Japan

Basic information of Kyushu and famous place map of the cherry trees

Japan has a temperate climate and four seasons. It’s hot and humid in the summer and cold in the winter. And you know, you can see beautiful cherry blossoms in March and April in Japan.

This time, I’d like to explain ” cherry blossoms” (sakura) of Kyushu (九州). Kyushu is the third biggest island of Japan and most southwesterly of its four main islands. So, Kyushu has a relatively warm climate, and is the  fastest place to see cherry blossoms in Japan.

 

 

 

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The island (Kyushu) is mountainous, and Japan’s most active volcano, Mt Aso at 1,591 metres (5,220 ft), is on Kyushu. There are many other signs of tectonic activity, including numerous areas of hot springs. The most famous of these are in Beppu,  on the east shore, and around Mt. Aso, in central Kyushu. The island is separated from Honshu by the Kanmon Straits.

The name Kyūshū comes from the nine ancient provinces. However, today’s Kyushu Region is a politically defined region that consists of the seven prefectures on the island of Kyushu, plus Okinawa Prefecture to the south:

 

 

 

 

  • Northern Kyushu
    • Fukuoka Prefecture
    • Saga Prefecture
    • Oita Prefecture
    • Nagasaki Prefecture
    • Kumamoto Prefecture

 

  • Southern Kyushu
    • Miyazaki Prefecture
    • Kagoshima Prefecture
    • Okinawa Prefecture

 

 

※ As of 2016, Kyushu has a population of about 13,000,000
 
 
 

◉ Transportation

Kyushu is linked to the larger island of Honshu by the Kanmon Tunnels, which carry both the Sanyo Shinkansen and non-Shinkansen trains, as well as vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic. The Kanmon Bridge also connects the island with Honshu. So come to Kyushu and enjoy it!

 

Kyushu-Shinkansen

 

 

Kyushu is famous for its volcanoes and hot springs (Beppu, Kurokawa,Unzen and more). The emphasis is on Japanese-style accommodation. Enjoy staying in traditional ryokan with a tatami-mat floor, sleeping on futons, and many ryokan have their own hot spring bathing facilities.

 

 

 

🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸

 

OK!

See our cherry blossom map. Below is a list of some of Kyushu’s most popular sakura spots with the typical timing for best viewing in the average year.

 

 

 

 

Kyushu

 

◎ Nagasaki
Omura Park , Nagasaki

 

In Omura Park you’ll find the ruins of Kushima Castle, the ancestral home of the Omura clan (consequently the castle is sometimes known at Omura Castle), where 2,000 cherry blossom trees light up (until 11.p.m.) in spring.

And the park has been selected as one of “Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots”. Omura Sakura is said to be the most graceful cherry blossom with 60 to 100 petals per flower, while the ordinal cherry blossom has 5 petals.

(At the beginning of summer, some 300,000 irises bloom in the park.)

 

 

Peace Park, Nagasaki

 

Another of Nagasaki’s more surprising cherry blossom spotting locations is the Peace Park – an area designated as a memorial to Nagasaki’s atomic bombing. Though the Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum are usually reserved for more sombre visits, during spring the 500 cherry blossom trees flourish to create a perfectly pink, harmonious hanami experience for visitors.

After the disaster, experts suggested the area would be barren for around 70 years, yet just a month later plants began to spring, and the area is now sprinkled with sakura trees, some of which were donated by those with connections to Nagasaki during its more troubled time.

 

 

Flowering Season:  Late March to early April.

Address and access:  Matsuyamamachi tram stop for Nagasaki Peace Park. Omura Park is a 20 minute walk from JR Omura station.

 

 

 

◎ Fukuoka
Fukuoka Castle (Maizuru Park)

 

About a thousand cherry trees are planted in Maizuru Park among the ruins of Fukuoka Castle. The spacious park provides lots of green space for hanami parties and spectacular views from the observation platform in the former main citadel (honmaru).

 

 

Flowering Season:  Late March to early April.

Address and access:  5-10 minute walk south of Ohori Koen Station. 

Admission: Free

 

 

 

◎ Kumamoto
Kumamoto Castle

 

Kumamoto Castle is by far the city’s most popular cherry blossom spot. Nearly a thousand cherry trees are planted across the castle grounds and in the adjacent public parks. Trees are lit up in the evening.

 

Flowering Season:  Late March to early April.

Address and access:  10 minute tram ride from Kumamoto Station.

Admission:  500 yen, 8:30 to 17:30 (longer hours during cherry blossom season)

 

 

Take in Mt.Aso, one of the largest volcanoes in the world: it is an active volcano but you can take the cablecar right to the summit and peer into the crater itself, conditions permitting.

And a tour in Kyushu would not be complete without a visit to Kumamoto, which boasts a magnificent castle from the Edo period, carefully restored.

 

Kumamoto Castle

 

Quake-damaged Kumamoto Castle

 

Damaged stone walls are seen May 11, 2016 at Kumamoto Castle in the city of Kumamoto…

However, it’s much better now.

 

 

 

Finally…

The season of beautiful sakura and hanami parties is back! The sakura front, that is the line of blooming trees across the islands of Japan, begins in the most southern islands of Okinawa around February, it then moves up through the Japan, finally ending in Hokkaido in May.

This gives us a plenty of time to fit in a lot of hanami parties in our to do lists😃

 

One day, I went to Fukuoka Castle when the blossoms were in full bloom. It is one of the best sakura spots I have ever visited! The park and castle are particularly popular during cherry blossom season when a big festival is held there. About a thousand cherry trees of 18 varieties are planted in Maizuru Park among the ruins of Fukuoka Castle.

The castle grounds are beautiful, quiet and serene. The castle has not had any restoration yet so it feels authentic and old. There are only remains, but still so impressive and has an old world charm to it. Among the few surviving or reconstructed castle buildings are some gates and guard towers, scattered across the castle grounds. The beautiful combination yet contrast of the castle ruins and the cherry blossoms are breathtaking😊
 
 
A number of walking paths are lined with cherry trees so that visitors can walk through a tunnel of flowers, and there are also plenty of lawned areas for holding hanami parties under the blossoms. We were there on a Sunday afternoon and the Maizaru Park gardens surrounding the castle walls were full of picnickers, sitting on plastic sheets, drinking beer and having a lovely time under the beautiful sakura trees.

The cherry blossoms and the castle walls are lit up at night from 18:00 to 22:00 during the sakura season and you can enjoy the blossoms in a little different atmosphere than daytime. Also, there are a variety of food stalls so that you don’t remain hungry☺️
 
 
Fukuoka Castle is now a ruined castle in the center of Fukuoka city that dates from the early Edo Period. Fukuoka Castle was built in the beginning of the 17th century by Kuroda Nagamasa, who was appointed lord of the surrounding Chikuzen feudal domain (part of today’s Fukuoka Prefecture). The Kuroda clan ruled from the castle for more than two centuries until the abolition of the feudal system in 1870.

The best time to visit the castle ruins is usually between late March and early April, when Maizuru Park turns into the city’s most pleasant spot for cherry blossom viewing😀

 

 

 

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