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

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2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report

After the warm and sunny weather yesterday where the temperature reached about 24 degrees Celsius in the Kansai Region, the weather took a turn and there was a steady rain all day today. However, thanks to yesterday's warm weather, Kyoto and Osaka reached full bloom today. Schauwecker was in Kumagaya, in Saitama Prefecture, to check out the cherry blossoms, and you can read his update here.

There were lots of blossoms open and while it rained all day today, these blossoms that just opened are still relatively strong and will not fall easily in rain or wind. Once at full bloom, the blossoms will remain at their peak for about a week before the petals start to fall and leaves start showing. Note that how long the blossoms stay at their peak is largely dependent on the weather conditions with strong winds and rain shortening the peak viewing period.

Today, I headed to Osaka to check out the blossoms in a few of Osaka's popular hanami spots. It has been six days since Osaka reported the opening of its first blossoms (kaika) on March 26, and today, most of the sites I visited today had reached full bloom. While not the best day for cherry blossom viewing due to the constant rain, those who made their way out were treated to lots of open blossoms. Rainy weather is forecast for the rest of the week except tomorrow, so if you are in Kyoto or Osaka now, tomorrow would be the best time to have a hanami picnic outside.

Osaka Castle
April 1, 2015 - full bloom

The Osaka Castle grounds were teeming with bus loads of tourists out in the morning to visit the castle. Thanks to the rain, there were as many open umbrellas as blossoms in most places, making the area look very colorful. The cherry trees along the southern outer moat were at full bloom and I saw many visitors braving the rain while they got their picture taken with the blossoms. I even saw some blue sheets laid out, but I doubt there would be hanami parties there today, not in the rain.

Nishinomaru Garden, a popular hanami spot on the castle grounds, was devoid of visitors sitting on the spacious lawns, as most people just strolled along the perimeter before heading out. The garden area is open for entry from 9:00 to 21:30 and is lit up to 22:00 until April 12. Entry costs 350 yen during the illumination period.

Tourists enjoying the open blossoms
Open blossoms everywhere
Cherry trees around the moat
Blue sheets and two guys keeping their spot in the rain
Cherry tree at full bloom
Close up of the blossoms against the castle
View of the castle from Nishinomaru Garden

Kema Sakuranomiya Park
April 1, 2015 - full bloom

My next destination was Kema Sakuranomiya Park, between the Osaka Mint and Osaka Castle. It takes less than 10 minutes to walk there from the castle and that's what I did. Kema Sakuranomiya Park is about 4.2 kilometers long and there are about 4800 cherry trees planted in the park. Like at Osaka Castle, the cherry trees here were at full bloom and the blossoms were glistening with rainwater.

There was considerably fewer people at the park as it was not as popular with the tour groups, but can get very crowded with locals over the weekends and when the cherry blossom festival at Osaka Mint starts. The Okawa river runs along the park and visitors can take sightseeing cruise boats to see the cherry blossoms from the water.

Cherry trees lining the river
Sightseeing boats in the background and cherry blossoms
There are at least seven sparrows in this picture
Raindrops are falling on the flowers and everywhere else
Stop and smell the flowers

Expo 70 Commemorative Park
April 1, 2015 - full bloom

My final destination on this very wet day was the Expo 70 Commemorative Park (Bampaku Kinen Koen). There are about 5500 cherry trees in the Expo Park with most of them along the eastern end. The trees along the path to the right of the Tower of the Sun were already at full bloom and beautiful to see when I was there, however the blossoms near the east gate only need another day or so before they reach full bloom. However the rain kept most visitors under their umbrellas or in the rest areas, and no one sitting outside and enjoying the blossoms. The cherry tree area is lit in the evenings until 21:00 (entry till 20:30) and the illumination runs until April 12.

Cherry trees near the east gate
Close up of the blossoms
I think they posed for me
Ceramics fair near the east gate
Rain all day
Tower of the Sun and the main entrance of the park

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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