by Francois, staff writer of japan-guide.com
2011/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
This morning Schauwecker and I took the first Sakura Shinkansen train from Fukuoka to Kagoshima to investigate the state of the cherry blossoms at the other end of Kyushu. Instead of the usual 130 minutes that the trip used to take, thanks to the new expansion of the Kyushu Shinkansen we were able to traverse the length of the island in about 90 minutes.
The Kagoshima cherry blossom spots are at different levels of development, ranging from between 20 and 80 per cent open. Despite predicted cloudy weather over the weekend, visitors should have good opportunities for cherry blossom viewing over the next couple of days and into next week.
April 1, 2011 - approaching full bloom (50-80%)
Yoshino Park is one of the city's most popular hanami spots, with over 800 trees. The park has a large number of flowers and botanical displays, with the cherry trees making up a small part of what the park has to offer. There are long rows of cheery trees at the back of the garden as well as a cherry tree grove area. While most of the park closes at 17:00, until this Sunday (April 3) the cherry tree grove is illuminated and remains open until 21:00.
The park's trees were very close to full bloom this morning, and may even reach full bloom by the end of the day. There were massive areas dedicated to parking, so large numbers of visitors must be expected over the weekend. The next few days are going to be the cherry blossom highlight of Yoshino Park for this year.
April 1, 2011 - opening (10-50%)
Senganen Garden is a traditional Japanese garden that belonged to the Shimazu family, the clan that ruled Kagoshima for almost 700 years. While the garden is particularly beautiful, there are only a few cherry trees, most of which are of the early blooming varieties.
The garden has a few somei yoshino trees, the most common type of cherry tree, which have between a quarter and half of their flowers open. The early blooming kanhi-zakura trees have only a few scattered flowers remaining while the yama-zakura trees have just past their peak. At the moment the yama-zakura trees are the most attractive, but their flowers are quickly being replaced by leaves.
Sakurajima Dinosaur Park
April 1, 2011 - opening (10-50%)
Located on a hill just beside Sakurajima's ferry terminal, the Sakurajima Dinosaur Park is a medium sized public park that has fun statues of dinosaurs and jungle gym equipment like slides and swings for children. There is a grove of cherry trees at the back of the park as well as many other trees that are scattered around.
The cherry trees at the park were the least developed of the trees we saw today, probably because they are at a significant higher elevation and are quite exposed to cold winds. Only a bit more than 10% of the flowers have opened as of this afternoon, but the flowers should become attractive into next week with the recent warm weather. It is quite likely that by next weekend the park's trees will have reached full bloom and not yet begun losing too many flowers.
After finishing another day of reporting, Stefan and I headed back down to the ferry terminal where we caught a boat and headed back to the hotel for the evening. Unfortunately we didn't have time to pass by one of the island's waterside onsen, and went directly back to Kagoshima Station.