The Sakura Festival of Kakunodate

(Senboku CIty, Akita)

A faint red tinge has come to the tips of the flowering cherry trees. It is the sign that spring has come at long last to Kakunodate. Blossoms from weeping cherry trees drape gracefully down over the old samurai district and form an elegant tunnel of branches along the riverside, filling the town with a sweet, delicate pink cloud; the beginning of a bright new season.

Three-hundred fifty years ago, a noble lady from Kyoto brought as part of her dowry three saplings. From those humble beginnings many years have passed, and those saplings have become the famous Weeping Cherries of Kakunodate. Delicate pink blossoms shine against the black boards of samurai mansion walls, making the town a study of elegant contrasts. The Hinokinaigawa River’s Bank of Somei Yoshino Trees.

The river that runs through the town is lined with cherry trees, the pride of the district. When one imagines Japanese cherry trees, the Somei Yoshino are the first image to spring to mind. This bank began as a planting to commemorate the birth of a new imperial heir in 1934. Now they form a tunnel of cherry blossoms two kilometers in length, nationally recognized as a place of outstanding beauty. When in full bloom the petals cover the branches, given the impression of being completely enveloped in flowers.