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

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2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report

The crowd of people and flowers at the Osaka Mint Bureau

Yesterday I mentioned that Sendai and Fukushima had their cherry blossom season open on the 7th and 8th respectively. These two cities reached full bloom status officially as of April 11. Scott will be heading to these two places in the next few days, so watch out for his reports. As for me, I made my way towards Osaka today to see how the cherry blossoms were.

Osaka Castle
April 13, 2014 - end of season

My first stop for today was Osaka Castle. As usual, there were many visitors to the castle. The last time I visited Osaka Castle, the cherry trees had petals falling. Today however, the cherry trees at the castle were looking very sparse and lacking blossoms. The cherry trees at Nishinomaru Garden were also lacking blossoms, but that did not stop visitors from picnicking there.

Cherry trees in Nishinomaru Garden looking more leafy these days
Petals hanging on
Visitors watching a street performer in front of the castle

Osaka Mint
April 13, 2014 - approaching full bloom (50-80%)

After a quick visit to the castle grounds, I headed towards Osaka Mint. The 600 meter long cherry tree lane at Osaka Mint has about 350 cherry trees and over 100 different varieties. A large number of the cherry trees are of the late blooming variety, and most of them were about 50-80% opened when I visited today. Entrance is free and it is open from 10:00 to 21:00 (last entry 20:30) till April 17. There is also a light up in the evenings from sunset till close.

Looks like the sky is covered with flower bunches
I wonder how all those petals can be hidden in such a small flower bud
Haiku on the tree branch

The cherry tree lane at Osaka Mint was very crowded when I was there, and it was difficult to walk properly at times. However, the sheer number of opened blossoms made up everything. A lot of the cherry trees had large bunches of flowers that reminded me of pompoms. Everyone was excited to see the opened blossoms and many people were taking pictures of them as well as with them. Each tree has a haiku hanging from it and visitors were also welcomed to submit their own. I also saw some flower damage which was unfortunate, as people bumped into the branches when they walked by and some visitors who grabbed the flower bunches for a feel.

This year's flower, Matsumae-Kotoito Zakura
Some damage spotted
Moreo flower pompoms

Kema Sakuranomiya Park
April 13, 2014 - end of season

To round up my Osaka trip, I walked along Kema Sakuranomiya Park. Like Osaka Castle, the cherry trees here no longer have many blossoms left. However, because of the cherry blossom viewing event at Osaka Mint, there were many food and drink, and game stalls along the riverside. Needless to say, these stalls were very popular with the visitors and had good business.

There's more green here compared to a week ago
No more petals left on the cherry tree
Getting some takoyaki from a food vendor
Fishing with paper nets
Lots of food available here
A bird's eye view of the food and drink stalls in the park

Himeji Castle
April 13, 2014 - beyond peak

As a quick side trip, I also visited Himeji Castle, located about an hour away from Osaka. Renovations on Himeji Castle started five years ago, and now that the renovation work is wrapping up, the scaffolding surrounding the castle is supposed to be removed from August this year. The interior of the castle is slated to re-open for viewing from March 27 next year.

Cherry trees in front of the covered castle
Not many blossoms left
There was an art event for kids to draw Himeji Castle on the castle lawn

The cherry trees along the main avenue up to the paid entrance gates are beyond peak. However, there are a few trees around that have more blossoms left. Unless, you come within the next two days, it would be difficult to see the flowers at Himeji Castle.

Visitors walking up the main avenue to the paid entrance gates
A weeping cherry tree on the castle grounds still in bloom

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List of Posts:
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