This week, many cities that started their cherry blossom season at the end of March have entered their best viewing period and are finally reaching full bloom. A cold front at the end of last week till the beginning of this week slowed the progress of the blossoms, meaning that they are taking slightly longer to reach full bloom from opening compared to the average year. However, this also means that the season has been stretched out till now. Warmer temperatures are forecast for the next few days, and this should provide the last push needed for places who have not reached full bloom yet. I expect this weekend to be one of the best times for cherry blossom viewing parties from Kyushu to the Kanto Region
Today I made my way to Takamatsu at northwestern end of Shikoku. The city faces the Seto Inland Sea, and is a good base for visiting the various art islands during the Setouchi Triennale which is happening this year. However, my goal was not to check out the art, but to visit some of the popular cherry blossom spots in Takamatsu and see how the cherry blossoms have progressed since the opening of the first blossoms were announced on March 26, 2019. I am pleased to report that the sakura were at full bloom today and expect the best viewing to continue through the upcoming weekend and into early next week.
I started my morning at Ritsurin Koen, a beautiful landscape garden in Takamatsu. There are a variety of trees, including about 300 cherry trees in the garden that offer a scenic views all year. The trees are spread out in the garden and I went for a pleasant stroll looking for some sakura action. The cherry trees in Ritsurin Koen have just reached full bloom with the ones near the north exit just a bit more developed than the rest. Until April 7, the garden is illuminated from 18:00 to 21:00 (entry until 20:30). Good weather is forecast for the next few days, and I expect the best viewing period to continue through the upcoming weekend and into early next week.
My next stop was Takamatsu Castle which is a short walk from Takamatsu Station. The main spot to see cherry blossoms on the castle grounds is at the field near the east entrance. Today, the sakura were at full bloom and I saw lots of families and friends having hanami parties under the open blossoms and the blue sky. Until April 10, the cherry tree field will be illuminated from 17:30 to 20:00, and entry to the castle grounds will be free during that time (entry costs 200 yen in the day). Good weather is forecast for the next few days, and I expect the best viewing period to continue through the upcoming weekend and into early next week.
Finally, I took the ferry from Takamatsu Port to Megijima Island which is about 20 minutes away. The small island is one of the art islands that is part of the Setouchi Triennale, a contemporary art festival that happens once every three years. In addition to art, there are also a number of cherry trees on the island. The best cherry blossom spot is in the park on the island's highest peak which stands at 188 meters. I found the cherry blossoms here to be around the halfway mark to full bloom and expect the flowers to reach their best by the coming weekend.