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

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2014/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino

Bus ferries passengers up to Naka Senbon

The year's cherry blossom season gradually shifts north and the cherry trees are beginning to bear flowers in the Tohoku Region. In Tokyo, the sakura had reached their peak on March 30, and by now I believe the main season is nearing its end, making way for late blooming varieties of cherry blossoms to take center stage. Raina is in Tokyo today to give us a first-hand account of the situation there.

In the Kansai Region, the cherry blossom season is similarly at a late stage. Those who have arrived or will be arriving too late and cannot afford the time to travel further north can travel further up instead. In "up", I mean up mountains where the difference in altitude contributes to temperature differences, and therefore later blooming cherry trees.

But not just any mountain. Enter into the picture Yoshinoyama in Nara Prefecture, arguably the most famous cherry blossom spot not only in the Kansai Region but in all of Japan. And justifiably so, because over 30,000 cherry trees, mostly of the yamazakura variety, decorate the slopes of the mountain with pink and white each spring.

Even at Yoshinoyama itself, cherry trees flower at different times due to differences in altitude, and so the trees are collectively named in groups: Shimo Senbon (the lower 1000 trees), Naka Senbon (the middle 1000 trees) and Kami Senbon (the upper 1000 trees). There is also the Oku Senbon (the inner 1000 trees) which has by far the fewest cherry trees and offers no views of slopes covered by them, but for those who arrive really late, say in the second half of April this year, you might want to go as far as here for hanami (cherry blossom viewing).

At the time of my visit this morning, the best cherry blossom views at Yoshinoyama were at Naka Senbon and the upper sections of Shimo Senbon. The colors will gradually move up the mountain, providing a long cherry blossom season that stretches into late April, and possibly early May this year. By the way, don't pull your hair out trying to figure out how 4 times 1000 can be equal to 30,000, it's just a figurative way of naming the trees.

Shimo Senbon
April 10, 2014 - petals starting to fall

It was somewhat difficult to make a call here, because the upper sections of Shimo Senbon still had cherry trees at their peak, but at the lower sections I noticed a significant number of trees that were shedding petals profusely with each gust of wind. Overall, good views of cherry blossoms can still be observed, and I think it will remain so for another two to three days.

Shimo Senbon
Ropeway decorated with sakura prints
A petal falls
Shopping street between Shimo Senbon and Naka Senbon
Cherry blossom-related items on sale
Nice resting place

Naka Senbon
April 10, 2014 - full bloom

The Naka Senbon area is where the majority of Yoshino's accommodations, shops and restaurants can be found. There are also several temples and shrines here, including the historically important Yoshimizu Shrine, from where the famous "Ichimoku Senbon" ("thousand cherry trees with one look") view can be seen.

I found the views here to be great today. There was the occasional late bloomer, as well as some trees that were already shedding petals, but overall I think colors are close to their best with many cherry trees having saturated-looking branches.

Park in the Naka Senbon area
Close up of some cherry blossoms
End of season for the weeping cherry tree that Emperor Tenmu dreamt about (Sakuramotobo Temple)
Some Yaebeni-weeping cherries were in full bloom
Garden at Chikurin-in Temple
Fallen petals of a weeping cherry tree on the roof of a stone lantern
Ichimoku Senbon
Some cherry blossoms in full bloom
Ichimoku Senbon 2
Some cherry blossoms in full bloom 2
Preparing for a ritual at Kinpusenji Temple
Kinpusenji's pagoda

Kami Senbon
April 10, 2014 - approaching full bloom (50-80%)

The cherry trees around the Kami Senbon area were around the halfway mark, with some trees looking full already while others still seemed bare. Best views will probably reach here sometime over the weekend.

At Kami Senbon
Visitors taking a break whilst enjoying the scenery
Looking down from Kami Senbon
State of cherry blossoms
Nyorinji Temple seen from afar
Sakura cake for lunch

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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