This year's cherry blossom season is progressing nicely, with many of Japan's large cities coming towards the end of their best viewing period, and with Tokyo already past peak as Schauwecker noted on his report from the capital earlier today. In continuing with our nationwide sakura reporting, today I went to the Fuji Five Lakes area to see how the blossoms were faring there. I visited two of the area's popular blossom-viewing spots, the Chureito Pagoda, and Lake Kawaguchiko.
I found that while there were some pockets of trees which looked to be already progressing nicely towards full bloom this morning, the area in general looks to be a few days away from best viewing, with some spots bearing hardly any open blossoms at all. The temperature in the region is forecast to remain slightly cool in the coming days, and if this holds true I expect that the Fuji Five Lakes won't reach best viewing until into the weekend.
My first stop this morning was at the Chureito Pagoda. The is one of the most popular cherry blossom spots in the region and allows visitors to take in spectacular views that combine the cherry blossom-framed pagoda with Mount Fuji. Some cherry trees near the bottom of the long staircase that leads up to the pagoda were looking to be approaching full bloom. Further up the steps however, the trees were increasingly barren, with many of those directly surrounding the pagoda still not bearing many open blossoms.
On the plus side, the adjacent hillside is more progressed, with some lovely displays beginning to emerge which make the area a great place for strolling or relaxing. As for the iconic view though, judging from the weather forecast I expect that it will take another few days before the cherry blossoms match the majesty of the pagoda and Mount Fuji behind it.
The second and final place of exploration today was around Lake Kawaguchiko. I first had a quick mosey around the Ubuyagasaki Peninsula and found the cherry blossoms here to be generally in the process of opening. After this I headed over to the lake's northern shore and walked along the famous waterfront promenade from where visitors can take in spectacular views of cherry blossoms combined with the lake and Mount Fuji.
I found that the cherry trees along the water generally have a while to go before they provide for best viewing, with many as of yet bearing hardly any open blossoms! The situation along one of the paths leading away from the lakefront was much better, with many blossoms having opened her. This particular spot naturally attracted the bulk of the tourists here this morning. All in all, given the continued cool temperatures forecast around the lake over the coming days, I expect that we won't see the renowned stellar sakura displays along the lakefront until around this weekend. The blossoms along the waterfront are lit up nightly from sunset until 21:00 through April 14.