The Cherry Trees Hill in Fukushima
Hanamiyama Park is located in the south-east of Fukushima City, in the Tohoku area in Japan. Stretching on a small hill, this private park opens its beautifully flowered alleys every year. The more than 200,000 visitors are especially attracted by its various cherry tree species blooming in the beginning of spring.
Hanamiyama Park in Fukushima belongs to the Abe family and its origins date back to Isejiro Abe who worked in the silkworm industry in the early Showa Era (1926 – 1989). As Isejiro was considering to expand his businesses in the wake of the 1929 Great Depression, he decided to enter the ornamental flower market that was on the rise at the time. He therefore bought several small pieces of land on the slopes of a hill, that eventually became a larger garden. He grew many types of flowers to sell and ship throughout the country. Keen on sharing his passion with the greatest number of people, he opened his park to the public in 1959 and called it Hanamiyama Koen.
A visit staged for the spring season
Off the city center, the park is served by a dedicated bus line that only operates during the sakura 🌸 blooming season, usually from late March to mid-April. Hanamiyama Koen is therefore accessible in about fifteen minutes from the JR station by public transport. A parking is laid out in front of the entrance, along with a small information center that provides maps of the garden, and public lavatories (no toilets 🚽 available in the park).
Even before starting the visit, one can enjoy the view on the road hugged by fields of blooming rapeseed whose bright yellow perfectly mixes with the red and pink hues of the plum trees and cherry trees. This flowered countryside landscape is very pleasant and encourages to explore further the nature in its spring awakening.
A bucolic walk amidst the flowers
3 marked paths of 30, 45 or 60 minutes’ walk are available to discover the park. We recommend taking the longest route so as to go by the top of the hill that has an interesting elevated viewpoint.
The slopes, while a little bit steep sometimes, are usually accessible to most of the elderly Japanese visitors who climb without much effort, and always carrying their inseparable cameras 📷. However, good walking shoes are more appropriate than town footwear as you will tread on dirt paths, with stones and roots.
A few well-positioned observatories offer beautiful panoramas on the valley below. The one at the highest point of Hanamiyama Park is naturally the most spectacular, with:
- A diving view on the flowered hill;
- In the foreground, the quite dense urban fabric of Fukushima City; and,
- In the background the Adatara and Azuma mountain ranges, whose summits are still covered by snow caps in spring.
The abundance of vegetation in spring is stunning, and one cannot not be charmed by its aromas and bright and lively colors. Hanamiyama is certainly among the best sakura spots in the Tohoku. The place is also home to several various species of plants, trees and bushes that are thriving from spring to autumn 🍁 such as forsythias, azaleas, peaches, quinces, maples, magnolias and dogwoods.