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

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2011/04/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai

Statue of Date Masamune at Aoba Castle

As the season progresses, the cherry blossoms are reaching the Tohoku Region and with it the areas worst hit by last month's earthquake and tsunami. Today we visited Sendai, the Tohoku Region's largest city, which suffered damage from both the tremors and the tsunami.

The tsunami devastated the rural outskirts of the city and cost many lives. It swept several kilometers inland and destroyed towns and vast areas of farm land, as documented by the infamous, horrifying television footage captured from NHK helicopters.

Sendai Station, one of a small number of buildings with covered up facades

Located ten kilometers inland, Sendai's city center was not reached by the tsunami, but suffered damage from the strong tremors. On our walk through the city, however, it was not easy to point out much damage apart from scattered covered up buildings. Only around the hilltop ruins of Aoba Castle was the damage more obvious, as some castle walls became unstable, a large stone lantern was toppled over and wide areas were roped off.

One rare case of visible damage in the city center

All in all, the city seemed mostly back to normal to us. Shops and restaurants were open, and the subway, local trains and buses running. Even the tsunami hit airport had recently reopened. Only the Tohoku Shinkansen has not returned to Sendai yet, but is scheduled to resume service between Tokyo and Sendai on Monday.

The city seemed mostly back to normal

Sendai's cherry blossoms officially started opening on April 12 this year. Unlike in some other parts of Japan, seasonal festivities were not canceled or discouraged. Most locals wish to return to normality as quickly as possible, and the blossoms are seen as a source of encouragement and joy during these difficult times.

Downtown Sendai from Aoba Castle

Tsutsujigaoka Park
April 21, 2011 - full bloom

We started our reporting at Tsutsujigaoka Park, a public park one kilometer from the East Exit of Sendai Station, on the less busy side of the station. Several hundred cherry trees, including a lot of weeping cherry trees, are planted in groups in different parts around the park and offer many attractive spots for hanami picnics. The trees were generally in full bloom and attracted already numerous picnic parties at 10am on this regular Thursday morning.

Tsutsujigaoka Park in the morning
Tsutsujigaoka Park at full bloom
Tsutsujigaoka Park in the morning
Tsutsujigaoka Park in the morning

Nishi Park
April 21, 2011 - full bloom

Nishi Park is another public park popular for cherry blossoms. Its cherry blossom festival is held from April 11 to 24 this year with food stands and light up every night until 8pm. The park's cherry trees were at full bloom today and should remain attractive through the weekend.

Nishi Park in the morning
Nishi Park at full bloom
Nishi Park in the morning

Mikamine Park
April 21, 2011 - full bloom

Mikamine Park was the highlight of the day with hundreds of large, beautiful cherry trees and spacious lawns perfect for cherry blossom picnics. Lots of people enjoyed the park's seasonal beauty under the trees. Judging from the blossoms' sturdy look and the fact that petal blizzards have not started yet, the hanami season should continue here at least through the weekend.

Mikamine Park
Mikamine Park

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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