definitely still be worth a visit to the area, and the weather looks to be at least partly sunny through Tuesday. When I arrived in Odawara, the station seemed crowded, but the park is big enough that people were able to spread out to enjoy the blossoms. Only in a couple of extremely picturesque spots was there a bit of a line to get that perfect picture!

Cherry blossom tunnel along the walk from Odawara Station
Bright pink lanterns and light pink blossoms
The trees along the moat were still fluffy, especially this one
Close up of today's stars!
The bright red bridge across the moat was popular with photographers, and for good reason!
Another close up
Through the gates
I love cherry blossoms!
There's nothing more picturesque than a castle, unless its a castle with cherry blossoms
A different variety of cherry tree in the foreground, Somei Yoshino in the back
I've got about a million of this kind of picture...
A few azalea were blooming too!
Around the side of the castle were some huge stones and more cherries
Hey, don't fall in my drink!