Continuing our cherry blossom reporting, I visited Matsuyama in Shikoku today. The city reported the opening of its first blossoms on March 27, and I observed that many of the cherry blossoms were still closed seven days after official announcement. However, the best viewing period is imminent as many of the blossoms look like they are ready to show themselves to the world. Given the warm temperatures forecast for the next few days, I predict the best viewing in Matsuyama to start by Friday and continue for another week or so.

Matt was in Tokyo yesterday, and reported that the blossoms were still mostly closed. However, he observed that many of the blossoms only needed 1-2 more days before they open. The best viewing in Tokyo is expected to start by the weekend. Since my last reports in Fukuoka on March 28 and Kumamoto on March 29, both cities are currently in their best viewing periods, which is expected to continue through until the end of this week. Additionally, the cherry blossoms in Nagasaki, Saga and Tsu are also at their best viewing.

The cherry blossom frontline has also reached the Tohoku Region with the opening of the first blossoms announced in Sendai, almost a week earlier compared to the average year.

Dogo Park

Blossoms Opening

I started my day in Matsuyama at Dogo Park, a pleasant park beside the famed Dogo Onsen. The park is also where the representative tree - the single tree whose blossoms are used to for reporting the official opening and full bloom dates - for Matsuyama is located. Today, I found the mainstream Somei Yoshino trees to be at an early state of opening, and 1-2 more days are required before the cherry trees reach their best viewing. Consequently, I predict the best viewing period at Dogo Park to start by Friday and continue for another week or so.

Until April 10, a sakura festival is held at Dogo Park. Festival food and drink stalls can be found in the park as well as the sports grounds behind the park. Dogo Park is illuminated from until 22:00 during the festival period.

Dogo Onsen Honkan, which was one of the inspirations for Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away, has been undergoing renovation works since January 15, 2019. During the renovation, only two of the baths on the first floor are open for use. From July 11, 2024, all the baths and rest areas in Dogo Onsen are scheduled to already reopen first, while the remaining renovation works are expected to be completed by December 2024.

Matsuyama Castle

Blossoms Opening

My next stop was Matsuyama Castle, one of Japan's twelve original castles which have survived the post-feudal period without being destroyed or torn down. The castle grounds is also a popular cherry blossom spot in Matsuyama. Today, I found the number of open blossoms to be relatively sparse, quite like Dogo Park where I was earlier. However, many of the blossoms look like they only need 1-2 more days before they open, and as such, I predict the best viewing period to start by Friday and continue for another week or so.

Until April 14, the cherry trees at the base of the main keep are illuminated from 18:00 to 21:00.