May 11, 2011

Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Event 2011

Kakunodate Town (角館町)in Semboku City is known for beautiful cherry blossoms. The blossoms were enjoyed during the Golden Week, which is the largest holiday week in Japan. Kakundate Town hosted the annual cherry blossoms event between April 22nd and May 8th. Although, the event was slightly downsized due to the consideration to the disaster-stricken regions, it still welcomed travelers in the same beautiful scenery along the Hinokinai River and streets amongst the Samurai Houses.]

The Hinokinai River Bank in Kakunodate

The number of tourists who visited during the cherry blossoms week was estimated as 664,000 people, which is 20 % less than the last year. There were fewer group travelers; the number of large buses parked in the main lot on the river did not even exceed 10% of the average year!

However, on both May 3rd and 4th, they welcomed the average number of guests (about 140,000 – 150,000 people). They were welcomed in stage performances of traditional dancers and food tents.

Traditional Dance Performance on Stage

Cherry Blossoms Tunnel along the Hinokinai River in Kakunodate is designated as one of the 100 most beautiful cherry blossom viewing spots of Japan. It is worth a visit – you will know once you are there! Walking through the pink tunnel is delightful both during the day and at night !

The Cherry Blossoms Tunnel along the Hinokinai River

Food / Activity Tents near the Performance Stage and Main Parking Area

The main parking lot is called Sakura-namiki-chushajo (桜並木駐車場), literally means “Parking Lot of Cherry Blossoms Rows”. Next to it you could find a stage and food/activity tents. (This is also where the Hiburi-kamakura event is held in February.)

Many different things were found. There were different types of meat on skewers chicken, beef, pork, wild pigs as well as some broiled Japanese char and other things. The two-colored Miso-Tanpo, which had a purple Shiso flavor was added to the conventional brown sweet Miso, was outstanding! It could be a place where the local chefs show off their inventions. This is where many B-Class Gourmet dishes like Jindai Curry and Yokote Yakisoba are born!

Many people flocked to try activities like catching gold fish and color balls. Traditional crafts and wild plants were sold there as well.

Next year, the Kakunodate Cherry Blossoms Festival will be back to the normal size! It will bring in average of 900K people during the blooming days that last only 10 days. There is a reason for that! It will be your turn to find out why.

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