In the heart of Aomori Prefecture lies Hirosaki Park, a captivating haven where nature's beauty takes centre stage. Celebrated as Tohoku region’s most famous cherry blossom spot — from cherry blossom tunnels to petal-filled moats — Hirosaki Park is adorned with over 2,600 cherry trees, showcasing a diverse array of more than 50 varieties. From the classic somei-yoshino to the elegant shidarezakura and luxurious yaezakura, this spot is a modern-day botanical treasure trove. Cherry blossoms here usually grace the landscape from late April to early May, creating a breathtaking panorama that attracts admirers from within Japan and around the world.
The park also plays home to a cherry blossom showcase in winter. It may be unthinkable for cherry blossoms to appear much earlier than their forecasted date, or even earlier than plum blossoms which bloom in late January. Still, they do — in the form of the Winter "Cherry Blossoms" Light Up event that is usually held from December to February.
The light-up involves snow-laden branches of the cherry trees adorned with 140 delicate pink LED projectors, casting an ethereal glow that mimics the blossoms in full bloom against the backdrop of the iconic Hirosaki Castle. As temperatures dip, the park becomes a frozen paradise, with the moat reflecting the sakura-coloured lights, recreating the poetic hanaikada, or "flower raft" phenomenon where cherry blossoms float along the water's surface after dropping from nearby trees.