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Castles and Japanese Gardens! Top 5 Cherry Blossom Spots in Hokuriku

The Hokuriku Region of Japan can be easily reached from Tokyo by bullet train. Enjoy cherry blossoms in Kanazawa, Toyama, Fukui, and other areas by the Sea of Japan. Learn the best cherry blossom viewing spots to visit in spring 2022.

2022.03.15

Cherry Blossoms in Kanazawa, Toyama, and by the Japan Sea

The Hokuriku Region includes the three prefectures of Ishikawa, Toyama, and Fukui. This region is on the northern side of the main island of Japan, and is close to the Sea of Japan. The area is easily accessed via the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo.

This spring, we encourage you to visit the popular Hokuriku Region and surround yourself with lovely pink cherry blossoms at fascinating history-rich places such as Kanazawa Castle and Kenrokuen Garden!

Cherry Blossom Forecast 2022

In 2022, the cherry blossoms are expected to bloom a little later than usual in the Hokuriku Region.

Place First Bloom Day Full Bloom Day
Kanazawa March 30 April 4
Fukui March 30 April 4
Toyama April 1 April 7

Famous Cherry Blossom Viewing Spot in Ishikawa

Ishikawa Prefecture is a very famous area in the Hokuriku Region. It is also referred to as “Little Kyoto” for its traditional Japanese atmosphere. Here you'll discover many cherry blossom viewing spots where you can also enjoy Japan's history.

*Please note that in 2021, many cherry blossom festivals may be canceled in order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 outbreaks. If you are interested in a particular event, please make sure to check their official website for the latest information.

1. Kanazawa Castle

Kanazawa Castle

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

Kanazawa Castle is a Japanese castle that was built by the clan of Maeda Toshiie, who ruled the Kaga domain (*1). It is considered one of the 100 top castles in Japan.

*1: Kaga is the former term for the southern area of present-day Ishikawa Prefecture.

Kanazawa Castle

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

The prominent figure of Kanazawa, Maeda Toshiie, was a daimyo during the Sengoku Period. He embraced the newest trends and helped developed Kanazawa, laying the foundations for its current economic, cultural, and educational structure.

Kanazawa Castle

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

The life of Maeda Toshiie was portrayed and shown to the public with the 2002 NHK period drama television called “Toshiie to Matsu: Kaga Hyakumangoku Monogatari.” The drama tells about the love between Toshiie and his wife Matsu. It was popular with domestic viewers, and helped Kanazawa gain popularity, too.

Kanazawa Castle

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

Although some of the structures of Kanazawa Castle remain intact, the main tower (tenshukaku) and most main buildings were lost to fire. Still, the harmony of the white walls and pink cherry blossoms are a wonderful sight to behold.

Kanazawa Castle

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

Be sure to get a photo of Ishikawa Gate. The cherry trees in full bloom along the castle walls make the gate stand out beautifully! The sight of snowstorm-like blossoms dancing around it is truly moving.

2. Kenrokuen Garden

Kanazawa Castle

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

Kanazawa Castle

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

Kenrokuen is one of Three Great Gardens of Japan. This traditional garden was built for the lord who ruled this domain. It sits five minutes from the castle, connected to the castle by the Ishikawa Bridge.

Kanazawa Castle

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

hokuriku cherry blosoms

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

The spacious garden of Kenrokuen was designed to be enjoyed while walking. In addition to the cherry and plum trees, you can also admire various other local flowers and trees. You can look forward a beautiful view no matter when you visit!

Kanazawa Castle

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

The magnificent and refined culture of the Kaga domain is preserved here in Kenrokuen, now a major sightseeing spot in Kanazawa.

hokuriku cherry blossoms

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

The path connecting the Kenrokuen garden and Kanazawa Castle is decorated with many different species of the cherry tree. After admiring these historical sites, we suggest relishing some warm and delicious tea and dango (rice dumplings) under a blossoming tree and reliving the glorious past of the Kaga domain.

Toyama Prefecture

Toyama Prefecture lies east of Ishikawa Prefecture. It is known for the snow wall of Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, as well as the fairytale-like Gokayama historic village. You can also see some fascinating cherry blossoms!

3. Matsukawa Park

Matsukawa Park

Matsukawa River is a river in Toyama City that flows by Toyama Castle. It used to protect the Toyama Castle, and played an important role as a waterway for transport and travel purposes.

Matsukawa Park

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

There are more than 500 cherry trees lining the Matsukawa River. Since the river is narrow, the branches from the both sides intersect, creating a stunning cherry-blossom tunnel. This area is designated as one of the Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan.

Matsukawa Park

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

Matsukawa Park

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

If you’re planning your hanami (flower viewing) at the Matsukawa River, ride in a Matsukawa sightseeing boat! You’ll get to admire the wonderful pink ceiling completely made of cherry blossoms. You’ll feel as if you ended up in a fantastical paradise.

Matsukawa Park

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

Matsukawa Park

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

You’ll see seven bridges at the wider part of the river. Another fun part of riding the sightseeing boat is exchanging greetings with the people crossing each bridge.

Matsukawa Park

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

Matsukawa Park

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

It's an enjoyable experience to witness the cherry blossoms reflecting against the blue sky early in the morning. However, gazing upon the flowers at night and the illuminated Toyama Castle creates a one-of-a-kind feeling. This is an opportunity to admire yet another beautiful cherry blossom scene.

Fukui Prefecture

Fukui Prefecture is known as the "kingdom of dinosaurs,” due to the famous Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum. It's a hidden gem for cherry blossom viewing.

4. Cherry Tunnel of the Asuwa River

Asuwa River

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

Six hundred cherry trees grow beside the Asuwa River and create a spectacular tunnel when in full bloom. It is known as the “most magnificent cherry promenade in Japan,” and is also designated as one of the 100 Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan.

Asuwa River

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

The cherry tree tunnel of the Asuwa River is 2.2 km long. It's is a popular walking path in spring for people living in Fukui Prefecture.

Asuwa River

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

The riverbed is overflowing with cherry trees. The harmony of pink cherry blossoms with other colorful flowers will make you want to spend a whole day just lying on the riverbank admiring the scenery.

Asuwa River

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

As the sun goes down and it gets darker, the illumination brightens up the ambiance. From afar it looks truly picturesque!

Asuwa River

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

There aren’t as many people around at night, so you can enjoy a relaxing evening of cherry blossoms.

Asuwa River

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

Asuwa River

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

Asuwa River

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

We also recommend visiting Asuwa Shrine, a prominent local shrine, where you’ll find a 370-year old shidare (weeping) cherry, and can experience both day and night cherry blossoms.

You can observe the graceful beauty of the single shidare cherry and the impressive sight of hundreds of cherry trees.

Asuwa River
Address: Fukui, Fukui, Tsukumo 1 Google Map
Access: 15 minutes by foot from JR Fukui Station
Official Webpage: https://www.fuku-e.com/lang/english/places_to_visit/sakura.php

5. Maruoka Castle

Maruoka Castle

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

Maruoka Castle, also known as Kasumigajo, sits next to the Asuwa River. It is another spot that on the list of the 100 Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan.

Furthermore, it has one of the twelve remaining main castle towers in Japan and is designated as one of the Top 100 Castles in Japan. It's renowned for its stunning evening night cherry blossoms.

Maruoka Castle

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

Maruoka Castle

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

Maruoka Castle was built on a small hill, so it takes some climbing to reach it. However, the walk is very pleasant and romantic as you get to admire the cherry blossoms along the way up.

Maruoka Castle

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

北陸北陸北陸

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

The remarkable sight of golden sunlight finding its way through the cherry blossoms will stop you in your tracks and make you forget about the time.

北陸北陸北陸

Picture courtesy of HIDE & JELLY

When the sun sets, the night cherry blossom festival begins, allowing the visitors to take in a different view of the castle.

Enjoy the Cherry Blossoms!

The Hokuriku Region is an area where you can really appreciate cherry blossoms in the peaceful surroundings. This lovely region receives relatively fewer visitors compared to the Kanto and Kansai regions so you can enjoy the flowers leisurely. How about strolling and admiring cherry blossoms in Hokuriku this spring?

**This is an updated version of an article originally published on March 2, 2017.

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.