Hanamiyama (花見山) is a park on the slopes surrounding a rural farming neighborhood just outside central Fukushima. Originally started by local farmers who planted ornamental plants and flowering trees on the hillsides around their land, the park was opened to the public in 1959 and has grown to be the city's top cherry blossom spot. Every year thousands of visitors flock to the area to admire its cherry blossoms.
The peak of the spring flowering season at Hanamiyama usually takes place from mid to late April, when the ubiquitous Somei Yoshino cherry trees open around the valley and can be enjoyed in combination with beautiful views of the Azuma Mountains off in the distance. Several other cherry varieties and flowering trees and bushes are also planted in large numbers around the slopes and provide visitors with a wide range of spring colors.
A visitor center is set up at the entrance to the park during the cherry blossom season. Most people will arrive there by shuttle bus from Fukushima Station or one of multiple nearby parking lots. From the visitor center, it is a pleasant walk along flower lined walking paths to the main cherry blossom covered slopes to the south. Several suggested walking courses of various lengths are laid out along the main slope; the longer ones lead to a viewpoint at the top from where you can look out over Fukushima and the Azuma Mountains.
There are several other walking routes and viewpoints around the neighborhood. A second area with cherry trees is being developed on the northern slopes, opposite Hanamiyama's main slope. This part of the park is newer and less crowded than the other slope, and includes trails that lead pretty high up the hills. A viewpoint at the top provides nice panoramas of the surrounding valley.
Shuttle buses run between Fukushima Station and Hanamiyama during the cherry blossom season (early to late April). The one way trip takes 15 minutes and costs 250 yen. Shuttle buses depart every 15-30 minutes from bus stop #6 on the east side of Fukushima Station. Alternatively, Hanamiyama can be reached from the station in about one hour on foot or in a 15 minute taxi ride (1500 yen one way).