How you can Go to Kitakami’s Sakura Tunnel


Each time vacationers rent me to plan cherry blossom journeys, many resign themselves to a seeming inevitability. Seeing the sakura, they’ve satisfied themselves, requires contending with insane crowds.

However this isn’t all the time the case. In truth, relying on the place in Japan you intend to be, fairly the alternative might find yourself being true.

An amazing instance of that is the Kitakami cherry blossoms—specifically, the sakura tunnel at Kitakami Tenshochi Park, that are widespread amongst Japanese and Southeast Asian vacationers, however comparatively unknown to the remainder of the world.

Why Kitakami is Well-known, However Additionally Obscure

In my former dwelling of Thailand, the Kitakami sakura tunnel is among the most wanted locations in all of Japan. That is for just a few causes. First, as a result of the Japan Nationwide Tourism Group (JNTO) has gone out of its solution to market the Tohoku area to Thais. Second, as a result of so many Thais have ended up right here, the tunnel has gone viral on social media many occasions over.

Conversely, whereas this has occurred to a a lot lesser extent in another Asian international locations (and likewise domestically inside Japan), the identical has not been true in any Western market, and never even actually in bigger Jap markets like China or Taiwan. Consequently, though there are just a few hundred vacationers on the sprawling Kitakami Tenshochi Park at any given time, it merely doesn’t really feel overly crowded.

How you can Manage Your Kitakami Journey

Go by Shinkansen


As shocking because it could be, given the dimensions of town, Kitakami is a hub alongside the Shinkansen line. And a considerably main one at that, with sure super-fast Hayabusa departures stopping there. This makes getting there straightforward, whether or not from Tohoku cities like Sendai or Morioka, and even all the way in which from Tokyo.

Await a shuttle


Throughout cherry blossom season, there are shuttle buses that may take you from the east exit of Kitakami Station to Kitakami Tenshochi Park. These aren’t on a set timetable, however typically correspond with the arrival of Shinkansen. You possibly can ask station workers for related information.

(Or simply go on foot)


The excellent news? It’s solely about 20 minutes on foot from Kitakami Station to the northern path of Kitakami Tenshochi Park, the place the sakura tunnel begins. The dangerous information? There’s probably not quite a bit to see alongside the way in which, so though the trail is flat, it’s additionally boring.

Begin on the tunnel—however don’t cease there


Because the title of this part suggests, the Kitakami cherry blossom tunnel is the start and never the top of what to see right here. As you stroll southward by it, you’ll ultimately find yourself in a area that has music and dance; you possibly can even hike as much as Jingaoka Hill for a pleasant view.

Take pleasure in native snacks and drinks


Kitakami Tenshochi can also be well-known for its horse-drawn carriages, although these weren’t working after I went. Which is okay: I discover them a bit inhumane. What will certainly be obtainable, nonetheless, are numerous meals stalls, serving all method of Japanese foods and drinks. Oishii!

Ought to You Keep In a single day in Kitakami?

Kitakami is a effective little city, however the actuality is that apart from Kitakami Tenshochi Park and the Shinkansen station, there isn’t actually quite a bit to see or do there. Furthermore, for the reason that park doesn’t get very crowded even on the peak of sakura season, I’m undecided there’s a lot benefit to sleeping right here in an effort to be one of many first to reach. It’s straightforward sufficient to experience the bullet prepare in from Sendai and even all the way in which from Tokyo.

Then again, in case you actually wish to dig deep into off-the-beaten path Iwate prefecture (if, in different phrases, the Kitakami sakura will not be your solely purpose for wanting to remain right here), having a base right here may benefit you in different methods. Most notably, Hiraizumi is correct down the JR Tohoku Line from Kitakami; having the ability to discover these two idylls with out having to sleep in a giant metropolis might enchantment to some vacationers.

Different FAQ About Visiting Kitakami

Is Kitakami value visiting?

Kitakami is completely value visiting, assuming the cherry blossoms in Kitakami Tenshochi Park are in any respect bloom. In the event that they aren’t, there’s an argument to be made that there’s no level to go to the city, since that is actually its solely notable attraction.

How do I journey to Kitakami?

Kitakami sits immediately on the Tohoku Shinkansen line, making it handy to entry from many factors in Japan. All Nasuno Shinkansen trains (and even a number of the super-fast Hayabusa) departures cease right here, connecting you with different Tohoku cities like Sendai, Morioka and Aomori; you possibly can even come right here from Tokyo, if you would like.

What’s Kitakami identified for?

Kitakami is understood primarily for Kitakami Tenshochi, a riverside park that transforms right into a sakura “tunnel” throughout cherry blossom season yearly. Past this, it’s often called one of many hubs of the Tohoku Shinkansen, and has turn out to be an vital transportation heart within the Tohoku area consequently.

The Backside Line

The Kitakami cherry blossoms are a delight, regardless of when within the season you occur to reach—I loved the most effective of each worlds. Though the sakura tunnel was kind of at peak bloom after I acquired there earlier than midday, sturdy winds within the afternoon created a dramatic and blizzard-like hanafubuki to complete off the day. So though the tunnel’s iconic horse carriages weren’t going, I nonetheless really feel like I had an iconic and unforgettable expertise. Need assist creating your personal cherry blossom journey in Japan’s underrated Tohoku area? I do hope you’ll contemplate hiring me to plan your journey!



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