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Ishikawa is Blossoming

March 27, 2020 Visit North Asia No Comments Email Email

Away from Japan’s tourist trail, Ishikawa’s cherry blossoms return from next week as Sakura season takes hold. With the short life of a cherry’s bloom being impactful and associated with fleeting things, we hope this is a sign of the current pandemic that has impacted our international travel also having a fleeting nature, enabling us to see such natural beauty across the globe once again.

Whilst we’re currently unable to travel to see the prefecture painted pink, here’s a selection of the best cherry blossom spots brought to you from across the region that can be visited year after year, to calm and remind us all of nature’s prevailing renewal and beauty.

1. Kanazawa Castle
Elevating the prefecture’s significance in Japan’s feudal history, the castle town of Kanazawa has flourished since the Edo period, with Kanazawa Castle as its centrepiece. The Castle park grounds are open and free for visitors to enter year-round, with the historic castle at its most beautiful as the 400 cherry trees within the grounds begin to blossom. In addition to the castle’s ground, the outer park is also recommended for enjoying a picnic with views of the blossoms. Not to be missed, from early to mid April, the castle is lit up in the evening, enhancing the pink colours against the castle walls.

2. Kenrokuen Garden
One of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, Kenrokuen Garden comes alive with cherry blossom every April as pathways become corridors of pink blooms. Some of the best photo opportunities within the garden are Hanami-bashi (which translates as flower-viewing bridge), a wooden bridge framed by Yoshino cherries with reflections of the blossoms on the water below, and a panoramic shot across the garden’s 420+ Sakura trees from the north side of the park. With more than 40 varieties at Kenrokuen, the rare Sphaeranthus cherry blossoms are a must-see, with a unique shape and colour that change as the season progresses.

Similarly to the neighbouring Kanazawa Castle, Kenrokuen Garden illuminates the flowers in the evenings with free admission for visitors.

3. The Station of Cherry Blossoms
The quaint Noto Kashima station is popularly known as Sakura-eki or the Station of Cherry Blossoms. With the arrival of Spring, many Someiyoshino (a cherry blossom variety) trees blossom on both the sides of train tracks and create a “Sakura Tunnel” effect that visitors using the train can pass through and enjoy from their seat, with full bloom from mid to late April.

The station is located in the Hōsu district of the Noto Peninsula. Visitors can catch a train on the Nanao Line to pass through the tunnel of blossoms from the neighbouring town of Anamizu, and once at Noto Kashima station can take a 5-minute walk to Soro shrine or a 10-minute walk to Kashima shrine. From Kanazawa, visitors can take a one-hour express train from Kanazawa Station, changing to the Noto Tetsudo railway line at Wakura Onsen Station, approximately 30 mins.

4. Daishoji River cruise
Cherry Blossom season can be experienced far from from the crowds – floating on a wooden riverboat along the Daishoji River. Visitors can marvel at the blossoms along the river as they pass through the old castle city of Kaga, Ishikawa. This peaceful 30-minute journey is joined by the lapping of water and the sounds of the boatman as he sings melancholic Japanese folk songs. Bliss!

From Kanazawa, Daishoji is a 30-minute train ride, with a 15-minute walk to reach the boat.

5. Kurikara Fudoji Temple
The Tsubata-Machi region of Ishikawa is rooted in historic significance, as the site of a famous battle in 1184, as well as being a hub for nature enthusiasts, home to Ishikawa Forest Park, a designated Forest Therapy Base. The region’s real treasure though is the Kurikara Fudoji Temple, which is shrouded in cherry blossom each April. The temple was built in the year 718 by Empress Gensho – one of only eight female leaders in Japan’s history.

A 12-minute taxi ride from Kurikara Station, this spot can be reached by train from Kanazawa via trains travelling to Toyama or Tomari, connecting with the Ainokaze Toyama line.

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