The iconic Cherry Blossoms are what bring millions of tourists to Japan every year. March and April are peak times to visit Japan as many international and local tourists flock to Tokyo and Kyoto to witness the beautiful and pure moment of Sakura [Japanese: a flowering cherry tree]. Like many other tourists, my heart was set on visiting during Spring and experiencing the blossoms for myself. Luckily just before I locked in all my flights I came across a picture of what I believe to be Japan’s Most Beautiful Cherry Blossom Festival:
This one photo blew me away. How could somewhere so beautiful and picturesque actually exist in real life? I discovered the location of this photo and it turned out to be the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival.
Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival has over 2500 trees, cherry blossom tunnels, moats filled to the brim with petals, heaps of room for picnics, rental rowboats and a nighttime illumination festival.
For me experiencing the cherry blossoms is a moment of beauty, romance and appreciation. When I had seen pictures of the crowds in Tokyo and Kyoto for the cherry blossoms it didn’t exactly conjure up harmony and appreciation. I cringed at the thought of fighting for a spot under these trees while thousands of other tourists pose in the background of my photos. This is why I knew that I had to visit Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival no matter what.
HOW TO GET THERE
Hirosaki is located in the Aomori prefecture in Northern Mainland Japan.
From Tokyo Station catch the Hayabusa or Hayate Shinkansen for 3 hours and 10 minutes. Transfer at the Shin-Aomori Station onto the Limited Express Tsugaru train for 30 minutes to arrive at Hirosaki Station. To plan your train journey visit here.
You can fly to Aomori Aiport from either Haneda Aiport, Nagoya Airport, Osaka Airport or Sapporo Airport and then catch the bus into Hirosaki.
For more details on access to Hirosaki please read here.
From Hirosaki Train Station to the Cherry Blossom Festival:
From the JR Hirosaki Station catch the 100 Yen Loop Bus.
Alternatively, hire a bicycle for the day! We rented a bicycle from the train station and rode 15 minutes (easy ride) to Hirosaki Castle. Once you enter the castle grounds you will see where everyone parks their bicycles.
If you’re looking for ways to save money on your trip then my Discounts & Passes for Japan 2018 Guidebook will help!
WHEN TO VISIT
Hirosaki’s cherry blossoms bloom later in April and early May. By this time most of the peak season has died down making things a little cheaper for you. Last year’s festival was from April 22nd to May 7th.
Learn more about the different seasons and when is the best time to visit Japan.
There is an entry fee for Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival. The first ticket is for the castle area, the second ticket for the botanical garden and the third is a combined ticket for both.
■Honmaru-kita-no-kuruwa / Adult 310-yen, Children 100-yen
(Group : Adult 250-yen, Children 80-yen)
■Hirosaki Castle Botancial Garden / Adult 310-yen, Children 100-yen
(Group : Adult 250-yen, Children 80-yen)
■Combined Ticket / Adult 510-yen, Children 160-yen
(Group : Adult 460-yen, Children 130-yen)
WHAT TO DO AT HIROSAKI CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAl
1.Walk through the Cherry blossom tunnel
2. Take happy snaps in front of Hirosaki castle
3. Try a famous Hirosaki Apple
4. Rent a boat and row around the castle moat!
5. Try local Spring Festival Food!
6. Play a festival game
7. Get spooked at the Haunted House
8. Take a photo of Mount Iwaki
9. Have a Hanami Picnic
10. Enjoy a tea ceremony at the Fujita Memorial Japanese Garden
WHERE TO STAY IN HIROSAKI
Learn more about what is the best accommodation in Japan here.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Did the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival live up to my expectations? More than I could have imagined! It is a long trip from Tokyo to Hirosaki, I would recommend trying to stay for a couple of days. I wish I had stayed for more than one night because there are so many great things to do in Hirosaki like the Hirosaki Apple Park and the Neputa Museum. Definitely, rug up when you come to visit because it was only around 13 – 15 degrees when we visited and there was still snow on the ground!
My favourite memory was that it was the place that I chose to propose to my boyfriend. I had spent so much time looking at all the beautiful photos of the festival that I knew deep down I wanted to propose there. I planned to ask him when we rented the rowboat and once we were out away from everyone I popped the question. He said yes!