It’s almost time to start planning your “sakura” trip to Japan. Considering it can be quite difficult to hit the bull’s eye when it comes to timing, it is best to make a note of various spots around Tokyo or other major cities where cherry blossoms bloom slightly later or earlier than the city.
One such spot is the Arakurayama Sengen Park. What makes this place special is the spectacular view of Mt. Fuji, the Chureito Pagoda and the gentle pink cherry blossoms.
This place is easily accessible by train or bus from Tokyo. You can take the bus up to Lake Kawaguchi or Fuji-Q Highland and then take a train up to Shimoyoshida Station (下吉田) on Fuji Kyuko Line.
There are plenty of signs pointing out toward the hill. Since this spot is up on a hill, make sure you wear comfortable shoes and are prepared to climb around 400 steps.
As you climb up, don’t forget to turn around and hope to catch a glimpse of the self-effacing majestic Mt. Fuji.
The steps are also lined with cherry blossoms and each year during cherry blossom season, there is a tiny matsuri (festival) by the temple at the foothill.
As you can expect, there will be crowds so if you want some peaceful time, it is best to visit in the early morning hours.
Having said that, you can enjoy sitting under the fully bloomed blossoms along the sides of the Pagoda.
There are about 650 cherry blossom trees, so there is enough for everyone!
Peak blossom period based on previous years: early April
Usually a week after the peak in Tokyo.
Arakurayama Sengen Park
Address: 3353-1 Arakura, Fujiyoshida-shi, Yamanashi
Access: 20-min walk from Shimoyoshida Station on Fuji Kyuko Line
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/tmbeRQMTygu