All About Japan

These Sakura Petals Float on a Moat

| Cherry Blossoms , Aomori

You won't want to miss seeing cherry blossoms at a river, or, if you want to be old-school, a castle with a moat. If you time your riverside cherry blossom viewing just slightly after the peak of sakura season, there’s a whole different way to enjoy them, called hana-ikada.

As we mentioned in our article on gorgeous sakura-carpeted landscapes, hana-ikada means “flower raft,” and refers to the clusters of cherry blossoms that float along the surface of a body of water after fluttering down from nearby trees. In the picture directly above, that’s not a broad pedestrian walkway with a carpet of freshly fallen sakura, but the moat of Hirosaki Castle in Aomori Prefecture.

Built in the early 17th century, Hirosaki Castle remains the most iconic symbol of the city of Hirosaki to this day. It’s also one of the most popular cherry blossom viewing destinations in the country, as both its perimeter and interior grounds are covered with cherry trees.

While most sakura are a delicate pale pink in color, some of them are also white, as can be seen in these two photos of hanaikada at Hirosaki Castle.

Due to its northern location, Aomori’s sakura bloom later than their Tokyo-area counterparts, so even if you miss the cherry blossom season in the Kanto region, take the Tohoku Shinkansen up to Aomori to view the fallen petals in Hirosaki moat.

Related Stories:
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The not-so-fleeting beauty of the cherry blossoms: An alternate perspective
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