Today, I visited Kitakami in Iwate Prefecture and found the flowers here to be at full bloom (mankai), about a week after the opening of the first blossoms (kaika) was reported. Morioka, the capital of Iwate Prefecture, also reached mankai today and stay tuned as I will be visiting the captial city later this week.
The main cherry blossom strip in Kitakami is at Tenshochi Park along the Kitakami River which is about a ten walk from Kitakami Station. Cherry trees line the riverside for about two kilometers and I found them to be at full bloom today, perfect for a cherry blossom viewing party (hanami) under the blue sky. I expect the blossoms to remain at their best for the next few days, although the forecast rain later this week may shorten their lifespan.
A sakura festival is held at Tenshochi Park the start of the rows of cherry trees until May 7. During the festival, visitors can look forward to food stalls offering local delicacies, horse carriage rides through the cherry tree tunnel (500 yen for 20 minutes), river cruises (1300 yen for 20 minutes), and river crossing boats (350 yen one way). In addition to all these, the trees are also illuminated in the evenings from 18:00 to 21:00.