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Sendai: Full Bloom

Somei Yoshino cherry trees in full bloom at Mikamine Park in Sendai

As the cherry blossom season is winding down in western Japan and the "sakura front" is moving its way north towards its final destination of , our team is moving our coverage north, too. While Scott and Raina are reporting from a few of the best late-blooming cherry blossom spots around Tokyo and Kyoto this week, I'll be heading into the as the season progresses northward.

Today, I made my way to Sendai, one of 's major cities, to check on the state of the blossoms in a few of the city's best sakura spots. While the sakura reached full bloom here late last week, on this chilly, windy day, I found the flowers still rather close to full bloom, with petals only just starting to fall on less than half of the trees in the places I visited.

Mikamine Park

Petals Starting To Fall

My first visit today was actually a few kilometers outside of the main urban center of Sendai to the south. Mikamine Park is a small yet spacious hilltop park packed full of lovely and trees which today were looking fluffy and very near full bloom. The more common, mid-season-blooming Somei Yoshino sakura trees here were just starting to lightly shed their petals today, but still had more than enough hanging on to keep them looking lovely and full for another few days, provided no heavy rain or wind take them down more quickly.

The only downside to this great little park is perhaps the access. The walk from the nearest train station, Nagamachi Minami Subway Station, to Mikamine Park is about 30 minutes, and city buses don't go directly to the park (and don't offer stop signage in English). Parking can also be a challenge in the park's rather small parking lot. For those looking for the simplest and fastest route, a taxi from Nagamachi Minami Subway Station might be the way to go.

A beautiful, near-full bloom day at Mikamine Park, celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the planting of the park's trees
Many of the Somei Yoshino sakura trees here were either at full bloom or just barely beyond
Big fluffy sakura trees abound, and should stay pretty for several more days
Throwing in a little yellow into the palette
A great day to stroll through this beautiful little park
Tons of space for hanami picnics
A very old stone monument surrounded by weeping shidare zakura
Making a run for the sakura
A lot of the yaebeni shidarezakura were actually just a little before full bloom, so they should stay quite nice a bit longer

Nishi Park

Full Bloom

My second stop today was back in Sendai's city center at Nishi Park. The small inner city park has several dozen Somei Yoshino cherry trees which were almost all in full bloom today. In the middle of the trees, the park sports a large lawn that gets crowded with on weekends and in the evening during the season, when the trees are lit up and the food stalls around the perimeter are busy with customers.

Nishi Park is located just two stops west of Sendai Station on the recently-opened Tozai Subway Line, just a few steps away from Omachinishikoen Station.

Full bloom in Nishi Park, though the cold and partly cloudy weather kept the park a little empty when I arrived
The park's Somei Yoshino sakura were mostly still at full bloom
Plenty of food stalls set up in the park, which should help draw plenty of visitors in the evenings this week while the trees are illuminated
Group shot in front of the park
Kids exploring the park
Food stall banners and cherry blossoms
Red lanterns floating in the sea of blossoms

Tsutsujigaoka Park

Full Bloom

My last stop today was to Tsutsujigaoka Park, just one stop east of Sendai Station on the JR Senseki Line. Tsutsujigaoka Park's long promenades just recently burst into color last week, and today was still looking amazing with its many bright pink weeping yaebeni shidarezakura approaching full bloom and the white Somei Yoshino sakura just starting to drop their petals. The mix of colors was beautiful today, and hundreds of people were pitching tarps and picnicking under the trees. The park offers plenty of space for hanami parties, convenient boxes for trash, and vendors selling festival food.

A blast of colors at Tsutsujigaoka Park
Nothing like hula to liven up your hanami
Dozens of vibrant weeping, pink yaebeni shidarezakura trees made the colors here incredible today
While the more common, mid-season-blooming Somei Yoshino sakura were starting to lose their petals today...
...the yaebeni shidarezakura were just approaching full bloom, for an overall full bloom effect
Hundreds of hanami partiers were out under the long alley of cherry trees, bundled up against today's chilly wind
Picnicking under the pink and white
Lots of food stalls to choose from, but sadly no crêpes here today, much to the dismay of my sweet tooth