Make the most of sakura season in Gunma
Last updated: December 21, 2020
Spring in Japan is synonymous with cherry blossoms, or “sakura.” The blossoms’ opening is so eagerly anticipated that scientists monitor trees across the country to predict the exact date they will be in full bloom. The fleeting season is traditionally enjoyed with cherry blossom viewing parties known as “hanami,” which usually involve lengthy picnics under the trees. Take part in festivals across Gunma where you can experience delicate cherry blossoms and savor local food against a backdrop of the prefecture’s beautiful scenery.
Walk a vibrant 1.3 kilometer stretch of cherry-blossom-lined road near Maebashi in mid-April. Beyond, fields of bright yellow rapeseed flowers add to the spectacle.
This lively event features various events and entertainment, plenty of food stalls, and at night, the blossom is illuminated.
Byakue Dai-Kannon, the towering, 41.8-meter-high statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy in Takasaki, is framed by Yoshino cherry and wild cherry trees. In early April, thousands of cherry trees flower simultaneously at the statue’s base in Mt. Kannon. Find the perfect vantage point of this iconic Gunma landmark framed by pink blossoms. At night, the trees are illuminated, creating wonderful photo opportunities.
Around 5,000 cherry trees grow in Sakura no Sato, a park in the foothills of Mt. Myogi. From mid-April to mid-May, these delicate flowers contrast with the craggy peaks above. Sakura no Sato has a relatively long flowering season because its 45 or so cherry tree varieties flower at different times. Picnic under the trees and enjoy the rocky mountainside beyond.
Be transported to the Edo period (1603-1867) at the Castle Town Obata Cherry Blossom Festival. During the festival, residents dressed in samurai garb parade through cherry blossom-lined streets. Well-preserved samurai residences and pretty waterways add to the historical atmosphere. Take part in the revelry by picnicking on local festival food under the cherry trees.
Cherry blossoms and carp-shaped streamers called “koinobori” share the spotlight at the Tatebayashi Cherry Blossom Festival. The streamers are strung across the Tsuruuda River and flanked by 650 blossoming cherry trees. This festive scene is a beautiful way to welcome the spring season.
There are two opportunities each year to see the 7,000 winter cherry blossom trees in Sakurayama Park in bloom. Fuyuzakura, a rarer type of cherry tree found here, flowers from mid-November to mid-December and spring. In spring, 3,000 Somei yoshino trees bloom, too. A festival is held throughout the winter blossom period in autumn, during which warming food is served, and trees around the pond in the Japanese garden are illuminated after sunset.