Let’s hike through the cherry blossom forest!

Hanamiyama Park in Fukushima

Let’s escape the elbowing cameramen, blossom-hogging selfie-snappers and crowded parks of Tokyo and head up to Tohoku, where kilometers upon kilometers of wild cherry blossoms line the hiking trails at Hanamiyama. “Cherry Blossom Mountain” is a vast private park planted with so many flowering trees that every vista is painted in a patchwork of pink.

Hanamiyama Park in bloom during cherry blossom season

Even though it feels like you’re far out in the countryside while you’re hiking, Hanamiyama Park is actually just a short bus ride from Fukushima Station (about an hour and half from Tokyo via bullet train).

Hanamiyama Park in bloom during cherry blossom season

Because it’s farther north and further inland than Tokyo, spring comes later and is compressed into a shorter time period. These photos were taken in mid-April, long after the Tokyo cherry blossoms were finished.

Hanamiyama Park in bloom during cherry blossom season

The plum trees, cherry blossoms, peach trees, forsythia and fields of yellow nanohana all bloom all at once, creating an overlapping extravaganza of color you won’t see in coastal cities like Tokyo and Kyoto, where the seasons stretch out longer.

Hanamiyama Park in bloom during cherry blossom season

Every bend in the trail delivers new delights, and the park is so big, you can hike there for hours.

Hanamiyama Park in bloom during cherry blossom season

From the entrance, a nicely accessible walking path meanders along a watercourse, but as you climb into the hillier parts of the park, the paths become more like hiking trails.

Hanamiyama Park in bloom during cherry blossom season

Here’s where Hanamiyama Park is:

Map showing Hanamiyama Park

And here’s a closer look to show where it is, right outside Fukushima city:

Map showing Hanamiyama Park

How to get to Hanamiyama Park from Tokyo:

Route to Hanamiyama Park

Once you get off the bullet train at Fukushima Station, find the bus lot outside the station and catch the bus that goes directly to Hanamiyama Park. It takes about 15 minutes.

I used the Japan Navigation phone app to figure out this route, and you can easily use it too, with your actual date and preferred arrival time. It’s also good for finding the easiest way to get to Tokyo Station from where you’re staying. Here’s where to get the app and how to use it.

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Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly Japanagram newsletter, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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