With spring just around the corner, Japan is gearing up for yet another cherry blossom season. Whilst Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka count amongst the most popular viewing spots for Japan’s iconic floral spectacle, there are a range of lesser-known, equally enticing spring experiences available for those travellers wanting to experience the magic of the sakura season away from the crowds.
According to Visit Kinosaki, this spring is not only the perfect time to get an offbeat cherry blossom experience but also marks the beginning of a season full of other ‘off-the-tourist track’ highlights to be explored by discerning travellers.
‘From watching the blossoms in a historic castle town, sampling traditional soba noodles, to enjoying some of Japan’s best ryokans, the possibilities to experience the ‘real’ Japan this cherry blossom season are endless’ said Alison Roberts-Brown, former long-term Japan resident and Director of Tourism Garden, representative of Visit Kinosaki in Australia.
According to Ms Roberts-Brown, the best ‘offbeat’ spring time experiences to be had in 2018 include:
Watch the cherry blossoms in a different light
Watching the blossoms lit up at night time can be just as magical as watching them during the day. The Otani River along Kiyamachi Road provides the most idyllic of settings to view the illuminated blossoms. For the ultimate cherry blossom ‘fairy tale’, head to “Izushi Castle Town”, about 40 minutes from Kinosaki.
Enjoy a Spring Onsen
Although often associated with snow and icy temperatures, visiting an onsen in spring is just as indulging. And what better place could there be to do so than in Japan’s ‘Best Hot Spring Resort Town’ itself? From outdoor cave baths to ice saunas, Kinosaki’s bath houses are the ultimate wellness heaven.
Stay in a Traditional Ryokan
The perfect way to delve deep into Japanese culture and heritage. One of Kinosaki’s most luxurious ryokans, Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei, received a full makeover in 2017 and is ready to show off its refreshed look this cherry blossom season.
Sample Local Cuisine
The Kinosaki area is renowed for its local specialties, such as fresh matsuba crab (snow crab), hand-made soba noodles and Tajima beef. If you can’t get enough of the local food, head to the Izushi Soba eating party held 15th April 2018.
Nearby Izushi also hosts a variety of other spring events in March and April, kicking off with Hatsuuma Festival (16-18 March 2018), celebrating the arrival of a new spring and the Cherry Blossom Festival (24 March- 30 April 2018) where you can watch the blossoms and enjoy exciting entertainment including foodie events.