Raina's Japan Travel Journal
by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report

Hishiyagura Turret and cherry blossoms

Today, I headed to Kanazawa, northwest of Tokyo, and the capital of Ishikawa prefecture. Being on the northern side and close to the Sea of Japan, Kanazawa sees heavy snowfall in the winter and has generally cooler temperatures compared to Tokyo and Kyoto. Because of the lower temperatures, the cherry blossoms also bloom a few days later. The city is accessible from Tokyo by the JR Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo-Yuzawa Station, transfering to the JR Hakutaka limited express to Kanazawa.

Kanazawa city was announced full bloom on the 7th and now five days later, petals are starting to fall. However, the trees still had many blossoms and for those who are around the area, Kanazawa would be great to view the cherry blossoms over the next few days. Kanazawa city has many historical attractions, and I visited two of them, Kenrokuen Garden and Kanazawa Castle. With today's perfect weather, it was a gorgeous day for a gorgeous place.

Elsewhere in Japan, the cherry blossom season has ended for most of west Japan and started in the Tohoku region (northeastern Japan). Sendai and Fukushima had their cherry blossom season opened officially on April 7th and 8th respectively.

Kanazawa Castle
April 12, 2014 - petals starting to fall

My first stop today was to Kanazawa Castle. It was crowded with people when I arrived and visitors continued pouring in as the day passed. Entry to the castle park grounds is free, but there is a fee for entering Gojukken Nagaya Storehouse (310 yen). Restoration works to the Kahoku gate has been finished and visitors can enter the gate and view the interior. Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura, a turret guarding the entrance to the central area of the castle grounds was under construction when I was there. However, there is a small platform from which you can view the construction process.

A cherry tree lined avenue
Cherry blossoms looking good
Picnicking on the castle park grounds

The castle park is huge and there are cherry trees planted along a few avenues in the park. I saw many people picnicking and children playing on the park grounds. The cherry blossoms were still holding up well, though their petals have started to fall. If you want to see cherry blossoms that are at full bloom, I'd recommend you to come to Kanazawa over the next few days before the blossoms shed more petals.

The castle grounds on the right and garden on the left
If you squint a little, this might look like the character for flower
Cherry trees along the moat
View from the top, Kenrokuen Garden lies behind the shophouses
Wide spaces at the castle
Practicing for a performance later
I saw these two famous people but once again, I had no idea who they were
Cherry blossoms, Ishikawa Gate and the bridge leading to it

Kenrokuen Garden
April 12, 2014 - petals starting to fall

Adjacent to the castle park is Kenrokuen Garden. Kenrokuen Garden is classified as one of Japan's three most beautiful landscape gardens, alongside Mito's Kairakuen, and Okayama's Korakuen.

A stream with cherry trees planted on either side
Close up of the cherry blossoms at the garden
Hanami bridge

Like Kanazawa Castle Park, the garden was teeming with people. It seemed that I visited on the right weekend as entry into Kenrokuen Garden is free for this weekend (April 12th and 13th). The garden is also illuminated at night from 18:30 to 21:30 (entry until 21:00). There was also a festival on the huge lawn across from the garden, making the area a hive of activity. Once more, if you are in the area, Kanazawa city is a great place to view cherry blossoms over the next few days before it's too late.

A huge tree, cherry tree and ladies in kimono
Blossoms and the city beyond
These branches are supported by beams to prevent them from breaking under the weight of the snow in winter, also known as yukitsuri
View of the shophouses and cherry trees at Kenrokuen Garden
A crowded stall at the festival across from Kenrokuen Garden
Ended my day with Kanazawa's famous B-grade cuisine, hanton rice

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List of Posts:
2019/03/20 - Moominvalley Park opens near Tokyo
2018/12/31 - 2018 Travel Highlights
2018/10/25 - Business as usual at Tsukiji Outer Market
2018/08/19 - Hello Kitty Shinkansen
2018/05/16 - Cruising Tokyo's waterways
2018/04/17 - Wisteria blossoms in Ashikaga Flower Park
2018/01/18 - Shinanomachi, the Backcountry of Nagano

2017/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2017
2017/10/25 - The 45th Tokyo Motor Show
2017/10/11 - Dipping into the three onsen towns of Yamanaka, Yamashiro and Katayamazu
2017/07/24 - Remote Riches in Toyama
2017/07/03 - Spiritual Chichibu
2017/05/02 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2017/04/14 - Sneak Peek from Ginza Six
2017/03/21 - A bit of everything in Fukui
2017/03/13 - Nikko Toshogu Uncovered
2017/02/15 - Subculture in Ikebukuro
2017/02/07 - Travel to the Goto Islands
2017/02/06 - Nagasaki Lantern Festival

2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/12/19 - Winter Illuminations in Tokyo
2016/10/24 - The way of old on the Kunisaki Peninsula
2016/10/11 - Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu
2016/08/27 - Fool's Dance at Koenji Awa Odori
2016/08/16 - The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
2016/06/20 - Train travel into the Ise-Shima region
2016/04/03 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2016/03/08 - The hunt for Namahage on the Oga Peninsula
2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria
2016/02/20 - Tokyo Plum Blossom Report
2016/01/26 - Tour de Reinan: Obama, Oi and Takahama
2016/01/25 - Tour de Reinan: Tsuruga, Mihama and Wakasa

2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/10 - 48 hours in Tokushima
2015/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Kankakei
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2015/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/09 - Autumn Color Report: Koyasan
2015/11/08 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2015/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Dazaifu
2015/10/28 - The 44th Tokyo Motor Show
2015/10/21 - Hirado, where East meets West
2015/10/20 - Kujukushima Islands and Winter Illumination at Huis Ten Bosch
2015/10/19 - Navigating the Christian sites in Nagasaki
2015/10/18 - Cosplay at Haco Stadium Tokyo
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2015/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2015/09/16 - Nakanojo Biennale 2015
2015/08/19 - Traditional culture and hot springs of the Aizu Region
2015/08/17 - Nature and Hot Springs at Naruko Onsen
2015/08/04 - Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2015
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Sendai
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Tokyo
2014/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa
2014/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2014/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2014/10/01 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2014/09/29 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/06/19 - Toranomon Hills opens in Tokyo
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu-Wakamatsu Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/04 - Early Tokyo Blossom Report