The cherry blossom front is moving northwards and towards the higher elevations, and almost on its last legs in cities like Tokyo and Kyoto. Joe was in Fukushima yesterday and reported that the flowers were still at full bloom there while Sam reported that the season in Yoshino was past its peak.
Today, I headed to the Fuji Five Lakes region to check out the progress of the cherry blossoms. Due to its higher elevation, the cherry blossoms in the area tend to open later compared to the cities. As such, despite the season being almost over in nearby Tokyo, there are still lots of cherry blossoms to be seen in the Fujigoko area.
I visited a number of popular cherry blossom spots in the Fujigoko region and found that the state of the flowers varied widely between places. However, it is safe to say that the season in the main areas are midway to approaching their best and should reach their best viewing period by the end of this weekend. A bit of rain and relatively strong winds are forecast for the next few days, but should not have a negative impact on the longevity of the open blossoms.
Chureito Pagoda is a five-story pagoda which has become famous as a photography location. The iconic shot of cherry blossoms with the pagoda and Mount Fuji in the background is one of the reasons why many people visit the place during the sakura season. Today, I found that the season has reached its peak, earlier compared to the other the places around Lake Kawaguchiko. I expect the best viewing period to continue through next week, though the strong gusts of wind may take some petals (and even branches!) off prematurely. Until April 22, there is a sakura festival at the Arakura Sengen Park where the pagoda is located.
Northern Shores of Kawaguchiko
The northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko are lined with many cherry trees and today, I found the blossoms to be approaching their best. It will be another few days before they reach their peak and I expect the best viewing period to continue through next week.
Yagizaki Park is a small park across from the northern shore and not far from the Kawaguchiko Ohashi Bridge. It can be reached in about 15 minutes by retro bus from Kawaguchiko Station. The park's main festival is a herb festival in June through July when the lavenders are in bloom. However, there are lots of cherry trees in the park and today I found them to be about midway towards their best. I expect the blossoms to be at their peak in the next few days and the best viewing period to continue through next week.
Oshino Hakkai is a set of eight ponds between Lake Kawaguchiko and Lake Yamanakako. One of the best times to visit the area is during the cherry blossom season when the cherry trees along the stream are in bloom. Today, I found the cherry trees to be just opening with more closed buds than open blossoms. I expect the best viewing period at Oshino Hakkai to start around mid next week.