Spring in Japan is the hanami season. Hanami is when people go out to see the cherry blossoms bloom, which often includes a picnic. In Fukuoka, the cherry blossoms usually bloom from late March to early April. Here are some recommended spots to enjoy hanami while in Fukuoka.
1. Nishi Park
This park, chosen as one of Japan's top 100 places to see cherry blossoms, is one of the leading places for hanami in Fukuoka. In the spring, about 1,300 cherry blossom trees bloom and the park becomes filled with people. The entire park is on hilly ground, so from the observation plaza you can see a beautiful view that includes Hakata bay, Nokonoshima Island, and Shikanoshima Island in one sweep. The sight of the cherry blossoms and the scenery from high ground will definitely become a wonderful memory of your trip.
2. Shiranoe Botanical Garden
This lush botanical garden on a hill is in the Moji area of Kitakyushu. The inside of the park is designed according to Japanese aesthetics, and you can enjoy a walk in that verdant, elegant atmosphere. There are 800 trees of around 60 kinds of cherry blossom trees, including a 400 year old prefecturally-designated national monument Shiranoe satozakura cherry blossom tree. There's also the representative Yoshino cherry blossom, the early blooming kanzakura and the kawazuzakura. There are many types of cherry blossoms trees represented here, so it's a great hanami area to visit in order to be completely satisfied with cherry blossoms.
3. Katsuyama Park
This park is one of the symbols of Kokura. Kokura Castle is at the center of this park, and the Murasaki River flows through it. It's another beautiful area in spring when the cherry blossoms bloom, and it's known as a popular spring spot. The Kokurajo Sakura Matsuri festival is held along with the cherry blossom season annually, and during that time around 300 cherry blossoms bloom in the plaza in front of the castle tower and they hold various events like the Furusato Umaimono-ichi in which regional cuisine is presented as well as song and dance events. The lively atmosphere is perfect for hanami. At night the trees are lit up so you can enjoy a mystical night hanami.
4. Hosshin Park
This park in Kurume is also famous for its cherry blossoms. It's been famous as a hanami spot since the Edo period (1603 - 1868) when successive generations of shogun (feudal lords) would visit. Within the lush gardens, around 170 trees of different kinds including Yoshino cherry, yamazakura, and yaezakura bloom and you can enjoy a colorful sight. There aren't many booths in this park during the season, so it's great for people who want to enjoy the blossoms in peace. It's also beautiful in autumn with the foliage, so please visit in either season.
5. Maizuru Park
This park has the ruins of Fukuoka Castle, a castle built by the warrior Kuroda Nagamasa in 1601, at its heart. Around 500 cherry blossom trees are planted here, and it's a popular spot that becomes full of people in the spring when they bloom. At night, the sight of the lit-up sakura is beautifully impressive! There are various types of cherry blossom trees here, including Yoshino cherry and weeping cherry blossom trees. Inside the park are vast stretches of greenery, the ruins of Fukuoka Castle, and the Kourokan, a reception hall from the Heian Period (794 - 1185) on display, so it's a park where you can also learn about rich cultural properties and the history of the area.
If you stay outside during cherry blossom season for a long period of time, you'll grow cold thanks to the drop in temperatures, so it would be good to dress warmly when you go. Please find the spot perfect for your hanami!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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