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Hirosaki: Full Bloom

Hirosaki's main keep surrounded by sakura at full bloom

The cherry blossom season is still going strong in northern Japan as cities in the northern half of the Tohoku Region are reaching full bloom this week. While the season has finished in southern and central Japan, the sakura are on spectacular display now in places like Kitakami, Kakunodate, and my destination for today, Hirosaki, located in Aomori Prefecture.

Today I visited Hirosaki Castle, Hirosaki's most famous attraction and one of Japan's most celebrated cherry blossom viewing spots.

In just two days since Andrew's last report here, the blossoms have already reached full bloom and were stunning today, even despite some mild dreary weather. The castle park is home to over 2500 cherry trees growing in almost every corner of the castle's spacious grounds, and today almost every sakura variety here was arguably at or near its best viewing.

With colder temperatures, rain and possibly some snow(!) forecast over the next two days, it's difficult to say how the petals will be affected. If wind and precipitation stay light (as current forecasts are showing), the blossoms will likely remain near their current conditions through the weekend and start losing their petals in full force early-mid next week, which creates an incredible sight as they coat the castle moats and walkways.

For those able to visit Hirosaki in the evening, the park will also be open late (from 18:30 to 22:00) from April 20 to May 6 with nightly flower illuminations.

The outer moat's Somei Yoshino blossoms were at full bloom (with just a few petals beginning to fall here and there)
Blossoms around the outer moat (note the leaves coming out at the same time--Tohoku sakura move fast!)
Walking through a sakura wonderland
Japan's thickest Somei Yoshino sakura tree is located here!
The castle's main keep, which was recently moved a few dozen meters to this location for construction projects that will last a few years (the museum inside displays videos of the actual moving process)
Not a bad backdrop for a castle
Blossoms everywhere
Truly one of Japan's most breathtaking places to enjoy sakura
Take a ride with me
Even the later-blooming weeping shidarezakura around the main keep were very near full bloom
Near full bloom weeping shidarezakura
The blossoms across the moat were still blooming and had maybe another several days till reaching their best viewing
Even as the inner moat walls are being reconstructed, the views aren't bad at all
Even the food stall areas are completely surrounded by blossoms
There are lots of performances to see throughout the blossom festival
A fantastic sakura tunnel at full bloom near the west moat
Fluffy sakura all around the west moat
A fun way to enjoy the sakura
Yep: full bloom here, too
You'd like it here