Bullet Trains In Japan: Hokuriku Shinkansen To Start Service On March 14
A new addition to Japan's bullet train network, the Hokuriku Shinkansen, will start service on March. The new line will significantly reduce travel times between Tokyo, Toyama and Kanazawa.
Taking the Shinkansen to one of many viewing destinations assures cherry blossom fans will not miss out the short period during which the trees are in bloom.
Spring is the season for seeing Japan at its best. Starting from late March every year, enthusiasts gather in Tokyo, Osaka and many of Japan's other cities for the cherry blossoms. However, the very short bloom time, means that a number of overseas visitors often miss out.
East Japan Railway Company will take part in the Thai International Travel Fair held inThailand between February 25 and March 1 where the railway agency will give a presentation on the best travel routes for reaching the cherry blossoms while they are in bloom.
Mid-April - Hokuriku Shinkansen
According to information provided by East Japan Railway Company, the Hokuriku Shinkansen departs from Tokyo and travels northward, with stops in Nagano, Toyama and Kanazawa - the best spots for viewing cherry blossoms.
A one and a half hour ride from Tokyo delivers passengers to Niigata Prefecture's Joetsumyoko Station where Takada Castle, one of the three best locations in Japan for nighttime cherry blossoms viewing, is located. The locale assures an amazing viewing experience, with over 4,000 cherry trees illuminated by countless paper lanterns aligning the roads. CNNGo, CNN's travel site,lists Takada Castle as one of the five best blooming great flower festivals in the world. Traditional Japanese food and local food specialties sold from 300 outdoor stalls at the event during the festival assure each spectator an unforgettable time.
In addition, if you would like to visit the famous Zenko-ji Temple, get off at Nagano Station along the Hokuriku Shinkansen, and spend one night inNagano Prefecture. The Hotel Metropolitan Nagano adjacent to Nagano Station is convenient and good value for the price.
From mid- to late April - Tohoku Shinkansen
From mid- to late April, visit the ancient Miharu Takizakura cherry tree by taking theTohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Koriyama Station in Fukushima Prefecture. The over 1,000 year old tree stands 13.5 meters high, with a trunk diameter of 20 meters. One of the three giant cherry trees ofJapan, its light pink flowers spread in all directions from the branches, giving the appearance of a waterfall.
After late April - Akita Shinkansen
Visitors still can see blooming cherry blossoms in Japan after late April. Take theAkita Shinkansen from Tokyo directly to Kakunodate in Akita Prefecture. Kakunodate is known as "the littleKyoto of Michinoku", and attracts millions of visitors during cherry blossom season. Spend one night at Folkloro kakunodate, adjacent to Kakunodate Station, and feel refreshed for the entire day by enjoying a breakfast of Akitakomachi, a variety of rice that is a local specialty.
Cherry blossom viewing is not limited to Tokyo and late March. Various Shinkansen trains heading north fromTokyo provide a wide range of options for seeing cherry blossoms from mid-March to the end of April.