Cherry Blossom Report 2013
Official cherry blossom reports by

2013 Cherry Blossom Forecast - Schedule of upcoming reports - Popular cherry blossom spots
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2013/03/27 - Fukuoka Report
by schauwecker

Today I headed to Fukuoka Prefecture for a last cherry blossom report from Kyushu this year. I visited one representative hanami spot each in the prefecture's two largest cities, Fukuoka and Kitakyushu.

Fukuoka Castle Ruins (Maizuru Park)
March 27, 2013 - petals starting to fall

In Fukuoka, I dropped by Maizuru Park, which is my personal favorite among the city's cherry blossom spots because of its pleasant greenery and special setting among the ruined walls of the former Fukuoka Castle. Scott visited the park six days ago when the trees were on the verge of reaching full bloom.

Today, the trees were on the verge of passing beyond full bloom, as many of them started to drop their first petals. Overall, however, the season was still at its peak, and most trees still stood at full bloom. If the coming days are not too windy, enough petals may hang on to still provide nice hanami conditions on the upcoming weekend. The park's cherry blossom festival continues through March 31 with illuminations from 18:00 to 22:00.

Blossoms and petals in the main citadel of the former castle

Petals starting to fall

But many trees were still at full bloom

Cherry blossom tunnel

Food stands near Ohori Park

The Yaebeni weeping cherry trees have reached full bloom

Yaebeni weeping cherry tree reaching full bloom

During the cherry blossom festival, a special bamboo installation is placed where the castle keep used to stand
Accessible for free during the daytime between 12:00 and 17:00 (from 11:00 on the weekends)
Lit up and accessible for 300 yen between 18:00 and 22:00

Views over the park from under the bamboo installation

Kokura Castle (Katsuyama Park)
March 27, 2013 - petals starting to fall

A 15 minute shinkansen ride east of Fukuoka lies the prefecture's second largest city, Kitakyushu. One of the city's best known hanami spots is Katsuyama Park which contains Kokura Castle and is reached in a 15-20 minute walk from Kokura Station, Kitakyushu's shinkansen station.

About 300 trees are found on the grounds of Kokura Castle. The blossoms' condition was quite similar to those at Fukuoka's Maizuru Park. While most of the trees stood still at full bloom, the falling of the petals has visibly started in some areas of the park. Nightly illuminations of the trees continue until April 7 from 18:45 to 22:00.

Kokura Castle is a ferro-concrete reconstruction from the 1950s, as the original tower burned down in a fire in 1837. The interior houses a museum on its lower floors (no English) and an observation deck on its top floor. More recently in the 1990s, the castle's garden was restored, but it does not feature many cherry trees.

Kokura Castle and the entrance to Yasaka Shrine

Full bloom on a wet afternoon

Striking contrast between traditional and modern architecture

Hanami in the rain

Some branches in full bloom

Kokura Castle

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List of Posts:
2013/05/09 - Hakodate Report
2013/05/08 - Matsumae Report
2013/05/02 - Hirosaki Report
2013/05/01 - Kakunodate Report
2013/04/30 - Kitakami Report
2013/04/18 - Sendai Report
2013/04/17 - Takayama Report
2013/04/15 - Fukushima Report
2013/04/12 - Matsumoto Report
2013/04/11 - Kyoto Report
2013/04/10 - Mount Fuji Report
2013/04/10 - Hakone Report
2013/04/10 - Kanazawa Report
2013/04/09 - Yoshino Report
2013/04/08 - Kyoto Report
2013/04/08 - Tokyo Report
2013/04/05 - Mount Fuji Report
2013/04/04 - Kyoto Report
2013/04/04 - Gunma Report
2013/04/03 - Takamatsu Report
2013/04/02 - Osaka Report
2013/04/02 - Hiroshima Report
2013/04/01 - Tokyo Report
2013/04/01 - Kyoto Report
2013/03/29 - Tokyo Report
2013/03/28 - Gunma Report
2013/03/28 - Kyoto Report
2013/03/27 - Osaka Report
2013/03/27 - Fukuoka Report
2013/03/26 - Nagoya Report
2013/03/26 - Kamakura Report
2013/03/26 - Okayama Report
2013/03/25 - Tokyo Report
2013/03/24 - Kyoto Report
2013/03/23 - Kagoshima Report
2013/03/22 - Kumamoto Report
2013/03/21 - Tokyo Report
2013/03/21 - Fukuoka Report
2013/03/20 - Kyoto Report
2013/03/17 - Tokyo Report
2013/03/12 - Tokyo Report
2013/02/28 - Kawazu Report