One day on from my very enjoyable visit to Kakunodate, I today found myself in Hirosaki Castle Park, home to a reconstructed castle and the most famous cherry blossom viewing spot in Japan's northern Tohoku Region.

Spread across 600,000 square meters and spanning a series of moats as well as defensive earthworks, the park offers a number of different viewing areas with some variation in optimal viewing time. Today however, the whole park was at or close to peak viewing, with spectacular scenes throughout.

The park's annual cherry blossom festival - this year running from April 12 to May 5 - was also in full swing, with food stalls, music and other performances all adding to the fun. Blossoms will be illuminated after dark for the duration of the festival period, allowing hanami parties to continue until 10pm.

In the castle's outer defensive circles, the blossoms overall appeared to be already a couple of days into full bloom but still well within the window for best viewing. Rain is forecast for tomorrow, but as the buds still look quite robust I would expect them to weather this and continue to look their best at least through the weekend.

Making my way into the castle's inner circle, the area immediately surrounding the reconstructed keep was a particular treat, with a mix of the more typical Somei Yoshino cherry blossom trees and later blooming pink weeping blossom trees, both having just entered full bloom. Due to the slight difference in elevation, it is typical for these to bloom a day or two later than those in the outer circles and I would expect for them to keep their looks well into next week, although rain predicted for next Wednesday and Thursday may somewhat hasten the end of the season.

My last stop was along a narrow strip of land between outer and inner moats at the park's western edge, where blossoming trees to either side of the park had created a beautiful pink tunnel. Perhaps because of their closeness to water, I found the blossoms here to be at a similar stage to those around the keep.