Cherry Blossoms off the Beaten Path
Sakura season has already begin in many areas of Japan. Throughout the country, there are numerous places to view these iconic cherry blossoms. In Hyogo Prefecture, many will point to the ones at Himeji Castle or Kinosaki Onsen, but the truth is that there are gorgeous cherry blossom spots in even the most unknown places.
Takarazuka's Street of Flowers
Takarazuka is a city known for being the birthplace of Takarazuka Revue, an all-female theater troupe, and the inspiration for Osamu Tezuka, the “Founder of Manga”. In celebration of the city’s artistic roots, visitors can visit Hana no Michi, or “Street of Flowers”. Leading from Takarazuka Station to the Takarazuka Grand Theater, this path has a number of artistic works and sights, such as a sculpture of The Rose of Versailles. As the name suggests, the path sports various flowers throughout the year, including cherry blossoms during the beginning of April. Visitors can appreciate the Western, artistic atmosphere in contrast with the Japanese cherry blossoms.
Takeda Castle is known for being a “castle in the sky” with the sea of clouds that surrounds the castle ruins on late fall mornings. In springtime, however, the old cherry trees in the castle ruins are in full bloom. The probability of a sea of
clouds appearing at this time of year is low, but when visitors who are lucky enough to see it can enjoy a spectacular view. Even if there is no sea of clouds, the cherry blossoms decorating the castle ruins creates a traditional Japanese scene. Visitors can walk up to the castle ruins in about 20-30 minutes.
Sumaura Sanjo Yuen Park
At the foot of Mr. Hachibuse, this park was an old battlefield from the Warring States period and was created to commemorate the accession of Emperor Showa to the throne. Visitors can take a ropeway up to the top of the mountain and view cherry blossoms against the
backdrop of Kobe Airport, Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (one of the world's largest suspension bridges) and the Seto Inland Sea. This mountaintop park has an observation tower, a cycle monorail, and fun character minicars. A great spot for families any time of year!
While in Japan, we encourage those to explore sakura both on and off the beaten path. Hyogo Prefecture is the perfect destination for finding cherry blossoms in all sorts of places, including picturesque paths, castle ruins, and parks.
Sweets for Sakura Season
Many people like to participate in hanami, or flower viewing, while the cherry blossoms are in bloom. One popular way to enjoy hanami is by having a picnic near or underneath sakura trees. Two sweets that have become nearly synonymous with hanami are sakuramochi and sanshoku dango.
Sakuramochi is a sweet consisting of a pink-colored mochi with a red bean paste center and wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom leaf. The Kansai-style version uses glutinous rice flour rather than regular rice flower.
Also known as hanami dango, sanshoku dango is a treat has dumplings made of a rice flour mixture. In this version of dango, there are three colors: pink representing cherry buds, white representing cherry blossoms in full bloom, and green representing leafy cherry blossoms after they have fallen.
Hyogo Prefecture is easily reachable from Osaka and Kyoto by JR train. The Hyogo Tourism Bureau provides more detailed information about traveling to and within the prefecture.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about Hyogo Prefecture or the Kansai region.