With this year's season now largely at an end in Kansai and Kanto, I today followed the cherry blossom front line north into Japan's Tohoku Region where things are still close to full swing, or in some cities just getting started. Following on from Raina's report from the Fuji Five Lakes on Saturday, my first visit of the week was to Aizu-Wakamatsu in Fukushima Prefecture, where the blossom was on the whole just slightly past peak viewing.

My focus today was on Tsuruga Castle - a reconstructed castle set within fairly expansive grounds that once formed several defensive circles and today include a large number of cherry blossom trees, clustered together in a grove at the foot of the reconstructed keep and in rows along former defensive walls and moats.

My first stop was at the cherry blossom grove close to the center of the grounds. Here, the blossoms were looking just slightly past their best - while still attractive overall, a closer look at individual branches soon revealed a lot of flowers that had entirely given up their petals, a thick dusting of which lay underfoot. With this in mind, I would expect the blossoms here to be enjoyable for just a few more days.

Over on the opposite side of the keep, a few more trees belonging to the most typical Somei Yoshino variety were generally at the same stage, while a couple of later blooming trees overhanging the walls enclosing the Rinkaku Teahouse Garden were still at their peak.

Crossing over the moat on the eastern side of the castle grounds, I found several rows of trees looking a day or two behind those inside and still at or close to their peak. While there seemed to be less petals on the ground here, I did notice that even a slight breeze was enough to sprinkle them on the ground, making me think that just a few days remain to get a good viewing experience.