by Sean, staff writer of japan-guide.com
2012/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
It's that time of the year again! From today for about a month, the japan-guide team will be sweeping Japan from south to north, bringing you coverage of the cherry blossoms at famous locations across the nation. The cherry blossoms usually start flowering at Kyushu about a week before Honshu. We start off at Kagoshima, move upwards towards Kumamoto and Fukuoka over the next few days, before going further north to the Chugoku Region, the Kansai Region, the Kanto Region, the Tohoku Region, and finally Hokkaido around the first week of May. The cherry trees of Kagoshima started to flower on March 26, so we were expecting them to be between 50% and full bloom at this time.
April 02, 2012 - Full bloom
We arrived at Yoshino Park just a little after it opened its gates and were probably the first visitors for the day. The park offers a unique landscape with sub-tropical palm trees in the foreground and beautiful pink cherry blossom trees in the backdrop.
Moving closer towards the cherry trees, we noticed that there were those in full bloom (some even already had petals falling), and those which had only blossomed to about 60%. We asked the park attendant about the situation, and were told that full bloom (for the park in general) had been reached a couple of days ago; I guess in flowers, like in humans, there are late and early bloomers as well. The weather forecast predicts the next few days to be quite windy, which might decrease the longevity of the blossoms, but the current peak state should remain for a few more days at least.
April 02, 2012 - End of season
You might be wondering how it could be the end of season at Senganen, even though its location is not far away from Yoshino Park, which is currently at full bloom. Well that's because Senganen is better known for earlier blooming varieties of cherry trees. These cherry trees are way pass peak now and were green with leaves when we visited.
Senganen is therefore not the place to visit to catch Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms (the widely recognized mainstream variety because it is the most abundant in numbers and arguably the most beautiful). There were however still many tourists at the garden, because it is very beautiful just for the way it is. Only a few Somei Yoshino trees were spotted, and they were only about 10% to 50% in bloom.
Dinosaur Park at Sakurajima
April 02, 2012 - Opening (10-50%)
Our final stop of the day was at Dinosaur Park at Sakurajima. We took a ferry to cross the sea from downtown Kagoshima to the volcanic peninsula. Schauwecker spotted me scribbling on my notepad during the ride and asked: "Don't you find volcanoes amazing?" He was implying that I didn't seem interested in the natural wonder that was right before our eyes. Of course I was, and I was taking periodical time off my writing to awe at the greatness of it; it's just the other thing on my mind was to complete today's project before the steak dinner that everyone is very excited about.
There were lots of children enjoying themselves at Dinosaur Park. They, of course, paid more attention to the dinosaur-shaped slides and swings than to the cherry blossom trees. We strolled along the park and observed many cherry trees in their fairly early stages of blossoming. It would probably take another three to four days before the majority of the trees reach full bloom. Dinosaur Park is a great location for outdoor gatherings, because it offers ample space for picnics, a large playground for children, and, of course, fantastic views of the Sakurajima volcano.