10 Japanese castles to admire the cherry blossoms

2018年 12月28日


In Japan, the old feudal castles are often surrounded by gardens. As the symbol of the country, cherry trees are often planted in those gardens. The cherry blossoms are blooming slowly starts from the south to the north of the country to give the landscape a new touch of color. Admiring these ephemeral flowers surrounding the spectacular architecture of ancient fortresses, some of which still retain their original appearance, is perhaps one of the best ways to enjoy the springtime and that is so popular in Japan. Here is the selection of 10 castles where to admire sakuras (cherry blossoms). We introduce those places from the south to the north of the country.

Kumamoto Castle (Kyushu)

Cherry blossoms of the Kyushu island, southern Japan, bloomed early, usually begin in late March to early April. The castle has badly damaged because of the earthquake occurredd in April 2016, it has been under renovation since then; however, it remains very impressive and still considered one of the most beautiful castles in Japan. It built on a hill and seemingly gigantic, these black walls already more than 30 meters high. If you visit the castle while cherry blossoms are blooming, hanami (cherry blossoms viewing) is highly recommended, the color of the petals harmonizing perfectly with the dark color of the building.

Himeji Castle (Hyogo)

Located in Hyogo prefecture, the castle remains very south of Japan where cherry blossom begins blooming in the first days of April usually. This castle becase the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the castles that has preserved its original appearance. It is also listed in the best places for cherry blossoms viewing. The castle has nickname "white heron" by its color, it becomes more magical when those sakura surrounded are flourish. In the evening, the castle and the cherry trees are magnificently illuminated. 

Osaka Castle

A white castle with bluish roofs, elevated by high stone walls, the famous Osaka Castle owes its reputation for Hanami, to its vast park with more than 3,000 cherry trees that bloom at the beginning of April. These moats perfectly reflect the colorful petals, and harmonize perfectly with the landscape of the Nishi-no-maru-teien park. The park is one of the 100 most beautiful places to admire the cherry blossoms.

Nijo Castle (Kyoto)

Located in Kyoto, this wooden castle is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The castle is highly recommeded for cherry blossom viewing. Historically, it is very famous for having been the residence of the great Tokugawa Ieyasu shogun at the beginning of the 16th century. The castle and surrounding buildings are in the heart of several beautiful Japanese gardens, including the Honmaru Garden in the center. You can admire the sakura in bloom from the end of March.

Kanazawa Castle (Ishikawa)

As a city still retaining the ancient streets of the feudal era, Kanazawa, the prefecutural capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, is a destination to focus on during a trip to Japan. The castle was destroyed many times by wars, fires and catastrophes; however, it rebuilt in a remarkable way. But what embellishes it most is perhaps the Kenrokuen garden that surrounds the castle. This garden is considered to be one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan, maintained for centuries by a noble family of Kaga Domain, present-day prefecture of Ishikawa and Toyama. It is known for its changing appearance depending on the season, and is a great place to enjoy Hanami from mid-April.

Matsumoto Castle (Nagano)

Mastumoto castle contrasting black and white, against the shining Japanese Alps on the background. The castle became the national heritage as the oldest extant five structure/six story castle in Japan.  On the top floor, it offers breathtaking views of the gardens with cherry blossoms and mountain peaks. It is one of the only castles in Japan whose has been free from wars, natural disasters, and fires. Tens of thousands of castles in Japan, there are only 12 that have kept their original tower. You can enjoy Hanami from the first days of April.

Odawara Castle (Kanagawa)

This renovated 15th century castle and park are famous for cherry blossom viewing around mid-April. Located south of Tokyo, in Kanagawa Prefecture, you can easily reach there in about an hour by train. In addition, from the top of the tower, you will have a breathtaking view of Sagami Bay. The trees in the garden are mostly over 500 years old and blend in perfectly with the white color of the castle walls.

Tsurugajo Castle (Fukushima)

Located in Tohoku, north of Tokyo, this castle was known as an impregnable fortress and represented the true symbol of samurai. After being finally destroyed, it was rebuilt quite late, in the 1960s. It is one of the wonders of the Aizu region, the one of the westernmost of the three regions of Fukushima prefecture, especially during the cherry blossom season, which are beautifully illuminated at night until 21:30 from mid April until beginning of May.

Takada Castle (Niigata)

Located in Niigata prefecture, the snowy region,Takada Castle is surrounded by several thousand cherry trees and offers magical walks on the many paths inside the park. It is strongly recommended to admire them as night falls, because Takada park is selected one of the three most beautiful cherry blossoms at night, the illumination is magnificent. Flowering is around mid-April.

Matsumae Castle (Hokkaido)

Hanami in May is still possible for the travelers if one goes on the big island of Hokkaido, northern Japan. The Matsumae Castle surrounded by a park whose is rich in more than 200 species of cherry trees, and its observation park has been classified as Hokkaido Nature and Science Reserve. The building is one of the only remnants of the Edo period in Hokkaido.