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Cherry Blossoms 2007
 

Yozakura : Cherry Blossoms at Night

The beauty of cherry blossoms is not limited to the gradation of faint to dark pink under the brisk blue sky and warm sunlight of spring. The blossoms providing elegant, noble and lovely views during the daytime shows a completely different kind of beauty after dark. From the ancient times Japanese people have had as much affection for sakura during nighttime as daytime, appreciating the blossoms under the moonlight and with the light of the paper lanterns or torches.

Below are some famous sakura viewing places especially known for the beauty of yozakura, night blossoms. The dimly illuminated blossoms with an illusionary and fantastical kind of beauty can be enjoyed in various ways, from quietly walking among the trees to having cheerful hanami parties.

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Matsumae Park | Hokkaido Prefecture
This park is made on the site of former Matsumae Castle, and the cherry trees are said to have been planted during the Edo Period. Nearly 250 kinds of cherry trees put on gorgeous blossoms for about a month. At night the castle main tower lights up and with the street stalls, the night cherry blossoms attract many visitors.
 
Hirosaki Park | Aomori Prefecture
The beginning of the cherry trees date back several centuries ago when the Tsugaru feudal lord ordered a mountain cherry tree from far Kyoto. A number of cherry trees surround the main castle tower and decorates the park in brilliant pink. The cherry flowers show another aspect of beauty at night, with some petals floating on the lit-up castle moat.
 
Shiroishigawa Riverbank | Yamagata Prefecture
Shibata town is located in the south of the prefecture and looks out over Zao mountain range. Cherry trees nearly 100 years old form magnificent lines on both sides of Shiroishi River for more than 10 kilometers. The trees are lit up during cherry blossom seasons, and the sight of night cherry and paper lanterns on floating on the river is mystical and beautiful. A number of night stalls open too.
 
Takato Joshi Park | Nagano Prefecture
Takato Joshi Park is said to be the best place in Nagano Prefecture to view cherry blossoms. During the blossoming season, about 1,500 trees of Kohiganzakura more than 120 years old put on gorgeous flowers at once and color the park in vivid pink. At night the park is lit up with spotlights and paper lanterns which create a fantastic atmosphere.
 
Komoro Joshi Kaikoen | Nagano Prefecture
This park looks out over Chikuma River and is also a place that appears in a famous poem by Shimazaki Toson. From the former castle site you can see Mt. Asama in distance as well. The blooming of the 1,500 cherry trees of the park mark the beginning of spring in Shinshu (Nagano) and at night the flowers boast their beauty under the lamplight of paper lamps.
 
Kamine Park and Heiwa Street | Ibaraki Prefecture
Cherry trees line on both sides of Heiwa Streets for about 1km, from the west exit of Hitachi Station to national route 6. The trees now more than 50 years old form a gorgeous tunnel in spring and are lit up at night.
 
Sankeien Garden | Kanagawa Prefecture
Sankeien, spreading out on three valleys (san: three, kei: valley, en: garden), contains a number of historical architecture designated as national cultural assets and has many things to look at. In the garden you can enjoy five kinds of cherry flowers, and during the blossoming season the Great Pond area is illuminated showing an excellent night scene of cherry flowers.
 
The Sumida Park | Tokyo Prefecture
Sumida River
Part of the 500 cherry trees lining on the banks of Sumida River has attracted wide popularity since the Edo Period. Night flower viewing is very popular here, for you can view night flowers lit up with soft light of paper lantern from below on a river cruise.
 
Ueno Onshi Park | Tokyo Prefecture
Ueno Park
This marvelous assemblage of cherry trees started with the planting of cherry trees in the precinct of Kaneiji, the guardian temple for Edo Castle. During the blossoming season you can enjoy beautiful night flowers illuminated by 3,000 paper lanterns and the banquet scenes with old town taste.
 
Chidorigafuchi (Imperial Palace inner moat) | Tokyo Prefecture
Chidorigafuchi
Located on the northern side of the Imperial Palace and stretching along the inner moat of Kitanomaru Park, Chidorigafuchi is a prominent flower viewing spot in Tokyo. Although it is in the heart of the metropolis, there are about 400 Someiyoshino cherry trees here and at night, the park shows a magnificent contrast between the grand trees and the moat water with the touch of paper lantern light.
 
Yasukuni Shrine | Tokyo Prefecture
Yasukuni Shrine is where the sample tree used for the Met Office’s blossoming forecast is, and is also a popular place to have banquets under nocturnal cherry flowers. Soft light of hundreds of paper lanterns brings out another kind of beauty of the flowers and warms up the flower-viewing atmosphere. One of the most popular places in the business district to view flowers.
 
 
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