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

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2011/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka

Cherry blossom petals are beginning to fall to the ground in Osaka

During today's visit to Osaka, I found that the city's somei yoshino cherry trees have reached and past their most attractive state for this season. There was occasional rain throughout the day, causing many more petals to fall from the trees. Today was the second and final cherry blossom report from Osaka this year. When Scott visited five days ago for the April 10 Cherry Blossom Report, the flowers were at full bloom.

I doubt the somei yoshino trees will have any more than a few remaining flowers by the middle of next week. Travelers who still want to see cherry blossoms in Osaka after the next few days should visit spots that have later blooming varieties of trees.

The gates of a new section of JR Osaka Station that just opened this week

I started my day at JR Osaka Station, where extensive renovations will soon be completed. This morning I found some of the new areas were already open, and I can say using the station is much more pleasant than before. Various design techniques have been used to create a pleasantly spacious atmosphere. The entire station complex will be open to the public early next month.

The view when descending an escalator to one of the station's platform
The view from an observatory on one of the station's upper floors

Osaka Castle
April 15, 2011 - petals starting to fall

Many of the castle's cherry trees are losing petals at an accelerated rate. Although it will still be possible to see flowers over the weekend, I think next week the cherry blossom season will be effectively over at Osaka Castle.

Few people and fallen flowers in the Nishinomaru Garden
A gust of wind and rain brings down some of the petals on the castle grounds
A close up of one of the cherry trees

Kema Sakuranomiya Park
April 15, 2011 - petals starting to fall

The trees alongside the Okawa River and in Kema Sakuranomiya Park are in a similar state as those at the castle. In some places in particular the trees had lost almost all their flowers.

A pleasure boat travels along the Okawa River
Fewer and fewer flowers hang over the riverside walkways
Some of the remaining flowers on one of the trees

Expo 70 Commemorative Park
April 15, 2011 - petals starting to fall

Although in some places the ground was covered by thousands of petals, I was surprised when I examined the branches of the Expo Park's trees and found them still quite full of flowers. I think the Expo Park is the best bet for travelers who still hope to see somei yoshino cherry blossoms in Osaka within the next few days. When Scott visited earlier in the week during full bloom the park was very crowded, but today the park was almost empty.

The symbolic sun statue of Expo 70 looks over travelers who braved today's bad weather
The ceiling of flowers over Higashioji Street
A lone blue tarp on the spacious East Plaza lawn
Branches still quite full of flowers hover in front of the park's iconic sun statue

Osaka Mint Bureau
April 15, 2011 - from about to open to petals starting to fall

The vast majority of Japan's cherry blossom spots are covered in trees of the somei yoshino variety, but the Osaka Mint Bureau is one the few places where this is not the case. Here there is a wide variety of trees on display, creating a tunnel of different coloured flowers. Moreover, most of the mint's trees are of the yaezakura variety (cherry trees with blossoms of more than five petals) which generally bloom a few weeks after somei yoshino.

As the somei yoshino trees pass their seasonal peak, the Osaka Mint Bureau is becoming the best place in Osaka to see flowers. The discrepancy between the scattered sightseers at the other cherry blossom spots of Osaka that I visited and the large crowds at the mint showed clearly the mint's current popularity.

There were large crowds today walking through the Osaka Mint Bureau's tunnel of cherry trees
A yaezakura tree at full bloom
Another yaezakura tree at its peak
A bundle of flowers of the ukon variety

Not only are many of the mint's trees at or approaching full bloom, there are also many that haven't opened yet. The grounds of the Osaka Mint will remain open to the general public for cherry blossom viewing through April 20.

A later blooming tree with flowers that are still just opening

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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