We've now entered the end of the first week of the cherry blossom season. The earliest major cities to report the opening of their first blossoms (kaika) were Tokyo and Fukuoka on March 21 and Nagoya on March 22. Since then, just about a week after those announcements, Tokyo and Fukuoka are the only cities to have officially reached full bloom. Joe was in Tokyo yesterday and reported that the cherry blossoms at the places he visited were approaching full bloom, while Sam reported that the blossoms were progressing well when he visited Fukuoka three days ago. You can read the most recent sakura reports and updates here.
I visited Nagoya today, a week after kaika was announced officially on March 22, and found that the cherry trees were still just less than halfway to full bloom despite the warm weather over the last few days. Today and tomorrow's warm weather forecast should encourage more flowers to open, and barring inclement weather, I expect the best viewing in Nagoya to start next week and continue through that weekend.
Relatively good weather with mild temperatures is forecast for the coming weekend, and I am sure that there would be lots of cherry blossom viewing parties from Kyushu all the way to the Kanto Region.
I started my day along the Yamazakigawa Riverside where hundreds of cherry trees line the river. I saw that there were more cherry blossoms still in their buds than open, and it would be a few more days before they show off all their petals. In addition to being a popular cherry blossom viewing spot in Nagoya, the park was also a hit with those looking to get some exercise. I joined some older folks on their morning walk and made sure to clock in some steps for the day. I expect more blossoms to open over the next few days and barring inclement weather, for the best viewing to be start next week and continue through that weekend.
Tsuruma Park, another popular cherry blossom spot in Nagoya was next on my list. I found that depending on the location of the cherry trees, they were between halfway to their best and under the halfway mark. However, there were definitely enough open blossoms for hanami parties judging by the number of picnickers at the popular park. I expect more blossoms to open over the next few days and barring inclement weather, for the best viewing to be start next week and continue through that weekend. Until April 7, the cherry trees are illuminated till around 21:30, and there are festival food stalls in the park as well.
My final stop was Nagoya Castle, a must-visit sightseeing and popular cherry blossom spot in Nagoya. There are a variety of cherry trees on the castle grounds and I found the weeping cherry trees to be at their best viewing, and expect this state to continue through into next week. On the other hand, the mainstream Somei Yoshino cherry trees were still under the halfway mark to full bloom. I expect more blossoms to open over the next few days and barring inclement weather, for the best viewing to be start next week and continue through that weekend.
For those planning a visit to Nagoya Castle, note that the interior of the castle keep is closed to the public. There are plans to tear the current keep down and rebuild it in wood, but the specific time periods for that remains unknown. Until then, visitors can only view the keep from the outside. However, in place of the castle keep, visitors can enter the beautifully reconstructed castle honmaru palace. It was completed based on original plans and designs, and gives one a look at the opulent and grand designs that royalty and aristocrats would've seen back in the day.