The northernmost prefecture in Japan’s main island Honshu, Aomori in Tohoku Region is a destination worth seeking out if you’re one to enjoy the beauty of nature. Its magnificent nature scapes include the Hakkoda Mountains, Mutsu Bay, and Lake Towada. It has stunning views to offer all year long, but of course, springtime has to be extra special because of cherry blossoms (sakura). Due to its colder climates, the blooming season is from late April to early May. As for the best spots, here are the 10 best places in Aomori for the prettiest sakura views:
The world’s longest cherry tree-lined road
Just how long is the world’s longest cherry tree-lined road? A jaw-dropping 20km-stretch!
This road is lined with 6,500 Oyamazakura cherry trees, and on top of this, it has the majestic view of Mt. Iwaki in the background. This picturesque mountain is Aomori’s highest peak and is oft compared to Mt. Fuji. Hence, you can combine cherry blossoms viewing with a scenic road trip of the Iwaki Skyline. It leads to Mt. Iwaki’s 8th station, and from here, you can also ride a lift to reach higher parts of the mountain.
Address: Hyakuzawa, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori Prefecture
Hirosaki Castle Park is one of the best places for sakura viewing not just in Aomori but in all of Japan. There are around 2,600 cherry trees of over 50 varieties planted all around the castle grounds. It boasts of a sakura tunnel, a romantic castle view surrounded by cherry blooms, and its most popular attraction – a moat turned pink with sakura petals. Additionally, visitors can rent paddle boats or stay until night time to enjoy illuminated views.
Address: 1 Shimoshirogane-cho, Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture
Price: Free (from November 24 – March 31); Rest of the year – ¥310 (Adult), ¥100 (Child)
Towada City Spring Festival
Aomori is a prefecture bursting with natural beauty that even its urban enclaves are picturesque. Case in point, Kanchogai-dori of Towada City – the center of cherry blossom celebrations during the Towada City Spring Festival. Also known as Komakaido, this city road is among the “Top 100 Japanese Roads” for the cherry trees and pine trees that line it. During the blooming season, the concrete turns pink with fallen petals while the trees also maintain its pink canopy. Nearby, the Chuo Park and Sakura Plaza are also used as venues during the festival proper. There are special events held like Sakura Yabusame (traditional horseback archery), and of course, Yatai food stalls are set up to add to the enjoyment of hanami (sakura viewing) gatherings.
Address: Nishijunibancho, Towada, Aomori Prefecture
Ashino Park is a massive 80-hectare nature reserve that is home to Lake Ashinoko and over 3,000 trees – of which, around 2,200 are cherry trees. Not surprisingly, it is considered as one of Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots and is ideal for visitors who like nature a lot and appreciate sprawling green spaces. You can enjoy nature walks around the premises or go for a boat ride on the lake.
Address: Ashino 84-171 Kanagicho, Goshogawara-shi, Aomori Prefecture
Website: http://www.aomorishokoren.or.jp/shokokai/kanagi/cat482/ (Japanese only)
Tsugaru Fujimi Lake Park
Otherwise known as Mawarizeki Otameike, Tsugaru Fujimi Lake is Aomori’s largest water reservoir. The lake is nicknamed as such because it is set against the backdrop of Mt. Iwaki, a mountain that is commonly likened to Mt. Fuji, and the park surrounding it is a vast area teeming with nature where around 2,000 cherry trees are planted. During Japan’s Golden Week holiday (usually starting around the end of April or early May), the park hosts a Cherry Blossoms Festival. On top of soaking in the beauty of the area’s sakura views, numerous activities are lined up for park goers during this time. Events include a fishing tournament, a marathon race, a karaoke competition, and various cultural performances prepared by Tsuruta’s locals themselves.
Address: Osawa 81-150 Mawarizeki, Tsuruta, Kitatsugaru, Aomori Prefecture
The prefecture’s capital, Aomori City, is not without its representative sakura viewing spot on the list. Gappo Park is a beautiful bayside park with around 670 cherry trees. It hosts a spring festival during the blooming period, in which time, stalls are set-up in a designated section of the park for the enjoyment of visitors.
Address: 2 Chome-17-50 Gappo, Aomori-shi, Aomori Prefecture
Hachinohe Kitakyuryo Shimoda Park
Shimoda Park is another massive green space to have a date with nature. It is a popular sakura viewing spot for the approximately 800 cherry trees planted in its grounds. It is perfect for walks and also for families with kids as there are many areas to run and play around.
Address: Mukaiyama, Oirase-cho, Kamikita-gun, Aomori Prefecture
Website: http://www.town.oirase.aomori.jp/ (Japanese only)
Sannohe Castle Site
A castle on the hill that was home to the famed Nanbu clan of Aomori, Sannohe Castle Site is a must-see destination for those who want to combine cherry blossom viewing with a history lesson. Aside from the reconstructed castle, there are several monuments, structures, and museums that will tickle the fancy of any history lover.
Address: Shironoshita-34, Umenai, Sannohe-machi, Sannohe-gun, Aomori Prefecture
Price: ¥210 (Adult), ¥110 (College and High School Students, ¥60 (Elementary and Junior High Students)
If you can’t get enough of nature and adventure, Hachinohe Park is definitely for you. It is a 37-hectare property divided into 9 zones, which includes a botanical garden, an amusement park with roller coasters and other fun rides, and a mini zoo. As far as sakura views are concerned, there’s no shortage of it as it is home to at least 2,000 cherry trees that turn the park into a haven of pink come spring. Hence, it is one of the most sought out sakura spots in the prefecture.
Address: Tenma-33-2 Tokaichi, Hachinohe-shi, Aomori Prefecture
Higashi Park in Kuroishi City is a nice alternative if you want a more low-key cherry blossom viewing experience with a very local feel. With about 650 cherry trees of 52 varieties, it is the most popular in the city. It is likewise the venue for the city’s Cherry Blossoms Festival, and as with other sakura events, the program is filled with entertainment and activities for locals and tourists to enjoy.
Address: 2-Chome Sakunoki, Kuroishi-shi, Aomori Prefecture
All price information in this article is as of June 2017.
Thumbnail image is from Flickr.