Hirosaki Castle in Aomori Prefecture
Cherry blossom season is legendary for good reason—even I have to admit that the pinkness in all its glory WILL take your breath away—but the downside of that is that everybody in the world knows it too. From the middle of March to the middle of April, everything becomes much more crowded and much more expensive. And if you don’t guess the dates right—peak bloom can happen as much as ten days either side of the dates tradition suggests—you’re out of luck. But locals know how to avoid all that. Wait until the season is long gone in Tokyo and Kyoto, and go north!
If you travel to the small town of Hirosaki, in the very northiest part of Japan, you can experience cherry blossom season the way you always imagined it.
Just to show you why you can see cherry blossoms in all their glory so long after they peak in Tokyo and Kyoto…
The lesson being, if you do try to catch cherry blossom season in Kyoto or Tokyo and it comes too early for you to see it, you only have to travel north or to a higher elevation to catch up with it again. This website gives peak season predictions for all parts of Japan, and if you’re willing to be flexible in your pursuit of the pinkness, you won’t be disappointed.
Here’s where Hirosaki is:
Here’s how to get to Hirosaki from Tokyo:
Once you get there, it’s not a huge place and it’s easy to find the castle. Admission is free, and it’s lit up at night during the season until 21:00. More information about when cherry blossom season will reach its peak in each part of Japan is here.
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Jonelle Patrick writes mystery novels set in Tokyo, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had