JAPAN: Iwate (Kitakami/ Tensochi Park)

With over 10,000 cherry trees planted alongside the Kitakami River in Tenshochi Park, Kitakami City is one of Tohoku’s best three cherry blossom viewing spots.

The trees are in bloom for only 1 – 2 weeks during late April, but visitors flock to the area in droves to stroll under the canopy of white blossoms that cover the 1.25 mile path which runs through the park. Additionally, there are sightseeing boats that depart from the rest house located at the south end of the park allowing visitors to view the cherry blossoms from the river. The boat ride lasts approximately 20 minutes and costs ¥1,000. A limited number of bicycles are also available for rent at a cost of ¥300.

The park hosts the Kitakami Tenshochi Sakura Festival from mid-April to early May.  The path and the park are illuminated in the evenings between the hours of 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM enabling festivalgoers to view the blossoms in the evening. In addition to the beautiful cherry blossoms, there are scheduled performances and numerous food vendors to enhance the festival experience.

Next to the park you will find Michinoku Folklore Village comprised of thirty preserved farmhouses and other structures from different historical periods. A majority of the buildings are open to the public and display various household items and tools that give visitors a perspective into what traditional life was like in Tohoku. Located near the village’s entrance gate, the Kitakami City Museum displays an assortment of cultural and historical artifacts, as well as various examples of Buddhist art. Entry to the museum is included in the admission fee to the village.

It is not necessary to plan your visit to Tensochi Park during the festival, there are plenty of things to do and see throughout the year.

Kitakami City is accessible via the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo, exit Kitakami Station. The one way journey takes approximately 3 hours and is covered by the Japan Rail Pass. From the station, the park is approximately 20 minutes on foot.

 

Address:             Tachibana, Kitakami 024-0043, Iwate Prefecture

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