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5 Must-See Cherry Blossom Sites in Hokuriku

| Cherry Blossoms , Hokuriku
5 Must-See Cherry Blossom Sites in Hokuriku

Hokuriku, the northwestern region of Japan's largest island, has many quaint and historical places with great views of sakura. We present to you five spots that were listed among Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom Viewing Sites. These locations are just too good to miss during a springtime visit to Japan!

5. Maruoka Castle (Sakai, Fukui)

The first popular viewing site in Hokuriku on our list is Maruoka Castle, famous for having the oldest wooden keep in Japan (and home to a frightful legend). The fictitious castle in the 1985 movie "Ran," directed by legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, was reportedly modeled Maruoka Castle. But aside from these famous connections, about 400 cherry trees grow on the site and fans flock to the castle in droves to admire them. The Maruoka interchange on the Hokuriku Highway is nearby, meaning you can easily reach the castle by car.

- www.maruoka-kanko.org (Japanese)

4. Asuwagawa River (Fukui City, Fukui)

Fukui Prefecture also has many popular cherry blossom viewing sites. The banks of Asuwagawa River, which runs through the central part of Fukui City, is a great representative. The 2.2-kilometer (1.37-mile) riverbank from Kidabashi Bridge to Shinakaribashi Bridge has about 600 cherry trees, all blooming in spring. The entire sight is undoubtedly remarkable. Another famous viewing spot, Asuwayama, is also nearby. Rent a bike and take a short mountain ride for awe-inspiring cherry blossoms.

- www.sozai.fuku-e.com (Japanese)

3. Takaoka Old Castle Park (Takaoka, Toyama)

3. Takaoka Old Castle Park (Takaoka, Toyama)

In Toyama Prefecture, another viewing site, Takaoka Old Castle Park, will astound cherry blossom lovers. Here, there are about 1,800 cherry trees and a flood of flowers blooming in spring. While the white and pink flowers in the daylight will surely stir your emotions, the romantic blossoms under the light of small, paper-shaded lamps at night may make your eyes moist. Spend a day to see both aspects of the cherry blossoms. And for an even more lovely experience, a boat tour around the moat also awaits you.

- www.info-toyama.com (Japanese)

2. Matsukawa River (Toyama City, Toyama)

2. Matsukawa River (Toyama City, Toyama)

Another must-see viewing site is along the Matsukawa River in Toyama Prefecture. We've previously written about the splendid 500 cherry trees along the river banks that attract a large number of tourists and residents in the spring. A riverboat drifts under the magnificent cherry tree tunnel awaiting you and you can have meals and drinks aboard the boat. But be sure to make a reservation early if you'd like to have lunch or dinner on the boat.

- www.info-toyama.com (Japanese)

1. Kenrokuen Garden (Kanazawa, Ishikawa)

The absolute must-see spot for cherry blossoms is Kenrokuen Garden, which is a three-Michelin-starred garden in the central part of Kanazawa. Kenrokuen has about 420 beautiful cherry trees on its property that are truly incredible. But near the garden's large gate, where a few Japanese style tea houses stand (such as Kenjou-tei and Mansei-tei), admirable cherry trees can also delight your eyes.

Across Ohori-dori, the wide street along the garden that's also called Hyakken-bori, Kanazawa Castle Park looms. There you can also find plenty of cherry trees and you can even have a cherry-blossom-viewing picnic, called hanami, there.

- www.hot-ishikawa.jp (Japanese)