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2015/04/05 - Okayama Report
by scott

Today I lucked out with the weather, as the rains forecast to hit Okayama today stopped shortly after I arrived in the city and held off until just after I departed. The cherry blossoms around the Okayama however, were not so fortunate as they couldn't escape the wet weather of the last few days. Like in most of the sakura around the country (save the northern Hokkaido and Tohoku regions), the trees in Okayama reached their peak earlier this week and have been in full bloom since April 2, 2015. But at this point the blossoms are susceptible to any disturbances, so the recent rains really wreaked havoc on the trees around the city.

Okayama Castle
April 5, 2015 - petals starting to fall

My first stop this morning was to Okayama Castle, which has about 200 cherry trees planted along the castle walls, especially up around the main honmaru area at the base of the castle keep. I found the state around the castle difficult to judge as a few individual trees were holding on to their blossoms as best they could, but the rains really knocked down a lot of the petals from most of the trees. I think it is still atmosphere is still pleasant, but it is probably just a matter of hours before the trees are beyond peak, especially with the forecast calling for rain rain rain over the next few days.

April 5, 2015 - petals starting to fall

The 300 cherry trees scattered around the grounds of Korakuen next door to Okayama Castle seemed in a little better state, although it was still a very similar situation. There were a few areas where the trees were holding on to their blossoms quite well, but at the same time there were carpets of petals everywhere. Personally I found it great as this is one of my favorite times of the season, but unfortunately it probably won't last much longer this year due to the weather.

Asahi River Cherry Road
April 5, 2015 - petals starting to fall

The bank of the Asahi River just to the northeast of Korakuen is another popular cherry blossom partying spot in Okayama, as there are countless trees lining the river and ample space for bbqs. The cherry trees along the banks were in the best shape of the spots I visited today, and should be the best chance for visitors coming to Okayama over the next few days to see blossoms .

Handayama Botanical Garden
April 5, 2015 - petals starting to fall

My final stop today was to the Handayama Botanical Garden which overlooks Okayama from a hill in the northern part of the city, about a 15 minute walk from Hokaiin Station, one stop north of Okayama on the JR Tsuyama Line. I had high hopes for the garden as it is home to around 1000 cherry trees, including 700 Somei Yoshino trees in addition to Oshima, Shidare, Kanzan, and several other varieties of flowering trees and plants which are planted all around the hillsides. In addition, there are lots of great spots to have a cherry blossom viewing party (hanami) under the trees and along the open spaces and grassy areas around the grounds.

When preparing for this visit I was a little worried that there would be so much rain today that there wouldn't be anything left to see, but luckily, my timing couldn't have been better and I wasn't disappointed in the least. The garden's Somei Yoshino trees were at that time where they still looked nice, but would freely drop their petals creating cherry blossom storms (hanafubuki) at any disturbance. The wind would blow, and you'd have a cherry blossom storm. Bump into a branch, and get showered in petals. It was perfect timing for what I mentioned earlier is my favorite part of the season. But it's a short lived part of the season, and I wouldn't expect it to last much more than a day or so especially if it rains as expected tomorrow.

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List of Posts:
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Report
2015/04/16 - Fujigoko Report
2015/04/15 - Kyoto Report
2015/04/14 - Yoshino Report
2015/04/13 - Takizakura Report
2015/04/10 - Himeji Report
2015/04/10 - Takada Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Report
2015/04/09 - Kyoto Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Report
2015/04/08 - Matsumoto Report
2015/04/07 - Yoshino Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Report
2015/04/06 - Kyoto Report
2015/04/05 - Okayama Report
2015/04/04 - Hiroshima Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Report
2015/04/03 - Nagoya Report
2015/04/02 - Tokyo Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Report
2015/04/01 - Kumagaya Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Report
2015/03/30 - Tokyo Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Report