by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
Nagoya is 1.5 hours west of Tokyo and 35 minutes from Kyoto, famous for Nagoya Castle, and food like chicken wings and kishimen amongst others. Schauwecker joined me to check out the cherry trees in bloom in Nagoya. With the exception of Nagoya Castle, today was the first time I visited Yamazakigawa Riverside and Tsuruma Park. Even though it was a weekday, all three places we visited were surprisingly quite crowded.
Full bloom (mankai) was officially announced in Kyoto today, and looks like Sean was there just before it peaked according to his report yesterday. On the other hand, full bloom in Nagoya was announced officially on Monday, March 31, and I was not disappointed today. However, with the warm weather since the 31st, the flowers have bloomed really quickly and even though they are at full bloom, I'm afraid the blooming peak will not last till this weekend as the petals from some trees have already started to fall when there is a breeze.
April 2, 2014 - full bloom
Yamazaki River is about 14 kilometers long and flows southwest towards Nagoya Port. There are about 600 trees along the length of the entire river. Today, we started our journey from near Mizuho Sports Park and walked about 1 kilometer north towards the wooden bridge, Kanaekobashi. The wooden bridge is about 1 kilometer away from either Mizuho Undojo-higashi Station or Mizuho Kuyakusho Station, and I recommend starting at one and heading towards the other.
Yamazakigawa Riverside is one of Japan's top 100 cherry blossom viewing spots and is my favourite of all the three sites we visited today. Something about the quiet riverside and the cherry tree lined pedestrian path that makes it special for me. We saw many young families, old couples all there for the beautiful flowers that had just reached full bloom, and is expected to remain at its peak for a few more days. The area around the wooden bridge, Kanaekobashi, will be lit in the evenings from 18:30 to 21:00 until April 6th.
April 2, 2014 - petals starting to fall
Our second stop for today was Tsuruma Park. Like Yamazakigawa Riverside, Tsuruma Park is also one of Japan's top 100 cherry blossom viewing spots. There was definitely a festive vibe in the air (as well as tantalizing smells) with all the food stalls open and people picnicking under the cherry trees, or on the lawns, in the sun. The flowers at Tsuruma Park developed faster and are almost at the end of the blooming peak, with some petals starting to fall. As it is forecast to rain over the next two days, I expect the cherry blossoms to have even more petals falling, signaling the beginning of the end of the season.
Note that the closest station is Tsurumai Station. Follow the signs leadings towards the Greenification Center as that is where Tsuruma Park is. The subway station exit leads directly to the entrance of the park.
April 2, 2014 - petals starting to fall
Finally, our last site of the day, Nagoya Castle. With the cherry trees at full bloom, I can see why it is a popular spot to take wedding pictures. We saw at least three couples taking their wedding pictures on the castle grounds with the castle and cherry trees as their backdrop. There were also staff dressed up in period costume, and anyone is welcomed to take pictures with them. We also had the opportunity to see a few famous people at Nagoya Castle, but unfortunately, neither Schauwecker nor I knew who they were. We guessed they were famous judging by their entourage, the cameras around them and other visitors waving at them.
Like Tsuruma Park, the flowers at Nagoya Castle developed faster and are almost at the end of the blooming peak, with some petals starting to fall. Although, if you like to see the cherry blossom petals falling, like I do, then this is the perfect time to go to Nagoya Castle. Also, the first section of the reconstuction of Nagoya Castle's Honmaru Goten is completed and visitors are welcome to view the inside. The other two sections are slated to be completed in 2016 and 2018.