Cherry Blossom Report 2013
Official cherry blossom reports by japan-guide.com

2013 Cherry Blossom Forecast - Schedule of upcoming reports - Popular cherry blossom spots
How to do hanami? - Cherry tree varieties - Post your own report

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2013/04/05 - Mount Fuji Report
by scott

Phlox moss (Shibazakura) and cherry trees around Lake Kawaguchiko

While the cherry blossom season around Tokyo has pretty much come to a close, no doubt helped along by Wednesday's heavy rains, the trees in other nearby areas are only just getting started.

Today I headed down to the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) region at the base of Mount Fuji to see how one of these later season spots is doing. The trees around the mountain typically start to bloom about two to three weeks after those in Tokyo, and, in accordance with this year's accelerated schedule, first opened on the 29th.

Most of the popular Fujigoko hanami spots that we cover are found around Lake Kawaguchiko. The majority of the trees around the lake are still opening and have not quite reached 50% open yet. Rain is forecasted over the weekend; however, it will have little effect on the blossoms, most of which won't reach full bloom until next week. Definitely keep the Fuji Five Lakes region in mind as a later season alternative to Tokyo.

Chureito Pagoda
April 5, 2013 - opening (10-50%)

My first stop today was the Chureito Pagoda, a five story pagoda that overlooks Fujiyoshida City from a nearby mountainside. About 650 cherry trees are planted along the slope with a few dozen trees around the base of the pagoda. When the trees are in bloom the pagoda appears to peek out over a sea of cherry blossoms with Mount Fuji in the background.

The cherry blossoms around the pagoda have only just opened and looked to be about a week away from reaching full bloom. The trees along the staircase that leads down the slope were further along, and got better and better as you headed downhill. The cherry blossoms around the shrine entrance at the base of the mountain have reached full bloom.

Chureito Pagoda

The cherry trees around the pagoda are still opening

The trees were a little more open along the stairs down the mountainside

Full bloom around the entrance of the shrine

Eastern Shore of Lake Kawaguchiko
April 5, 2013 - opening (10-50%)

Next I headed down to the eastern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko where many of the area ryokan are located. There are about a dozen of the typical Somei Yoshino trees scattered along the waterfront area here which were at varying states of bloom today. Most were still below 50% open, although they were progressively more open the further north you got around the lake. This is probably because the more easterly trees spend more time in shadow while the more northerly trees experience a lot more sun.

Eastern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko

Most of the trees were below the 50% mark

There was a few hundred meter long stretch of the waterfront trail that showed some future promise as it was lined by slightly later blooming Yaebenishidare trees. These darker pink, weeping cherry tree variety have only just begun to open and probably won't reach full bloom for another week.

A row of Yaebenishidare trees line the path along the waterfront

The Yaebenishidare blossoms were just beginning to open

Ubuyagasaki Peninsula
April 5, 2013 - full bloom

Just a few hundred meters further along the shore at the northern end of the Kawaguchi Ohashi Bridge is the Ubuyagasaki Peninsula. A short, paved path leads around the peninsula with several cherry trees planted along the way. Today the cherry blossoms along the Ubuyagasaki Peninsula were at full bloom and provided nice views of Mount Fuji in combination with the lake and flowers.

Ubuyagasaki Peninsula

Cherry blossoms in front of the Kawaguchi Ohashi Bridge

The Ubuyagasaki Peninsula from the east

Northern Shore of Lake Kawaguchiko
April 5, 2013 - opening (10-50%)

Continuing around Lake Kawaguchiko will take you to the northern shore where many of the area's museums, shops, and restaurants are located. This part of the shore is one of the Eight Views of Mount Fuji (Fuji Hakkai), famous for the beautiful view of Mount Fuji reflected in the lake.

The shore is also lined by several hundred cherry trees, whose blossoms tend to appear slightly behind those around other parts of the lake. Today the delay seemed more pronounced as it looked as if most of the trees had only just opened. If that's the case then this part of the lake probably won't see full bloom for about a week.

This area also holds an annual cherry blossom festival which includes food vendors and handicraft markets set up under the trees and nightly illuminations (until 21:00). This year's festival hasn't begun yet and will take place from April 19-29, 2013. Unfortunately it doesn't look like they plan to move up the dates to compensate for this year's early season, so that will probably be after the cherry blossoms have fallen.

Northern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko

The blossoms are still in the early opening stages

A handicraft fair will take place here from April 19-29, 2013

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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