It was cold and wet weather today in most of the country, and Osaka, where I was today, was no exception. Full bloom was reported in Osaka on April 4, 2019, and today I judged that we have entered the beginning of the end of sakura season in the city. I visited a number of popular cherry blossom spots in Osaka and found that the rain took down a fair number of petals. I expect the best viewing period to hold on for one or two more days and to be over by the coming weekend. Relatively strong wind is predicted for tomorrow, and that would take some of the petals that survived today's bad weather. Clear skies are forecast till Saturday, and the next few days would be the last chance to see the Heisei Period's last sakura season.
With the sakura season approaching its end in cities up to the Kanto Region, it is time for the spotlight to be turned to the Tohoku Region and places at higher elevation in the Kanto Region. Joe was in Fukushima today and reported that the cherry trees at Hanamiyama, a popular cherry blossom viewing spot, were at full bloom. Sam was in the Fuji Five Lakes region yesterday, and reported that the cherry blossoms were opening there.
I kicked off the wet and cold day at Kema Sakuranomiya Park. I found the cherry trees here to still look relatively nice despite the heavy rain and gusty winds. However, there were still a fair number of petals on the ground and being ripped off trees in moments of wind fury. I expect the best viewing period to hold till tomorrow and possibly till Friday, but the weekend may see more sad petal-less branches than ones filled with sakura.
Moving on to the Osaka Mint Bureau which is located midway between the Kema Sakuranomiya Park and Osaka Castle. Opened to the public starting yesterday, the 560 meter long walkway at the mint is lined with 338 cherry trees of 134 varieties, and many of them are typically the later flowering types. Visitors can only enter from the south and exit in the north, and walking against the flow is not allowed. I found that most of the trees were at different stages of bloom, some in buds, others with about 20 percent of their blossoms open, and a handful at full bloom. Given the sunny weather forecast for the next few days, I expect the flowers to reach their best viewing by the coming weekend.
Note that this is a very popular cherry blossom viewing spot which saw a staggering 30,000 visitors on opening day yesterday. The number of visitors this weekend is expected to be around or exceed the numbers on Day 1, so be prepared for the crowds! The Osaka Mint Bureau sakura walkway will be open to the public till April 15, 2019 from 10:00 to 21:00 (from 9:00 over the weekend).
Osaka Castle was next, and I found the cherry trees here to be at a similar state to the ones at the Kema Sakuranomiya Park. I visited the paid Nishinomaru Garden, which will also be illuminated until April 14 from 18:00 to 21:00 (entry until 20:30), and found the sakura to be nearing the end of their best viewing. I thought that the cityfs representative cherry tree and the rest in the garden still had enough blossoms for an enjoyable hanami session if the weather been more agreeable, and expect the best viewing period to be over by the coming weekend.
Finally, it was a short train ride over to the Expo 70 Commemorative Park in the outskirts of the city. The cherry trees here had lost petals in the rain and wind, but still looked attractive overall. I expect the best viewing period here to continue for another day or two, and possibly till Saturday before it all goes south. There is a sakura festival until April 14, and the cherry trees in the eastern end of the park will be illuminated from 18:00 to 21:00 (entry until 20:30).