With this year's cherry blossom season all but over in many low and southern areas of Japan, now all eyes are on the country's high and northern areas, of which many are approaching, if not already having entered, their best viewing periods. Particularly exciting for blossom enthusiasts right now are areas of the Tohoku Region, where the season is generally getting underway nicely.
Following on from yesterday's report from Matsumoto, today I headed to the Fuji Five Lakes area for some sakura sleuthing. With many of its districts typically at full bloom around this time of year, the area didn't disappoint, with the blossoms generally making for some spectacular displays
I began my journey today early with a stop at Chureito Pagoda, a spot that has in recent years become extremely popular with cherry blossom chasers for the awe-inspiring views it provides of the blossoms in combination with the pagoda and Mount Fuji
I'm pleased to report that this morning the views from up at the pagoda were stunning, with the cherry blossoms looking to have reached full bloom in the last couple of days. Great news for blossom enthusiasts is the predominantly calm, dry weather that is predicted over the weekend and into next week, meaning that, should these predictions prove correct, the area should remain in its best viewing stage for around another six to seven days. The pagoda and surrounding paths get very busy at this time of year, so it is suggested to get their early for an optimum experience.
My next stop today was at Ubuyagasaki Peninsula that juts out onto Lake Kawaguchiko and affords visitors great views of Mount Fuji beyond the lake, along with cherry blossoms. The sakura along the water, like up at Chureito Pagoda were spectacularly in bloom and looking strong despite some intermittent gusts off the wind coming off the lake. With the calm weather predicted in the area, I expect the blossoms to continue to look great here beyond the middle of next week.
The third stop of the day took me to the wonderfully picturesque northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko, just a short drive from the Ubuyagasaki Peninsula. Providing great views all year round, these shores typically impress come mid-April when sublime views can be had of Mount Fuji in combination with the lake. The best location in the area is the lakeside promenade which runs along the water to the east of Kawaguchiko Music Forest, where there are also a smattering of flowers for good measure.
The cherry blossoms along the promenade this morning looked to have just about reached full bloom, with a few trees still bearing a significant amount of unopen blossoms (these however, generally looked very close to opening). An atmospheric spot that is beautiful and not too crowded, I estimate that great cherry blossom viewing will continue to be had around here for around another week.
My final stop today was at Oshino Hakkai, a small village between Lake Kawaguchiko and Lake Yamanakako and the site of a sixth lake that dried up centuries ago. The location's main spots to see the cherry blossoms are in the village itself and along the river that runs beside it.
Today the village area didn't have too much going on blossom-wise save for one or two cherry trees that were approaching full bloom. I found the river to be as of yet predominantly unopened too, despite some earlier blooming trees showcasing intermittent bursts of color. The area is still picturesque and well worth a vist, and furthermore, relatively warm temperatures are forecast over the next few days. If these prevail, I expect many of the blossoms to open here in around one to two days.