Francois' Japan Blog
by Francois, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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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.

Yoshino Park
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.

A path cuts through Yoshino Park's cherry tree grove
The blossoms will be at full bloom over this weekend

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.

Cherry trees can be seen behind displays of the park's other flowers
Chery trees surround a Japanese garden
A flower display in the shape of a Tsubame train celebrates the expansion of the Kyushu Shinkansen

Senganen Garden
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.

A part of the garden that incorporates both a yama-zakura tree and Sakurajima into the scenery
Cherry tree branches hanging over rooftops

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.

If warm weather continues, somei yoshino trees will continue opening at a rapid pace
The kanhi-zakura trees are finished for the season
The yama-zakura trees are still covered in flowers, but many have already fallen

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.

Dinosaur states at the park
Brontosaurus and opening cherry trees
An advanced bough in front of Sakurajima's peak
Both the parking lot and the overhanging cherry tree branches were almost empty

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.

A ferry departs Sakurajima bound for Kagoshima city

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List of Posts:
2011/09/01 - Final Post
2011/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2011/05/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2011/04/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Aizu
2011/04/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2011/04/16 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2011/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2011/04/13 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2011/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2011/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2011/03/31 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2011/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/02/11 - Shiretoko Fantasia 2011
2011/02/11 - Asahikawa Winter Festival - by night
2011/02/10 - Asahikawa Winter Festival - by day
2011/02/09 - Sapporo Snow Festival 2011 - by night
2011/02/08 - Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi 2011
2011/02/07 - Sapporo Snow Festival 2011 - by day

2010/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2010
2010/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2010/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/24 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/23 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2010/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2010/10/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2010/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kirishima
2010/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2010/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2010/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2010/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2010/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2010/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagasaki
2010/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2010/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2010/01/23 - Wakakusa Yamayaki

2009/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2009
2009/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2009/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Light Up
2009/11/23 - Autumn Color Report: Nara
2009/11/22 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Ohara
2009/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2009/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Higashiyama
2009/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Kurama
2009/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Hakone
2009/10/07 - Autumn Color Report: Hachimantai
2009/10/06 - Autumn Color Report: Mount Akita-Komagatake
2009/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kamikochi
2009/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2009/06/18 - Biking the Shimanami Kaido
2009/06/01 - Gunkanjima
2009/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2009/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Himeji
2009/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kobe
2009/04/13 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2009/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2009/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nara
2009/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kobe
2009/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/03/31 - Cherry Blossom Report: Himeji
2009/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/03/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2009/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2009/01/19 - Bears in Hokkaido

2008/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kamakura
2008/10/06 - Autumn Color Report: Lake Akan
2008/08/18 - Miyajima Trip
2008/06/09 - Post Towns
2008/05/08 - Baseball Game
2008/04/14 - ASIMO and Aoyama Cemetery
2008/04/08 - Ninja Restaurant