The city of Kanazawa, with its uniquely Japanese atmosphere, has many scenic spots with cherry blossoms. Here are five recommended spots to consider.
1. Kenrokuen Garden
This is a leading tourist destination in Kanazawa and is regarded as one of Japan's three most beautiful gardens, together with Kairakuen Garden in Ibaraki and Okayama Korakuen Garden in Okayama. It is famous for the "yukitsuri" ropes that are hung on the trees in the winter to prevent the branches from breaking from the weight of the snow. Spring comes to Kanazawa when the weather warms up and the yukitsuri are taken off. Kenrokuen Garden has more than 400 cherry blossoms of approximately 40 varieties, and in the evening, they are illuminated. Entrance to the garden is free for about seven days during the cherry blossom season, so check in advance.
2. Kanazawa Castle Park
This is a park surrounding the remains of Kanazawa Castle (the tower burned down in 1602) that was the residence of the Maeda clan that ruled the Kaga Domain. The highlight of this park is the variety of stone walls. The combination of the beautiful stone walls, white watchtower, and cherry blossoms is unique to this park. There are rows of cherry blossoms along the inner moat, where visitors can revel in the short but beautiful snow country spring. The castle park is lit up from sundown to 9:00 pm every Friday and Saturday and the day before holidays, so you can be entranced by the magical scenery created by the cherry blossoms and castle glowing in the dark.
3. Asano Riverbed
There are rows of cherry blossoms on the floodplain along Kanazawa's Asano River, otherwise known as "Onna-gawa" (Woman's River). The Chaya district is on the opposite bank, and there is a great spot to relax and take in a view of the picturesque Umenohashi Bridge where scenes of TV drama series are often filmed. It is close to the popular Higashi Chaya District, so why not take some time to quietly appreciate the flowers while basking in the warm spring sun and feeling the gentle flow of the river?
4. Utatsuyama Park
This park, from which you can see the entire city of Kanazawa, is called "Utatsuyama Park" because it is to the east ("utatsu") of Kanazawa Castle. The Utatsuyama Bokodai Observatory is a fabulous spot from which you can see to the Sea of Japan on a sunny day. The Yonhyakunen-no Mori (400 Year Forest) established in 1982 to commemorate 400 years since Maeda Toshiie, leader of the Kaga Clan, entered Kanazawa Castle, is recommended for viewing the cherry blossoms. With approximately 250 cherry blossoms in the valley, it is reminiscent of Xanadu. It is a spot popular among locals to view cherry blossoms.
5. Kazue-machi Chaya District
This is one of Kanazawa's Three Main Chaya Districts, together with the well-known Higashi Chaya District and Nishi Chaya District. This Chaya District on the banks of Asano River retains the atmosphere of the past with many ryotei restaurants and ryokan inns still in operation. There are rows of cherry blossom trees along the river, making it a perfect place to enjoy a charming cherry blossom viewing experience. It is particularly attractive in the evening, when the streets lights made to look like gas lights are lit. With shamisen music floating on the spring breeze and the mystic visage of cherry blossoms glowing in the soft lights of a historical townscape, you may feel as if you have traveled back in time.
There are many places to see cherry blossoms in Kanazawa, but the blossoms only bloom for a short period of time (usually starting in early or mid-April in Kanazawa), so be sure to check in advance and enjoy the fleeting beauty Japan is known for.
*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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