Sakura around Nagoya ’12′

As the long harsh winter is draws to an end, thoughts of laying back with beer under the beautifully lit cherry blossoms start to enter our minds.  It’s been forecast that the very of end March (30th to be exact) is the when the trees will be in blossom this year, although dates announced this early rarely end up very accurate.  Still, it’s not too early to start planning where to hold your little “Hanami” gathering, so we look at some of the more popular spots in and around the city to head to.

Tsuruma Park / 鶴舞公園

Literally thousands of people enjoy ‘hanami ‘ parties under the cherry blossoms in Tsuruma Park. Over 1,200 cherry trees feature in the beautifully designed park, located right in front of Tsurumai subway station. In 1990, Tsuruma Park was also chosen as one of the best 100 cherry blossoms viewing spots in Japan by The Foundation for Nippon Sakura-no-kai.  It is likely the most popular and well known place in Nagoya city to go and enjoy the cherry blossom partly because of it’s central location (with access on both the subway and JR lines), but also because of the layout, allowing for large areas to sit under the lit trees.  Around 30 small stores (yatai) come and sell the traditional festival food (okonomiyaki, karaage, sausages, yaki-soba etc) during his period, so you don’t even have to worry about bringing your own picnic food.  Beware however, many local companies send their young workers to either lay ground-sheets down early in the morning, or sit out all day, reserving spots for the company to sit in the evening.  Although you should be able to find somewhere to squeeze into if coming late, doing a similar thing  if you intend on taking a largish group, would be a wise idea. Cherry blossoms are illuminated here until 21:00 but parties will continue until much later.

Access: Take the Tsurumai subway line to Tsurumai park station. You cannot miss the park.

Yamazaki River / 山崎川

Along the Yamazaki river (From Ishikawa-bashi Bridge to Ochiai-bashi Bridge / approximately 2.8 km in length) in Mizuho-ku,  approximately 720 beautiful cherry trees line the river. This area was also chosen as one of the best 100 cherry blossoms viewpoints in Japan by The Foundation for Nippon Sakura-no-kai, back in 1990. A beautiful area to walk under the Blossoms during the day, although much less space to actually sit around with groups like at Tsurumai. Cherry blossoms are illuminated until 21:30.

Access: Get off at Mizuho-Kuyakusho Sta. on the Sakuradori Subway Line. Walk 10 min. (Kanae-bashi Bridge)

Heiwa Park / 平和公園

Located near to Nagoya University, this beautiful and very peaceful park boasts approximately 2200 cherry trees and wide open spaces to spread out and barbecue . It is very much worth a visit, especially if you want to get way from the large crowds at Tsuruma and Nagoya Castle.

Access: Get off at Higashiyama-Koen Station on the Higashiyama Subway Line and walk 10-15 minutes.

Higashiyama Park / 東山公園

Almost 4000 cherry trees (100 different kinds from all over Japan) have been planted in Higashiyama Park. Trees are illuminated until 8pm and from March 19th until May 7 you can also enjoy the Higashiyama Spring Festival.  The Higashiyama area is great for hiking around with lovely courses taking you through the forests and hills.

Access: Take the Higashiyama subway line to Higashiyama-Park station.

Nagoya Castle / 名古屋城

Nagoya Castle & Meijo Koen 名古屋城 & 名城公園 are popular places to enjoy the Cherry blossoms and are very centrally located. With over 1600 Sakura trees illuminated until 8pm each night and with the stunning Castle as a backdrop, you are assured some beautiful pictures.

Access: Simple- Just take the Meijo line to Shiyakusho station and walk for 3-5 minutes.

Arakogawa Park / 荒子川公園

Located on the outskirts of Nagoya, Arakogawa Park takes a little longer to reach but is a nice option if you fancy getting away from the city. The park is popular in the warmer months for camping and the beautifully arranged gardens and vast spaces ideal for picnickers. There are over 1000 Sakura trees in the park to wander around and relax under and plenty of space for the kids to run around.

Access: Take the Aonami Line from Nagoya station direct to the park. The journey takes 14minutes.

Inuyama Castle / 犬山城

Inuyama Castle, constructed in 1440, stands as the oldest in Japan and is located just 40 minutes away from Nagoya station by train. The area is surrounded by hundreds of cherry trees in the Spring and the Autumn colours of the Nov-Dec make it one of Japan’s most celebrated photograph spots. The area around the Castle and station in Inuyama is beautiful so combining the trip with a stroll down the river is highly recommended.

Access: Take a train from Nagoya Station on the Meitetsu line heading for Unuma (鵜沼). Get off at Inuyama-Yuen Station and walk for about 5 minutes.

Do you know of any other great spots around the area to enjoy Sakura? Let us know buy posting a comment of contacting us here.