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Fukushima: Petals Starting To Fall

View from Hanamiyama in Fukushima City

The cherry blossom season is reaching its height this week in many spots throughout the Tohoku and Chubu Regions of Japan as the blossoms move their way north towards Hokkaido (due to reach best viewing in the first week of May).

While the season is coming to an end in Tokyo and Kyoto, some late-blooming varities of trees can still be enjoyed this week in the two cities in certain spots for those who may have missed the main season.

Today, I followed the main cherry blossom "front" north to the Tohoku Region's Fukushima City. Located in one of the southernmost parts of Tohoku, the blossoms in this area have already reached their peak, in contrast to the still-opening prefectures of the region. My destination for the day: Hanamiyama, one of Fukushima Prefecture's most well-loved cherry blossom spots.

Hanamiyama: Petals Starting To Fall

Hanamiyama, once the side project of local farmers, has become one of Fukushima's most stunning places to enjoy cherry blossoms. The village-turned-park is home to over two dozen varieties of flowering trees and plants, many of which are types of sakura (cherry trees). From mid-late April, the sakura, along with many other plant varieties, bloom and attract large numbers of visitors to this otherwise quiet farming community.

When I arrived this morning, I was greeted by overcast skies and colorful blossoming flowers all around. I started with the park's main walking course to the mountain's highest point, and then trekked on to a handful of other nice viewpoints scattered around the hills. Because of the large variety of plants, many were at their full bloom today, while some were a bit past. The Somei Yoshino trees were a few days past their peak today, possibly in part due to strong rain that hit the area yesterday. Other sakura and flower varieties, however, were gorgeously at full bloom in many spots, including yaezakura, hanamomo, and nanohana (rapeseed) among many others.

Again, thanks to the variety of flora, the blossoms should still be quite nice through the rest of this week, and possibly beyond. For those hoping to catch the sakura specifically, this week is definitely recommended.

The mountain is easily accessible from Fukushima Station thanks to direct shuttle buses (250 yen one way, 500 yen round trip, frequent departures until April 23 from the station's east exit). Alternatively, a taxi ride costs a fixed fare of 1550 yen one way (until May 7) from the east exit of the station.

A huge variety of flowers—including sakura, of course—were blooming all over the mountain
The mainstream Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms were just a bit past their peak, but still pretty
Scenes like this everywhere you look
Yesterday's strong rain left many blossoms looking a bit weary
Despite the Somei Yoshino being slightly past peak, the overall scene was lovely
With so many varieties of sakura and other flowering plants, the mountainside is awash with colors
In the words of renowned photographer Akiyama Shotaro (1920–2003), "there is a utopia in Fukushima"
The scene at the top of the mountain: still plenty of cherry blossoms to enjoy today
A ray of sunshine lights up a lone tree on a hill
There were many people here today on the main walking, even on a Wednesday
Pink buoys floating in a bathtub of gold flowers
Nanohana (rapeseed) flowers at full bloom
The view from the back of town
Many flowers were at full bloom today
Very flowers, such hanami
View from the newer path near the shuttle buses
Need a band-aid for all the feels from staring at gorgeous flowers all morning