How Ishikawa’s cherry blossoms are a sign of hope

Ishikawa's cherry blossoms have returned as sakura season takes hold.

Ishikawa is blossoming

With the short life of a cherry blossom being associated with fleeting things, we hope this is a sign that the nature of this pandemic, which has effectively put international travel on hold, will be just a fleeting.

While we can’t travel to Japan to see Ishikawa Prefecture painted pink, here's a selection of the best cherry blossom spots from across the region, which can be visited year after year, to calm and remind us all of the constant renewal and beauty of nature.

Pictured: Kanazawa Castle, credit Ishikawa Prefecture

1. Kanazawa Castle
Elevating the prefecture's significance in Japan's feudal history, the castle town of Kanazawa has flourished since the Edo period, with Kanazawa Castle as its centrepiece. The castle grounds are open and free for visitors to enter year-round, with the historic castle at its most beautiful when the 400 cherry trees within the grounds begin to blossom. The park outside the grounds is also a good place for a picnic and views of the blossoms. A highlight, from early to mid-April, is when the castle is lit up in the evening.

Pictured: Cherry blossoms adorn Kenrokuen Garden, credit Ishikawa Prefecture

2. Kenrokuen Garden
One of the three great gardens of Japan, Kenrokuen, comes alive with cherry blossom every April as pathways become corridors of pink blooms. Some of the best photo spots in the garden are Hanami-bashi (which translates as flower-viewing bridge), a wooden bridge framed by yoshino cherries with reflections of the blossoms on the water below, and a panoramic shot across the garden's 420-plus sakura (Japanese cherry) trees from the north side of the park. With more than 40 varieties at Kenrokuen, the rare Sphaeranthus cherry blossoms are a must-see, with a unique shape and colour that changes as the season progresses.

Kenrokuen Garden is also illuminated in the evenings during cherry blossom season, with free admission for visitors. 

Noto Kashima station

Pictured: Noto Kashima Train Station, credit Ishikawa Prefecture

3. The Station of Cherry Blossoms
The quaint Noto Kashima Station is popularly known as Sakura-eki or the Station of Cherry Blossoms. With the arrival of spring, many someiyoshino (a cherry blossom variety) trees blossom on both the sides of train tracks, creating a ‘sakura tunnel’ effect that visitors on the train can pass through and enjoy from their seats, with full bloom from mid to late April.

The station is located in the Noto Peninsula’s Hosu district. Visitors can catch a train on the Nanao line, which will pass through the tunnel of blossoms from the neighbouring town of Anamizu, and once at Noto Kashima Station visitors can enjoy a five-minute walk to Soro shrine or a 10-minute walk to Kashima shrine. From Kanazawa, visitors can take a one-hour express train from Kanazawa Station, changing to the Noto Tetsudo railway line at Wakura Onsen Station, approximately 30 mins.

Pictured: Daishoji River cruise, credit Ishikawa Prefecture

4. Daishoji River cruise
Cherry blossom season can be experienced far from the crowds - floating on a wooden riverboat along the Daishoji River. Visitors can marvel at the blossoms along the river banks as they pass through the old castle city of Kaga. This peaceful 30-minute journey is enhanced by the lapping of water and the sounds of the boatmen singing melancholic Japanese folk songs. Bliss!

From Kanazawa, Daishoji is a 30-minute train ride, with a 15-minute walk to reach the boat.

Pictured: Kurikara Fudoji Temple, credit Ishikawa Prefecture

5. Kurikara Fudoji Temple
The Tsubata-Machi region of Ishikawa is rooted in historic significance, as the site of a famous battle in 1184, as well as being a hub for nature enthusiasts with Ishikawa Forest Park at its heart. The region's real treasure, though, is the Kurikara Fudoji Temple, which is shrouded in cherry blossoms each April. The temple was built in 718 by Empress Gensho – one of only eight female leaders in Japan's history.

A 12-minute taxi ride from Kurikara Station, this spot can be reached by train from Kanazawa via trains travelling to Toyama or Tomari, connecting with the Ainokaze Toyama line.

Ishikawa is a year-round destination that forms part of an alternative ‘golden route’ through Japan. (the known tourist path for first-time visitors that encompasses train travel from Tokyo via Osaka to Kyoto). Following the opening of the bullet train route through Kanazawa in 2015 (which also starts in Tokyo and continues to Kyoto), an adventurous new experience for all is available, immersing travellers in Ishikawa’s history, traditions and natural beauty.

Why not Discover Ishikawa?

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