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Mount Fuji: Past Peak

Bridge and cherry trees at Oshino Hakkai

Today I headed back to the Fuji Five Lakes area four days after my last visit to check out how the blossoms have progressed since. Most of the commonly seen mainstream Somei Yoshino cherry trees were at full bloom last friday, and the past weekend was probably the busiest time for cherry blossom hunters at the Fuji Five Lakes area. Things seemed to have calmed down when I visited today, and the places that were at full bloom last week now have their petals falling. The strong winds over the weekend may have affected the length of the best viewing period, and I am afraid that the remaining blossoms will not last till the end of this week especially with the windy conditions continuing and rain forecast for later in the week.

Joe was in Kitakami in Iwate Prefecture today, and you can read his report here. The cherry blossom season has moved towards northern Japan and cities in the Tohoku Region like Kitakami and Akita have reached full bloom.

Chureito Pagoda: Past Peak

My first stop of the day was Chureito Pagoda, from where Mount Fuji can be seen. The popular cherry blossom spot was not crowded at all compared to last Friday, and understandably so. Strong winds over the weekend shortened the best viewing period and the trees along the approach up to the pagoda looked quite bare and patchy. There were a handful of trees along the side of the hill that had more blossoms left, but overall, the cherry blossom season at Chureito Pagoda will be over before the week is up.

Chureito Pagoda and cherry blossoms that don't look so fluffy anymore
These petals will not stay on for much longer
An almost empty observation deck compared to four days ago
Ground sakura
Fuji-Q Highland Park in the distance
Cherry trees along the side of the hill

Oshino Hakkai: Full Bloom

My next stop was the touristy Oshino Hakkai with a view of Mount Fuji. The riverbank in the area is planted with many cherry trees, making it a popular spot to capture cherry blossoms with the mountain. The blossoms were opening when I last visted four days ago, and I am pleased to report that they were at full bloom today. The blossoms should remain strong over the next few days, although the forecast rain later in the week may shorten the best viewing period.

Along one of the rivers at Oshino Hakkai
Full bloom here
Colourful tunnel to walk through
Lengths we'd go to for a picture
The cherry blossom view at Oshino Hakkai
Looking back at where all the photographers were, there're some under the bridge too!
Under the sakura tree

Eastern Shores of Kawaguchiko: Full Bloom

Next on my list was the waterfront along the eastern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko, around the Kachi Kachi Ropeway's lower station. The weeping cherry trees along the shore were all at full bloom, and I expect them to continue to remain at their best for the next few days.

One side of the weeping cherry trees
Full bloom here
I expect these to remain at their best for a few more days

Ubuyagasaki Peninsula: End of Season

A few minutes away from the eastern shore is the Ubuyagasaki Peninsula, where the handful of cherry trees had almost finished their season, looking more bare than the rest of the places I had been to. Unsurprisingly, there were also no other visitors when I was there, considering the place had no more flowers and a huge cloud blocking Mount Fuji from view.

Cherry tree looking very bare
A fuller branch
Mount Fuji hidden by that cloud, and the bridge on the right

Northern Shores of Kawaguchiko: Past Peak

Moving on to the northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko, I found the cherry blossoms here to have their petals falling freely in the wind. Some of the trees were completely bald, but there were enough trees that had sufficient blossoms remaining for the area to still look good. However, the season will probably not last till the end of the week with the strong winds continuing and rain forecast later this week.

The lady was welcoming the cherry blossom storm (hanafubuki) with open arms
Tourists enjoying the weather and blossoms
Petals dispersing in the wind
Patches of shibazakura
There were still enough blossoms for the trees to look nice
Another ten minutes and the skies would've cleared
Pink for the spring sakura season

Iyashi no Sato: Full Bloom

My final stop for the day was Iyashi no Sato, an open air museum and traditional craft village, on the western shores of Lake Saiko. The village consists of over twenty reconstructed traditional thatched roof houses that have been converted into shops, restaurants, museums and galleries. The weeping cherry trees that line the main street of the village were all at full bloom, delighting everyone who made their way to there. I expect the weeping cherry trees to remain at their best for the next few days, though the forecast rain later in the week may shorten the viewing period. Note that there is an admission fee of 350 yen for entering the village.

Weeping cherry trees, traditional thatched roof house, Mount Fuji
Weeping cherry blossoms and bird house
Full bloom here
Surrounded by blossoms
The clouds cleared up in the afternoon
Thatched roofs and weeping cherry trees
Water wheel and sakura