It has been almost two weeks since the start of the cherry blossom season when Tokyo and a few cities in Kyushu reported the opening of their first blossoms (kaika). The sakura season in western, central and eastern Japan is now in the best viewing stage and many cities are quickly moving towards full bloom (mankai) due to the warmer than average temperatures since March.
Today, I made my way back to Osaka, five days after my last report to find out how the blossom have progressed. The blossoms were still opening when I was last there and thanks to the warm temperatures, mankai in Osaka was announced on March 26, 2018. Today, I found the cherry blossoms to be at their best still and expect it to remain so through to this weekend before the petals start to fall. Warm and sunny weather is forecast for the next few days and I expect the coming weekend to be a popular one for flower viewing (hanami) parties.
The cherry blossom season has also reached the north with Kanazawa, Fukui and Fukushima announcing the opening of their first blossoms today. Kaika for these places are about a week earlier compared to the average year due to the recent warmer than average temperatures.
Kema Sakuranomiya Park
Kema Sakuranomiya Park is an approximately four kilometer long park along the Okawa River, and one of Osaka's popular cherry blossom spots. The park has approximately 4800 cherry trees which were all at full bloom when I was there this morning. I expect the flowers to remain at their best through the coming weekend before their petals start falling in larger numbers from next week.
A short walk from the Kema Sakuranomiya Park is Osaka Castle. The last time I was there, most of the cherry blossoms were still in their buds and today, the open blossoms were at their peak. I headed to Nishinomaru Garden at the western end of the castle grounds and found the cherry trees there to be also at their best. Entry into the Nishinomaru Garden costs 350 yen and the grounds are illuminated from 18:00 to 21:00 until April 15, 2018. I expect the garden and castle grounds to be especially crowded this weekend with visitors and locals alike enjoying hanami parties.
Yodogawa Kasen Park
Yodogawa Kasen Park is a small strip of land about two kilometers long and best known as a cherry blossom viewing spot. There are about 250 cherry trees lining the small strip and today, they were all at full bloom creating impressive sakura views. There is a 1.4 kilometer long walking path which is lined with cherry trees and lots of green space for people to picnic. There were lots of hanami-goers when I was there today enjoying the open blossoms and beautiful weather. I expect the best viewing period to continue through the weekend and predict that the petals would start falling next week. I foresee the coming weekend to be extremely crowded with visitors heading out to enjoy one of their last hanami parties before the petals start to fall.
Yodogawa Kasen Park is close to the border of Osaka and Kyoto prefectures and at the confluence of three rivers: Kizu River, Uji River and Katsura River. The best way to get there is by train on the Keihan Railway and stop at Yawatashi Station. The entrance to Sewaritei is about a ten minute walk from the station.