Cherry Blossom Report 2014
Official cherry blossom reports by japan-guide.com

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2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Report
by raina

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 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:
2014/05/09 - Hakodate Report
2014/05/08 - Matsumae Report
2014/05/01 - Hirosaki Report
2014/04/30 - Kakunodate Report
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Report
2014/04/23 - Mt. Fuji Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu Report
2014/04/19 - Matsushima Report
2014/04/17 - Takato Report
2014/04/16 - Sendai Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Report
2014/04/15 - Fukushima Report
2014/04/15 - Mount Fuji Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Report
2014/04/11 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/10 - Yoshino Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/09 - Gunma Report
2014/04/09 - Hikone Report
2014/04/08 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/07 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Report
2014/04/05 - Matsuyama Report
2014/04/04 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/04 - Kamakura Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/03 - Fukuoka Report
2014/04/03 - Uji Report
2014/04/02 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Report
2014/04/02 - Kumamoto Report
2014/04/01 - Kyoto Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Report
2014/03/29 - Kyoto Report
2014/03/28 - Kumamoto Report
2014/03/27 - Fukuoka Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Report
2014/03/25 - Kyoto Report