It's late in the spring, and you've just realized that you've missed seeing the cherry blossoms this year! Never fear! In the northern parts of the country late blooming cherry trees are still decorated with blossoms for your ohanami pleasure! Below is a short list of some famous sites, and don't forget to check out hints for taking memorable photos that will be listed at the end of the article.
So c'mon and hustle up north to see these end-of-season-beauties, because when these are gone, the blossoms will really be gone - until next year!
Hirosaki Park (Aomori)
Hirosaki Park, in the southwest section of Aomori prefecture, is a public park containing the famous Hirosaki Castle ruins. Most of the original parts of the castle, which was built in 1611, have been beautifully preserved and the castle tower, wooden stage and gate have all been appointed important cultural properties. The grounds of the park enclose 2,600 cherry trees of fifty different varieties, and the view is so spectacular that the park has been designated as one of the top 100 locations for cherry blossom viewing in Japan. Nightime visitors are treated to a vision of illuminated trees for a hauntingly beautiful sight. Hirosaki Sakura Festival is scheduled to be held from April 23 to May 6, 2015.
For more information about Hirosaki area, please visit here.
Kitakami City Park Tenshochi (Iwate)
Also known as one of the top 100 cherry blossom sights, this park also has the honor of being one of the three most beautiful ohanami sites in northern Japan. Old Somei Yoshino trees, over 90 years old, are aligned in a row extending for one and one-quarter miles. The park is 724 acres, and, in addition to the Somei Yoshino trees, features 10,000 cherry trees of 150 varieties, all blossoming at different times during the season, finishing with the Beni Yamazakura in early May. Visitors may view the blossoms along the Kitakami river from the Jingaoka Hills within the park. Don't miss the Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom Festival, held each year in the park from April 15 to May 5.
For more information on Iwate, please visit here.
Nagoya Castle (Aichi)
A very popular sightseeing location, Nagoya Castle (with golden fish-shaped ornaments on the roof edges) has about ten different kinds of cherry trees including “Gyoiko”, a very rare variety of cherry, known for its delicate green blooms, which blossom late in the season. As with many other sites, the trees are illuminated at night for picturesque evening scenery. Even though the castle is currently undergoing renovation, the blossoms can be enjoyed within the castle grounds uninterrupted.
For more information on Nagoya Castle, please visit here.
Goryokaku Park (Hokkaido)
Located in the city of Hakodate, Goryokaku Park houses Goryokaku, which was originally a fort. The building was designed in the shape of a five-sided star, and has been declared a Special Historical Site. The Hakodate city museum is housed there. Within the park are 1,600 cherry trees, including Somei Yoshino and Yaezakura which usually come into full bloom in late April. The trees are planted along the moat and the inside of the star-shaped castle wall ruins. Visitors may enjoy leisurely viewing the blossoms as they relax on a boat ride along the moat.
For more information, please visit here.
Some of the best shots of the blossoms are when they are about 50% open (so you can get some unopened buds, too) to 100% open.
If you are too late for the open blossoms, avoiding shooting them if they are past their prime and drooping on the branch and focus instead on freshly fallen petals on the ground or water-even as they drift through the air on a gentle breeze-they are said to look like snow flakes!
Morning is the best time of day for your shots because there are no shadows which will reflect on your subject. If you can't shoot early enough, blossoms illuminated at night are also extremely photogenic.
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