Following on from yesterday's report from Aizu-Wakamatsu, I today visited the historic town of Kakunodate, located some 270 kilometers to the north in Akita Prefecture.

Despite being just slightly too late to get the best experience from the weeping cherry blossom trees lining the streets of the old Samurai District, I was right on time to enjoy the typical Somei Yoshino variety in full bloom, both here and lining the banks of the nearby Hinokinai River.

Samurai District

Petals Starting To Fall

My first stop was in the Samurai District, where samurai families competed during the Edo Period (1603-1868) to cultivate the most beautiful weeping cherry blossom trees imported from Kyoto. Although still an attractive complement to the surrounding streets and walled compounds, these earlier blooming trees were already a day or two past their peak, with branches looking quite sparse and already very leafy.

While the best had already come and gone for the weeping blossom trees, it was a very different picture for the Somei Yoshino variety I found dotted here and there throughout this part of the town. With branches heavy with full, fresh looking blossoms and only a few petals to be seen underfoot, these trees were clearly right in the middle of peak viewing.

Hinokinai Riverbank

Full Bloom

The real stars of the show however were the several hundred Somei Yoshino trees planted along the banks of the Hinokinai River, another popular cherry blossom viewing spot located just a few steps from the samurai district. Due to higher than usual temperatures in the preceding few days, these had only just exploded into full bloom, creating gorgeous scenes despite the overcast weather.

For these trees and their still blooming counterparts in the town, I would expect the blossom to remain at its peak through the weekend, however with rain forecast for Sunday and Monday, it may not last long afterwards.