Hanami 2014

The time is near!  Soon those barren, sad trees that have been collecting snow on their branches all winter will bloom, triggering one of Japan’s most recognizable springtime activities: Cherry blossom viewing.

What are your plans for this season?  Make sure you think ahead, because an unfortunate characteristic of hanami season (especially in Ishikawa) is its brevity.

When?

This year, it looks like the first bloom should come around April 5th, with the full bloom coming a few days later, around April 9th.  There are numerous hanami forecasting websites, including the one I just linked, so do a little bit of research to make the best prediction.

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 4.42.00 PM

A sakura forecast for 2014.

Where?

Sure, there are trees all over this fair country.  Why, on your way to work you probably pass by numerous cherry trees.  But where are the best places to get the full hanami experience of kicking back on a blanket, drinking a delicious chu-hai, and soaking in the springtime sunshine?  (Disclaimer: due to your residence in Ishikawa, your “sunshine” experience may vary.)  I asked a few JETs, both current and former, for their best picks for blossom viewing.  Here are some suggestions, with a map below:

“My favourite is Rojo Park in Komatsu! The park is absolutely filled with cherry blossom trees and there’s plenty of space to sit, drink, and barbecue all day (and night) long. There are also delicious festival food booths close-by, of course. Lanterns are strewn throughout the tress, and as the sun sets the park is lit up with soft, pink light. Rojo Park is rather beautiful in general – with small waterfalls and scenic bridges – but in the spring, it becomes a sea of pink.”  -Danielle

“Kenrokuen obviously but also along both rivers in KZ (Asanogawa and Saigawa). Sakuragaoka high school also has that name for I reason I suppose.” -Ida

“Saigawa.” -Hantz

“The obvious would be the Saigawa between the blue bridge and I believe it’s the Sakura bridge? Basically anything east of Katamachi.  The sakura trees along Hyakumangoku road are quite nice.”  -Mauricio

“Up behind Kanazawa, there’s a few groves in the ‘400-Year Forest’ (四百年の森) that were great, especially later in the season because of the higher elevation and since they were shielded from the wind.”  -Daniel

“I know it is awkward asking people to go up there – but the Education center is stunning. There is even a little 10 minute hike you can do to the look out.  Komaruyama park and Sakura Station in the Noto/Nanao region are supposed to be beautiful too.” -Melissa

“My favorite place is, of course, along the banks of the Saigawa; but if you’re looking for a place a bit less traveled to, check out the shidare sakura (http://kimassi.net/hana/kitasakura.html) in Kahoku.”  -Joanna

For a map of these locations, just click here!

Now hopefully you’re ready to go stake out a spot and enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms in a few weeks.  Have fun, everyone!  

If you have any suggestions for other great hanami areas in Ishikawa, post them in the comments section below.

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