Matsushiro Spring Cherry Blossom Festival
The Matsushiro Spring Cherry Blossom Festival takes place on the second Saturday of April, within the grounds of Matsushiro Castle Park. The majority of the original castle was removed in the late-19th century before fire destroyed all remaining original buildings, leaving only the stone walls and surrounding moat as testament to what once stood.
Several buildings were restored in 2004 and the inner sanctuary now boasts many mature cherry blossoms trees, the focus of this very local spring festival. Typically blooming in the first week of April, the festival is planned to coincide with the expected peak bloom – referred to as ‘mankai’ in Japanese – with events and performances celebrating the samurai heritage of Matsushiro.
Running from 09:00 in the morning, families and friends head to the park for ‘hanami’ (flower-viewing) and to enjoy the events and food vendors selling spring snacks and drinks. At night, the grounds of the castle park glow pink and red as around 500 paper lanterns offer soft light underneath the trees.
The spring festival is the first of two annual festivals in Matsushiro, the other being the Matsushiro Autumn Sanada Clan Jumangoku Festival in October.