Kakunodate is a traditional castle town in northeastern Japan with the outstanding beauty of cherry blossoms luring millions of tourists every year. Located in the city of Senboku in Akita prefecture, the town is unique in featuring a pair of different tastes of nationally preserved landscapes with the pink petals. Kakunodate hosts the Sakura Festival from April 20 to May 5.
Kakunodate is a town of cherry blossoms with more than 2,000 cherry trees. But it is also famous for “Bukeyashiki” or samurai residences which retain the atmosphere of the Edo Period. The Bukeyashiki Street is lined with about 450 weeping cherry trees. When they are in bloom, the weeping pink petals stand out against the background of the black wooden fences of well-preserved samurai houses. Of the total, 162 weeping cherry trees are designated as national natural treasures. Over 90% of the cherry trees on the street are weeping cherry trees, which have a history of about 350 years. Back then, a noble lady brought three saplings of the tree from Kyoto as a part of her marital package. These saplings have grown to hundreds of weeping cherry trees as they are.
The other spot for cherry blossoms is on the bank of the Hinokinaigawa River. A row of cherry trees continues as long as two kilometers along the river. The area is preserved as a place of scenic beauty.
Cherry trees in Kakunodate blossom about one month later than those in eastern Japan such as Tokyo. Nevertheless, the life of the flowers is brief. In 2014, the cherry trees in the town were in full bloom on the three days of April 29, 30 and May 1.
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