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Visit Tohoku to See Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom with This Great Deal on a Pass!

If you’re visiting Japan in the spring, you can’t miss the cherry blossoms, or “sakura.” This article will introduce the cherry blossoms of northern Tohoku, which bloom a bit later than those in Tokyo. Tohoku’s cherry blossoms are in bloom from around mid-April through early May. Enjoy the uniquely beautiful scenery that you can only find while cherry blossoms are in bloom with Tohoku’s unique nature and historic buildings as the backdrop. Additionally, we will also introduce a convenient and great-value travel path that will make your trip easy!

※Information on the convenient and great-value pass that can make travelling to these spots easy will be introduced at the end of the article, so be sure to take a look.

See the beautiful cherry blossoms in Tohoku! (Image: Hirosaki Park)
See the beautiful cherry blossoms in Tohoku! (Image: Hirosaki Park)

3 Cherry Blossom Spots in Tohoku

(1) Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture: Hirosaki Park

Hirosaki Park in Aomori Prefecture’s Hirosaki City is home to Japan’s oldest Yoshino cherry tree. The park features around 52 different varieties and 2,600 total cherry trees. Over 300 of the Yoshino cherry trees in the park are over 100 years old, and since these trees have branches that extend far to the sides and grow larger flowers, they create an incredible cherry blossom viewing experience.
The view of Hirosaki Castle framed by cherry blossoms is another beautiful sight. Incidentally, as the castle tower’s stone wall is undergoing restoration, the tower has been moved about 70 meters with plans to be returned to its original location in 2021. As such, the unique current view is extremely popular.

Hirosaki Castle and cherry blossoms (during stone wall restoration)
Hirosaki Castle and cherry blossoms (during stone wall restoration)

The castle is also lit up at night, and not only are the cherry blossoms themselves beautiful, but you can also see their lovely reflection in the water of the canal.

The illuminated cherry blossoms at night make a fantastic view
The illuminated cherry blossoms at night make a fantastic view
A heart-shaped gap in the cherry blossoms! Try finding this secret spot for yourself.
A heart-shaped gap in the cherry blossoms! Try finding this secret spot for yourself.

The “flower rafts” formed when scattered cherry blossom petals flutter into the outer moat and float on the surface are another must-see!

One side of the moat covered in pale pink “flower rafts”
One side of the moat covered in pale pink “flower rafts”
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Basic Information on Hirosaki Park

Address
1 Shimoshirogane-cho, Hirosaki City, Aomori[MAP]
Access from Tokyo
①Take the Shinkansen from “Tokyo Station” to “Shin-Aomori Station” (Travel time: About 3 hours)
②Take the train from “Shin-Aomori Station” to “Hirosaki Station” (Travel time: About 40 minutes)
➂Walk about 20 minutes from “Hirosaki Station.” Alternatively, take a bus from Hirosaki Station for about 10 minutes and get off at the “Shiyakusho-mae” stop.
Phone
0172-35-3131 (Hirosaki Tourism Convention Association)
Cherry Blossom Viewing Season
Late April through early May
URL(English)
www.hirosakipark.jp/en

(2) Kakunodate-machi, Semboku City, Akita Prefecture: Bukeyashiki-dori

Kakunodate-machi in Akita Prefecture’s Semboku City is home to Bukeyashiki-dori, a preserved historic street lined with samurai residences. The area, also called “Little Kyoto of Michinoku,” is like traveling back through time to old Japan. Around 400 weeping cherry trees line Bukeyashiki-dori, and the view of the pale pink cherry blossoms against the black board fences is absolutely striking. This is the perfect place for casual and mature cherry blossom viewings.
The area is also illuminated at night, adding to the atmosphere.

Illuminated weeping cherry trees
Illuminated weeping cherry trees

If you take advantage of the available rickshaw rides, you can enjoy seeing the area from a more historic and nostalgic perspective.
Ride Boarding: In front of Kaba Craft Densho-kan (Near 10 Omote-machi Shimo-cho, Kakunodate-machi, Semboku City, Akita Prefecture)

Ride a rickshaw around town
Ride a rickshaw around town

The Hinokinai River, located near Bukeyashiki-dori, is another famous cherry blossom viewing location. Yoshino cherry trees in bloom line about 2 kilometers of the gently flowing Hinokinai River.

Beautiful view from Hinokinai River of snowy mountains and rows of cherry trees
Beautiful view from Hinokinai River of snowy mountains and rows of cherry trees
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Basic Information on Bukeyashiki-dori

Address
Kakunodate-machi, Semboku City, Akita[MAP]
Access from Tokyo
①Take the Shinkansen from “Tokyo Station” to “Kakunodate Station” (Travel time: About 3 hours)
②Walk about 15 minutes from “Kakunodate Station”
Phone
0187-54-2700 (Semboku City Tourist Information Center)
Cherry Blossom Viewing Season
Late April through early May
WEB
URL(English)

(3) Kitakami City, Iwate Prefecture: Kitakami Tenshochi

In Kitakami Tenshochi Park you will find rows of Yoshino cherry trees around 100 years old lining a 2 kilometer stretch of Kitakami River, creating a beautiful cherry blossom tunnel. Within the 293-hectare park there are around 10,000 cherry trees across around 150 different varieties, so whether you see the Yoshino cherry trees blooming in mid-April or the Korean hill cherry trees blooming in late May, there is always a variety in bloom during those months. Around 300 carp-shaped streamers fill the sky around Kitakami River during the cherry blossom festival, and there are also sightseeing carriages and pleasure boats available for guests as well.

Cherry blossom tunnel in full bloom
Cherry blossom tunnel in full bloom

You can even enjoy the combination of both carp streamers and iconic Japanese cherry blossoms together at the same time.

Carp streamers swimming in the sky above Kitakami River
Carp streamers swimming in the sky above Kitakami River

The overlooking view of the cherry blossoms from the top of Jingaoka is beautiful.

Cherry trees seen from Jingaoka
Cherry trees seen from Jingaoka
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Basic Information on Kitakami Tenshochi Park

Address
Tachibana, Kitakami City, Iwate[MAP]
Access from Tokyo
①Take the Shinkansen from “Tokyo Station” to “Kitakami Station” (Travel time: About 3 hours)
②Walk about 15 minutes from “Kitakami Station”
Phone
0197-65-0300 (General Kitakami Tourism Convention Association)
Cherry Blossom Viewing Season
Mid-April through early May
WEB
URL(Japanese)

3 Types of Convenient and Great-Value Passes

Here we will introduce 3 convenient and great-value passes that can help you reach the locations we showed in this article. The passes cover a wide area of access, so you can even add on extra stops to your trip!

Details of the JR EAST PASS (Tohoku Area)

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Details of the JR EAST PASS (Tohoku Area)

Period of Use
Usable year-round
Period of Validity
Any 5 days out of the 14-day period after the date of issue (flexible 5-day pass)
*Date of issue refers to the pick-up date for passes purchased outside of Japan and the date of purchase for passes purchased in Japan.
Prices
1) Within Japan: ¥20,000 per adult and ¥10,000 per child.
2) Outside Japan: ¥19,000 per adult and ¥9,500 per child.
*Adults include everyone age 12 and over, children includes those 6-11 years old.
Valid For
Unlimited travel within the designated areas in reserved seats on ordinary cars of limited express (including Shinkansen), express, and local trains operated by the East Japan Railway Company. In addition, it may be used on scheduled bus routes on JR Bus Tohoku and JR Bus Kanto within the JR Bus Free Area (excluding highway express buses and some scheduled bus routes).
Conditions of Purchase and Use
The JR EAST PASS is available for purchase by holders of non-Japanese passports with “temporary visitor” visa status who plan to stay in Japan for no longer than 90 days.
*Passport must be presented at the time of purchase for confirmation.
Purchase Methods
1) Within Japan: At ticket sales counters inside Japan.
2) Outside Japan: After purchasing an exchange order (e-ticket) at an overseas travel agency, show your exchange order to receive your ticket at an exchange counter in Japan.
WEB
URL(English)

Details of the JR Tohoku-South Hokkaido Rail Pass

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JR Tohoku-South Hokkaido Rail Pass

Period of Use
February 1, 2018 - September 30, 2019 (planned)
Period of Validity
Any 5 days out of the 14-day period after the date of issue (flexible 5-day pass)
*Date of issue refers to the pick-up date for passes purchased outside of Japan and the date of purchase for passes bought in Japan.
Prices
1) Within Japan: ¥20,000 per adult and ¥10,000 per child.
2) Outside Japan: ¥19,000 per adult and ¥9,500 per child.
*Adults include everyone age 12 and over, children includes those 6-11 years old.
Valid For
Unlimited travel within the designated areas in reserved seats on limited express (including Shinkansen), express, rapid, and local trains on the JR Hokkaido Lines, JR East Lines (including BRT), all Aoimori Railway Lines, all Iwate Galaxy Railway (IGR) Lines, and all Sendai Airport Transit Lines.
Conditions of Purchase and Use
The JR Tohoku-South Hokkaido Rail Pass is available for purchase by holders of non-Japanese passports with “temporary visitor” visa status who plan to stay in Japan for no longer than 90 days.
*Passport must be presented at the time of purchase for confirmation.
Purchase Methods
1) Within Japan: At ticket sales counters inside Japan
2) Outside Japan: After purchasing an exchange order at overseas travel agencies, show your exchange order to receive tickets at exchange counters inside Japan
WEB
URL(English)

Details of the JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass

OPEN

JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass

Period of Use
Usable year-round
Period of Validity
Any 6 days out of the 14-day period after the date of issue (flexible 6-day pass)
*Date of issue refers to the pick-up date for passes purchased outside of Japan and the date of purchase for passes bought in Japan.
Prices
1) Within Japan: ¥27,000 per adult and ¥13,500 per child.
2) Outside Japan: ¥26,000 per adult and ¥13,000 per child.
*Adults include everyone age 12 and over, children includes those 6-11 years old.
Valid For
Unlimited travel within the designated areas in reserved seats on limited express, express, rapid, and local trains on the JR Hokkaido Lines, JR East Lines (including BRT), all Izu Kyuko Lines, all Tokyo Monorail Lines, all Aoimori Railway Lines, all Iwate Galaxy Railway (IGR) Lines, and all Sendai Airport Transport Lines (including Shinkansen). Additionally, this pass can be used for unlimited travel in regular reserved seats on JR and Tobu Railway limited express trains “Nikko,” “SPACIA Nikko,” “Kinugawa,” and “SPACIA Kinugawa.” ※Not usable on Donan Isabiri Tetsudo Lines.
Conditions of Purchase and Use
The JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass is available for purchase by holders of non-Japanese passports with “temporary visitor” visa status who plan to stay in Japan for no longer than 90 days.
*Passport must be presented at the time of purchase for confirmation.
Purchase Methods
1) Within Japan: At ticket sales counters inside Japan
2) Outside Japan: After purchasing an exchange order at overseas travel agencies, show your exchange order to receive tickets at exchange counters inside Japan
WEB
URL(English)