Staff Reports
Sean's Japan Travel Journal
by Sean, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2012/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka

For those who would like to know some Japanese terminology in relation to cherry blossoms in Japan, "kaika (J)" is the instance when the representational cherry tree of a particular city has its first open buds; "mankai (J)" is the Japanese term for "full bloom". Kaika at the city of Osaka was on Apr 2 this year. In the afternoon I would be checking out its representational tree at Osaka Castle to see how much its cherry blossoms have progressed since it started flowering.

According to the weather forecast yesterday, temperatures in the Kansai Region will be somewhat higher from tomorrow onwards. Coupled with expected fairly mild winds, the cherry blossoms in this region should be having a period of suitable conditions for them to mature.

Expo 70 Commemorative Park
April 7, 2012 - opening (10-50%)

77 countries participated in the World Exposition held here in 1970. These days, this huge park is maintained with many gardens, ponds, pavilions, recreational facilities, and of course, not to be missed is the famous landmark of the Tower of the Sun.

As a cherry blossom spot, the Expo 70 Commemorative Park is brilliant, with its over 5000 cherry trees. When I visited, I found the states of the cherry trees here strikingly uniform; didn't notice any odd show-off tree with branches more dense than others. Although yet to reach the halfway mark, with relatively warmer weather expected from tomorrow onwards, all the blossoms may very well decide to burst open together, making mankai possible in the next two or three days.

The cherry blossom festival here will be held from 9:30 to 21:00 every day till April 15. There are many festival food stalls, temporary playgrounds for children, as well as a ceramic fair where you can buy ceramic items from makers around Japan. Night illuminations are from 18:00 to 21:00 during this period.

Expo 70 Commemorative Park
Many buds look ready to open
Festival food stalls
Tower of the Sun
Hanami (cherry blossom watching) parties going on

Osaka Castle
April 7, 2012 - Approaching full bloom (50 -80%)

I managed to find the representational tree after some effort and directions from a park attendant. Well, firstly the sign wasn't as big as I expected it to be, and secondly the whole area was packed with people having their hanami parties, such that I didn't even have the chance to get close to it. For those who are interested to see it, it is located in the Nishinomaru Garden within the castle grounds, which is one of the best spots to see cherry blossoms here.

The cherry trees at Osaka Castle were in a more advanced stage compared to those at the Expo 70 Commemorative Park. Many of the lower branches of the trees were already pretty full. It's the upper branches that need perhaps more time. I will stick my head out and say that mankai will be reached tomorrow! Ok, I will make my statement safer by saying that that's by 23:59 tomorrow.

The main keep is having extended opening hours during this spring season (9:00 to 19:00 until tomorrow, 9:00 to 18:00 from April 28 to May 6). Till April 11, you would be able to catch night illuminations until 20:00 every evening (entry into the castle grounds end at 19:30).

The tree in the middle with a small white sign is the representational tree
State of blossoms
Tourists having fun
Main keep

Kema Sakuranomiya Park
April 7, 2012 - Approaching full bloom (50-80%)

This one is harder to call, because of the sheer number of cherry trees lining up both sides of Okawa River, from Sakuranomiya Station all the way to Tenmabashi Station (not to mention I didn't cover the river north of Sakuranomiya Station). I saw trees which were approaching mankai and some trees which were just about at the 20% mark. However, looking at the general situation, I think it's fair to expect that mankai would be reached either tomorrow or on Monday.

The range of early bloomers and late bloomers may actually be a good thing because it prolongs the season in which cherry blossom viewing would be great here. There was a great atmosphere along the river, with tour boats drifting upstream and downstream, visitors having a leisurely stroll, buskers performing nice music, children running around, and festival food stall owners calling out to attract customers.

The three locations which I have visited today are truly splendid places to see cherry blossoms. Views should be very pleasant till at least next weekend; you might like to visit too, if you are in Osaka or the Kansai Region during this period.

Cherry trees line Okawa River
Close up of some cherry blossoms
Buskers performing
Festival held here too

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List of Posts:
2014/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2014/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumae
2014/04/23 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takato
2014/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2014/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hikone
2014/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsuyama
2014/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2014/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2014/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/03/06 - Shopping around Northern Osaka
2014/01/23 - Nikko in Winter

2013/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2013
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Mount Fuji Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/09/27 - Alpine Route Report
2013/09/13 - Nakanojo Biennale 2013
2013/08/07 - Exploring Tokyo 2: Around the Tokyo Imperial Palace
2013/05/20 - Tottori Sand Museum 2013
2013/05/07 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2013/05/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2013/05/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2013/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2013/04/23 - Northern Kanto Flower Report
2013/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takayama
2013/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumoto
2013/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2013/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2013/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Gunma
2013/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/31 - Visiting Shodoshima for the Setouchi Triennale 2013
2013/03/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/27 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2013/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/12 - Tokyo Early Cherry Blossom Report
2013/02/17 - Tokamachi Snow Festival
2013/02/16 - Zao Snow Monster Report
2013/02/15 - Yokote Kamakura Festival
2013/01/10 - Winter Visit to Manza Onsen
2013/01/02 - Tokyo New Year Report

2012/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2012
2012/12/11 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2012/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Takaosan
2012/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/15 - Autumn Color Report: Shosenkyo
2012/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2012/11/06 - Autumn Color Report: Naruko
2012/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Hiraizumi
2012/11/01 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2012/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Minakami
2012/10/24 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/16 - Autumn Color Report: Norikura
2012/10/12 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2012/10/09 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2012/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kurodake
2012/09/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kogen Onsen
2012/09/26 - Autumn Color Report: Asahidake
2012/09/17 - Exploring Tokyo: Gate Bridge
2012/08/20 - Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2012
2012/06/27 - Hiking at Mount Azuma
2012/06/18 - Legoland Discovery Center opens in Odaiba
2012/06/18 - Hydrangea Flowers in Kamakura
2012/06/04 - Tokyo Skytree
2012/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2012/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2012/05/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiraizumi
2012/04/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2012/04/24 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukushima
2012/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2012/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiroshima
2012/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2012/04/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2012/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2012/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2012/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2012/03/08 - Plum Blossom Report from Kairakuen, Mito
2012/03/07 - Trip to Iwaki, Fukushima
2012/02/21 - Plum Blossom Report from Tokyo
2012/01/30 - Skiing in Inawashiro, Fukushima
2012/01/27 - Kusatsu Hot Springs