Foodies Go Hanami- The Ultimate Cherry Blossom Food and Drink Guide 2017 (by John F. Ashburne)

March 30, 2017  By FGL editorial board 


Foodies Go Hanami!

The Ultimate Cherry Blossom Food and Drink Guide 2017  by John F. Ashburne

 

FGL recommends what to tipple and what to nibble at hanami parties across the country. And in the Anaba  穴場 section, our nationwide network of connections gives us the insider lowdown on local favorites.

Carousing under the cherry trees, feasting, imbibing and – occasionally – remembering to admire the transient beauty of the fragile, pink blossoms is ingrained in Japan’s DNA. It is also a brilliant opportunity for the casual visitor or resident to sample local cuisine, local sake, and meet the people who know the place best, as they relax in time-honored fashion beneath the boughs.

It is also immense fun.

2017_02_20_0200

Luxury Sakura Bento Box at the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto with sushi and seasonal vegetables

If you find yourself in the country between now and mid-April, here are some of the best places to join in the celebrations at parks, castles, shrines and riverside locations throughout Japan.

FGL prides itself in offering regional specialist information, so we also briefly suggest what you may tipple and nibble at hanami parties, should they be organized or your own improvised festivities, in each location across the country. And if you really want to meditate under the blossoms, or experience something a little off the beaten track, we also offer a few lesser-known places. These we call the ‘anaba’ 穴場 the Japanese phrase for those secret locations you’d rather keep amongst your good friends, and told to us by our connections across the country.

Traditionally, this kind of listing would begin with the southern island of Kyushu, but this year, for the first time in nearly a decade, the first cherry blossoms have opened in Tokyo rather than the south, so well start there. In fact, the nation’s weather at this time of year has always been prone to change, and if you plan your cherry blossom viewing revelry at night, make sure to wrap up warm. The temperature can plunge after dark.

To make doubly sure, you may wish to have warm sake at hand. The Japanese for thermos flask, in case you were wondering, is a mahoubin ‘the magic bottle’. Atsukan is hot sake. It serves as an icebreaker, both literal and metaphorical. It isn’t accidental that we mention the drinking element of hanami parties here at first. Simply put, in contemporary Japan, the social lubricant of alcohol features large at any hanami party, particularly once sun sets. Daytime hanami events, with tea, are generally refined affairs. That may be true in the evening, not least if one mingles in Kyoto with Geiko (Geisha) and Maiko (trainee Geisha), but up in the rural mountains or deep in the inner cities, many interpretations arise.

The bento or bentobako is an integral element of hanami parties, and its incarnations reflect the Japanese cuisine at large, with each region incorporating its local specialty. They can be purchased at large department stores and main train stations, and from the street vendors at shrines and tourist spots, or you can always make your own. Similarly sakuramochi rice cakes wrapped in cherry leaves are ubiquitous. The best are in Kyoto.

Please check actual details in situ, as far as possible, but here’s a current guide to locations and timings of the blossoms. Also please remember that altitude makes a considerable difference to sea level estimates. Cherry blossoms will begin and end later at Koya-san and Yoshino (Nara Prefecture) and Hida-Takayama (Gifu Prefecture), for example, than in Nara and Gifu cities. Similarly latitude, as Hakodate (southern Hokkaido) and Wakkanai and Kushiro (northern Hokkaido) will be markedly different.

This guide concentrates on recognized hanami spots at 17 prefectures nationwide. However you’ll find them in even the most far-flung reaches of the archipelago. That’s the great joy of the Japanese spring.


Tokyo :

Places: Ueno Park; Shinjuku-gyoen Park; Sotobori Koen, Sumida Koen Park, Meguro riverside; Chidorigafuchi Imperial Palace, Yoyogi Koen Park, Rikugien Park, Nihonbashi Yaesu Sakura Street, Tokyo.

Kaika first bloom: 21st March

Mankai full bloom: 31st March

FGL What to tipple: Kinkon Masamune, especially good as nurukan served at just below body heat temperature. The Kamiya Bar in Asakusa sells its unique Denki Bran spirit. Its name translates as ‘Electric Brandy’, and it is perfect for keeping out the cold. In Marunouchi, Sarabeth’s Tokyo is hosting a Moet-Chandon pop-up ’emoticon lounge’ complete with cherry-hued champers from April 1st to 16th.

FGL What to nibble: Sansai mountain vegetable tempura, especially fukinoto butterbur and taranome angelica shoots, and ichigo daifuku stawberry mochi rice confections filled with sweet red-bean paste. Most large hotels offer sakura-themed events and special menus with those at Hotel Chinzanso and New Otani especially renowned.

FGL 穴場 anaba: Rent a pleasure boat and watch the cherry blossoms from water level on the Chidorigafuchi moat. ¥800 for thirty minutes. You may have to queue, but it’s worth it. After dark, from 31st March to April 2nd, the 150 sakura trees around Ark Hills Roppongi are illuminated from 5pm to 10pm, and look fabulous.

千鳥が淵

Chidorigafuchi Moat, Tokyo Imperial Palace


Kumamoto Prefecture:

Place: Kumamoto Castle Park, Kumamoto city.

Kaika first bloom: 29th March

Mankai full bloom: 9th April

FGL What to tipple: With a 400-year history, the elegant Torikai Komejochu rice shochu is particularly smooth and drinkable.

FGL What to nibble: Hitomoji guruguru is the rather fanciful local name for wakegi spring onions bundled together ‘to resemble the number one’, an appetizer that packs quite an allium punch.

FGL 穴場 anaba: At Isshingyo Park in Minami Asomura, Aso-gun, the magnificent giant sakura tree has been standing as long as Torikai have been making shochu. Well worth a visit, its pink blossoms contrast beautifully with the yellow nanohana rapeseed flowers. It is illuminated for three days at full bloom. Tachioka Shizen Koen Natural Park to the south of Kumamoto city is a beautiful quiet place, with 2000 cherry trees, great for family hanami.


Fukuoka Prefecture:

Place: Fukuoka Castle and Maizuru Park; Nishi Koen Park, Fukuoka city.

Kaika first bloom: 24th March

Mankai full bloom: 6th April

FGL What to tipple: Shochu liquor is the drink of choice in these parts. Try Kurouma soba buckwheat shochu from Miyazaki or Kokura’s powerful Muhomatsu 43 Degree mugi barley shochu. Miinokotobuki’s Harujunmai Quadrifoglio, named for the Italian for ‘for-leafed clover’ is a light, spring-only special.

FGL What to nibble: Goma aji horse mackerel marinated with soy sauce and sesame or goma saba mackerel treated in the same way. Hakata or Kurume tonkotsu pork broth ramen are de rigeur.

FGL穴場 anaba: Sanno Koen Park is mostly used by local families for hanami. Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine has beautiful cherry trees, especially near the entrance by the pond. Early morning is recommended.

福岡西公園

Fukuoka Nishi Koen Park, Fukuoka


Hiroshima Prefecture:

Places: Hiroshima Peace Park; Hiroshima Castle Park; Shukkeien Garden, Hiroshima city. Miyajima. Senkoji Park, Onomichi city.

Kaika first bloom: 31st March

Mankai full bloom: 8th April

FGL What to tipple: Hiroshima has many excellent sakes, especially those from the Saijo area, just east of Hiroshima city. Kamoizumi, Kamotsuru and Saijotsuru all make good sakes. Fukucho is a brewer based in the port of Akitsu on the Inland Sea. Their Saya has a wonderful aroma of pears and strawberries.

FGL What to nibble: Eating kaki oysters pretty much started in Japan in Hiroshima, and no-one looks like stopping now. The other favorite, the local take on okonomiyaki, Hiroshimayaki, is another hanami perennial.

FGL 穴場 anaba: Beautiful sakura, great views across the ocean and mountains are to be had at Senkoji Temple and Park in the small port town of Onomichi. Don’t leave without sampling the local Onomichi ramen.


Kagawa Prefecture:

Places: Tamano Koen Park; Ritsurin Koen Park, Takamatsu city.

Kaika first bloom: 1st April

Mankai full bloom: 8th April

FGL What to tipple: Yorokobi Gaijin has long been a favorite Kagawa sake, as its name sounds like the Japanese phrase for ‘A foreigner having a really good time’! Linguisitic foolery aside, it’s a good sake, not least the Tezukuri Junmaishu that comes with hints of muscat and grapes. Excellent complexity at such a reasonable price.

FGL What to nibble: The prefecture’s Sannuki udon, ‘do-it-yourself’ white wheat noodles, in which you choose whatever toppings you like to add to the eponymous udon, are famous nationwide for their quality and cost performance.

FGL 穴場 anaba: Ayagawa’s Yamagoe Udon, Gamo Udon, and Yamauchi Udon are famed, but Nakata in Kanoka claims to be the ‘most authentic’. Why not try them all?

When sakura are in full bloom it is termed ‘Mankai’


Okayama Prefecture:

Place: Korakuen Garden; Asahi River Sakura Road; Okayama Castle, Okayama city. Sakazu Park, Kurashiki city.

Kaika first bloom: 2nd April

Mankai full bloom: 8th April

FGL What to tipple: Try Toshimori Shuzo’s Sakehitosuji with its characteristic mild sourness. Doppo craft beer is made by the Miyashita Sake Brewery which also produces the prizewinning Kawami Hijiri sake.

FGL What to nibble: Mamakari, the Japanese sardinella or shad, is famed here. A relative of herrings and sardines, it is often pickled in vinegar as suzuke.

FGL 穴場 anaba: If you seek peace and quiet, the Kurashiki Bikan canal area near the Ohara Museum of art fifteen minutes’ walk from Kurashiki Station is especially pretty early in the morning.


Hyogo Prefecture:

Places: Oji Park; Shukugawa Park; Kobe city; Himeji Castle, Himeji city.

Kaika first bloom: 2nd April

Mankai full bloom: 11th April

FGL What to tipple: The Nada district of Kobe is sake central, with Hakutsuru, Sawanotsuru, and Kikumasamune the ‘big three’ all based there. However why not try something from Himeji, Okuharima’s spring-themed, bold Harumachi Kogorete Yamahai Junmai. Beer lovers will want to check Konishi Brewing’s award-winning Snow Blanche, with its notes of coriander and orange peel.

FGL What to nibble: Kobe’s beef and its Nankinmachi Chinatown fare are duly famous, especially the latter’s Roshioki and its take-out butaman steamed pork buns, the locals favor sobameshi. It’s a humble dish, mixing yakisoba noodles and rice with beef and konnyaku.

FGL 穴場 anaba: The Sannomaru Hiroba square in front of Himeji castle is packed with street food sellers, and the castle’s open lawns make the perfect hanami spot. On 8th April the castle festival runs from 10am to 4pm, and sakuradango sweets and jizake local sake is served.

Nikuman

Butaman steamed pork buns are a Kobe Chinatown favorite


Osaka :

Places: Sakuranomiya Park; Osaka Castle Park; Japan Mint; Expo Park, Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park;Utsubo Koen Park, Osaka city.

Kaika first bloom: 2nd April

Mankai full bloom: 9th April

FGL What to tipple: Kawachi Nagano’s Amanosake is the area’s star sake, and rightly so, but don’t overlook Goshun from Ikeda city, Yao city’s Choryu and Akishika, crafted out in the mountainous farmlands in the north of the prefecture. The latter offers the lovely Harudashi in a 5000 limited-bottle edition. Beer lovers should seek locally brewed Minoh Beer’s Imperial Stout, voted best Irish-style dry stout in the world in 2016, or Minoh IPA. The former is good on those cold, blustery nights, the latter on a warmer evening.

FGL What to nibble: Osakans love their takoyaki octopus balls but hanami favorite is arguably kushiage. These deep-fried, breadcrumb-coated ‘morsels on skewers’ are delicious, inexpensive, and easily found. Similarly ubiquitous are okonomiyaki savory pancakes. Osaka Kyabetsuyaki, literally ‘grilled cabbage’, is the cut-price version of okonomiyaki, generally eaten standing up, and retailing at around ¥140. It is tastier than the name suggests.

FGL 穴場 anaba: There are no really quiet Osaka hanami parties. The Sakuranomiya station area near to the JR Osaka Loop Line is very nice early morning, and during the daytime Utsubo Koen Park is relatively tranquil. Once work finishes, the boisterous celebrations ensue.

大阪城

Osaka Castle Park, Osaka


Kyoto :

Places: Maruyama Koen Park; Arashiyama; The Philosopher’s Path; Kamogawa riverside; Kodaiji temple; Ninnaji temple; Okazaki Park; Daigo temple, many others, Kyoto city.

Kaika first bloom: 1st April

Mankai full bloom: 9th April

FGL What to tipple: Surprise yourself with the dry Fuji Chitose from Matsui Shuzo. Not old school Kyoto at all, but lovely. The city’s Fushimi district is famed nationally for producing traditional, elegant sakes, with Eikun, Gekkeikan, Kizakura, and Tomio are all well regarded. Kinoshita Shuzo, up on the North coast of the prefecture in Kumihama is where British toji sake-master Phillip Harper creates the highly popular Tamagawa range of sakes. Try the unfiltered junmaiginjo. These sakes, and thousands more, are all available at the Meishukan Takimoto on Rokujo Street, a ten-minute walk from Kyoto Station.

FGL What to nibble: Kyo-Oden is the hanami fare of choice, especially if it’s cold. The outdoor stalls in Maruyama-koen are lots of fun, not least as this is where you are most likely to see geisha taking part in the festivities.

FGL 穴場 anaba:  Enjoy the silence at Yoshida Jinja Shrine and the great view of the city from the easily-climbable Mount Yoshidayama. Likely you’ll be alone. If you miss the blossoms downtown, the sakura in Haradani village, a short taxi ride into the hills to the Northwest of the city, start to bloom as all the others fade. The sosui canal in Okazaki is perfect for ad hoc hanami, with fabulous blooms and relatively few people for such a central location, except that is on the tourist boats circling the canal. They’re fun too.

Kyo Oden is popular at Kyoto hanami parties


Nara Prefecture:

Places: Nara Koen Park, Nara city. Mount Ikoma & Hozanji, Ikoma city. Yoshinoyama, Yoshino district.

Kaika first bloom: 3rd April

Mankai full bloom: 10th April

FGL What to tipple: Head to the Mochiidono-cho branch of the Okest supermarket near Kintetsu Nara station to find locally crafted Kishu (Nara/Wakayama) umeshu plum wines. The sweet brandy-infused version and the drier, aged-three-to-five-years wine are especially good. You can sample before you try.

FGL What to nibble: Locally grown Nara strawberries, especially the Asuka Ruby, are sweet and succulent, and a good accompaniment to that plum wine. The local specialty tsukemono pickle is called narazuke. Vegetables such as uri bitter gourd, kyuri cucumber and shoga ginger are pickled in sakekasu sake lees. Narazuke isn’t to everyone’s taste, as it is quite powerful. In Yoshino try the famous kakinohazushi mackerel pressed into rice wrapped in persimmon leaves.

FGL 穴場 anaba: Head to Ikoma station and change to the cable car, Japan’s oldest, and go up to the top of Mt. Ikoma, to the amusement park. You get a great view of Osaka and the surrounding area, and even at the height of the blossom-viewing season, it’s not as crowded as Nara. Walk back down the mountain to Hozanji temple, where it’s easy to find quiet areas under the cherry trees to relax. From Hozanji, you can get back on the cable car to Ikoma station.

The 30,000 cherry trees in Yoshino are a National Treasure, and firmly on the tourist map thus it gets really crowded, so go early. Also, try to make it for the Hanakueshiki Festival at the World Heritage Listed Kimpusen-ji Temple typically held from 10th to 12th April. Take the Yoshino Kintetsu line to Yoshino station, then the cable-car to Yoshinoyama Station.

奈良吉野

Yoshino in Nara has 30,000 cherry trees


Aichi Prefecture:

Place: Yamazakigawa riverside; Meijo Koen Park; Nagoya Castle; Tsuruma Park, Nagoya city. Inuyama castle, Inuyama city.

Kaika first bloom: 28th March

Mankai full bloom: 6th April

FGL What to tipple: Sake is traditionally made in Handa city, which gives us the appropriately named Hatsuyumezakura, ‘the First Dream of Cherry Blossoms’, and Nakano Shuzo’s Kunizakari range.

FGL What to nibble: The prefectural capital is home to the rather expensive Nagoya Kochin breed of chicken, and thus its yakitori is particularly good. More common is the city’s well-known misonikomi udon, in which wheat noodles are served with a miso broth.

FGL 穴場 anaba: From March 25th to April 9th, Nagoya Castle hosts a Sakura Festival beneath the illuminated castle towers, admission ¥500. A short walk from the hanami activities at Tsuruma Park is Osu Kannon shrine which is surrounded by inexpensive eateries and bars of all kinds. Aichi’s large Brazilian expatriate community assembles here, making for lively evenings out. The rotisserie chicken at Osso Brazil is particularly famous.

ミソ煮込みウドン

Nagoya people love Misonikomiudon


Ishikawa Prefecture:

Place: Kenrokuen Garden; Kazuemachi Chayagai; Kanazawa Castle, Kanazawa city.

Kaika first bloom: 4th April

Mankai full bloom: 12th April

FGL What to tipple: Ishikawa’s most popular sakes are produced in the city of Hakusan, most notably Kikuhime, Tedorigawa and Tengumai. The latter is especially suited to atsukan being served warm, and its pale yellow color sees it compared to French white wine. Tedorigawa produces a sakura season

In Kanazawa, Fukumitsuya makes excellent sakes. Try their bone-dry, earthy Kagatobi Yamahai Junmai.

FGL What to nibble: Fugu ranzo nukazuke are for the adventurous gourmet – pufferfish ovaries pickled in rice bran. They are perfect with sake. Kanazawa and Kaga’s freshwater gori gobyfish served as tsukudani simmered in mirin, sugar and shoyu soy sauce.

FGL 穴場 anaba: The ‘Saisei no Michi’ path between Sakurabashi and Saigawa Ohashi bridge is perfect for an early morning stroll.

兼六園

Kenrokuen Garden, Ishikawa


Gifu Prefecture:

Place: Miyagawa Ryokuchi Koen Park, Takayama city. Kamigatani, Ikeno-cho.

Kaika first bloom: 29th March

Mankai full bloom: 8th April

FGL What to tipple: Kozaemon in Mizunami city is undoubtedly one of Gifu’s prime sake makers. Try its Sakura Label Junmai Ginjoshu made from a blend of Yamada Nishiki and local Hida Homare rice, designed particularly for this time of year.

FGL What to nibble: The Hida-Takayama area specialty is hobayaki, beef, fish, vegetables or even seafood roasted in miso over charcoal on a dried hoba magnolia leaf. Absolutely fabulous. Hida-Takayama also has its own popular type of ramen noodles, Takayama ramen. In the southern part of the prefecture, expect more seafood. Ise-ebi spiny lobster is often transported, fresh, from markets and ports on the south coast. It is excellent grilled and as sashimi.

FGL 穴場 anaba: This one’s for hikers. Rural Kamigatani has 1500 sakura trees in the most spectacular natural setting. It’s a bit of a trek out there, in Ikeda, a 30-minute walk from Ikeno station on the Yoro line. Well worth it though. Pack refreshments.

岐阜高山

Blossom by the Mitagawa River, Hida-Takayama, Gifu


Shizuoka Prefecture:

Place: Hamamatsu Castle Park, Hamamatsu Flower Park, Hamamatsu city. Kadoike Park, Numazu city. Atamijo Castle Park, Atami city.

Kaika first bloom: 1st April

Mankai full bloom: 10th April

FGL What to tipple: Pioneering craft beer brewers Baird Beer’s ‘Saison Sayuri’, available from late March, at the Fishmarket Taproom, Numazu or from the brewery in Shuzenji.

FGL What to nibble: Sakuraebi sakura shrimp dishes, unagi eel, especially grilled as kabayaki and Shizuoka oden are all popular. It’s the latter you are most likely to find at hanami, with its classically dark shoyu soy sauce broth crying out for a beer or sake accompaniment.

FGL 穴場 anaba: Check out the 35 meter tall, 824 year-old Kariyado no Gebazakura tree in Fujinomiya, near the slopes of Mt. Fuji.

うなぎ

Unagi eel, Kabayaki-style


Kanagawa Prefecture:

Place: Sankeien Garden; Mitsuike Koen Park, Yokohama city. Odawara Joshi Koen Park, Odawara city. Atsugi Iiyama, Atsugi city.

Kaika first bloom: 25th March

Mankai full bloom: 5th April

FGL What to tipple: Ebina city’s Izumibashi Tombo sparkling sake or Kawanishi Shuzoten’s Tanzawasan Ginzukuri Junmai, the latter endorsed by ANA airlines.

FGL What to nibble: Shirasu Japanese anchovy whitebait, especially atop a donburi bowl of rice, and maguro tuna from the port of Misaki. Kaigun Kare or ‘Navy Curry’ is said to be the foundation of ‘curry rice’, and remains hugely popular, not least near the navy base at Yokosuka.

FGL 穴場 anaba: The area near Nakanoshima station on the JR Nanbu line, and the street in front of Caritas junior college and Tama plaza station area early in the morning have beautiful blossoms. Dancing and taiko drums at Atsugi Iiyama Sakura Festival, from 1st to 9th April, make for festive fun.


Fukushima Prefecture:

Place: Tsuruga Castle Park, Aizu-Wakamatsu city. Hanamiyama Koen Park, Fukushima city. Miharu town, Tamura district.

Kaika first bloom: 9th April

Mankai full bloom: 14th April

FGL What to tipple: Kinmon Aizu, Tanoshimi Suehiro and Hanaharu are all good. The latter uses local Chonishiki rice, and its sake’s are generally best served chilled.

FGL What to nibble: Bandeimochi rice cakes with 10-year aged miso and Aizu jidori local chicken, especially good in the bento boxes sold at Koriyama Station. Koi no arai carp simmered in shoyu, mirin and sake in Koriyama. Nishin no Sansho-zuke herring pickled with sansho Szechuan pepper is a specialty of Aizu-Wakamatsu and is a fabulous sake accompaniment. Aizu soba buckwheat noodles are excellent. Kiriya Gongentei and Sobadokoro Wada are local favorite Aizu soba specialists.

FGL 穴場 anaba: Kaiseizan Park in Koriyama city center is peaceful early morning. Miharu Takizakura is one of Japan’s ‘Great Three’ sakura trees. Over a thousand years old, it is illuminated at night. It is 6.3km from Miharu station on the Ban’etsu Tousen line. Sightseeing buses run between station and tree.

三春桜

Miharu Takizakura, Fukushima


Aomori Prefecture:

Place: Hirosaki Castle Park, Hirosaki city. Hachinohe Park, Hachinohe city.

Kaika first bloom: 24th April

Mankai full bloom: 30th April

FGL What to tipple: Rokushu Nagaimo shochu is made from nagaimo yam, and is the drink of choice at Aomori’s festive hanami gatherings. Garlic shochu and burdock root shochu are also worth a try.

FGL What to nibble: Aomori has endless gustatory pleasures on offer, mostly from the sea. Hirosaki’s Hanamigani crab is superb. Make sure to use the kora shell, or carapace exactly, as a cup for korazake. Ichigo-ni, a soup made from uni sea urchin is sublime, as are the local awabi abalone. Mackerel and squid in Hachinohe are superb.

FGL 穴場: Each April, female archers on horseback display their warrior skills at the Sakura Yabusame in Towada city’s Kanchogaidori area.

Hirosaki castle park, Aomori


Hokkaido :

Places: Odori Koen Park, Maruyama Park, Sapporo city. Goryokaku Park, Hakodate city. Matsumae Park, Matsumae district. Harutori Park, Kushiro.

Kaika first bloom: Sapporo 1st May; Kushiro 15th May

Mankai full bloom: Sapporo 5th May; Kushiro 18th May

FGL What to tipple: Chitosezuru Haru no Shiboritate is a fresh, elegant and slightly dry sake perfect for the spring. Find it at the company’s sake museum in central Sapporo. Kamata Bettei Ezofuka in Sapporo’s Minami Gojo Nishi 3-chome is a restaurant specializing in Hokkaido sakes and cuisine.

FGL What to nibble: Hokkaido is noted for its ‘Genghis Khan’ lamb barbecues, and Asahikawa and Sapporo Miso Ramen. The latter should be served piping hot. Sumire, Menya Saimi and Ichigen are the most famous purveyors. At Ramen Yokocho alley and Ramen Kyowakoku Republic, both in Sapporo, dozens of ramen shops are gathered together. It is fun to explore and choose whichever takes your fancy. At Maruyama Park in Sapporo you can feast on Genghis Khan under the blossoms.

FGL 穴場 anaba: It’s a hike to get to Matsumae Park but worth it to see the 10,000 sakura trees. Early in the morning it is especially peaceful. Take the JR line to Kikonai station, then Hakodate bus bound for Matsumae. Get off at Matsushiro, and it’s roughly a 10-minute walk from there. Even more rural is the Shizunai Nijyukendoro Cherry Road, a 7km-long tree-lined avenue in Shinhidaka-machi. Access by bus from JR Shizunai station.

Sakura

2017 is predicted to be a good sakura season. Enjoy!


 

Please note that the statistics informing the above predictions have been compiled from a variety of sources, including NHK and other TV reports, newspaper bulletins, and websites. The English-language Sakura Weathermap site is particularly useful.

 

 









You might also like




More Story
Cooking Up a Storm at the Heart of Old Edo, Part 1 (by John F. Ashburne) Cooking Up a Storm at the Heart of Old Edo, Part 1 John Ashburne and friends tour the great Tsukiji market with the staff...