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Won’t be in Japan in time for cherry blossoms? Tochigi’s wisteria festival is just as magical

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By Meg Murphy, RocketNews24

With the weather finally starting to warm up here in Japan, the ubiquitous cherry blossom trees are beginning to bloom all across the country, and people left and right are catching the sakura fever. Prized for their fleeting beauty, springtime in Japan is almost synonymous with the pretty pink flower, and everything from seasonal cherry blossom beer to sakura cakes mark the season.

Tourists the world over flock to Japan for the occasion, but with their exact bloom date a bit difficult to predict and only about a one-week window to see them in full bloom, planning your trip at just the right time can be pretty touch-and-go.

So what if you can’t make it to Japan in time to see the cherry blossoms in bloom? No need to fret - wisteria season is just around the corner. And if you’ll be in the Kanto area, which includes Tokyo, then magical, multi-colored tunnels of beautiful cascading flowers are just a train ride away.

The Ashikaga Flower Park is located in Tochigi Prefecture, about 80 kilometers north of the nation’s capital, and can be reached in about two hours by train from Shinjuku Station. The Wisteria Festival, or Fujinohana Monogatari Outou Matsuri, runs this year from April 15 to May 21. From April 22 to May 14, the park is also open for extended hours at night for their light-up displays, turning the tunnels of pink, purple, white, and yellow into an even more mystical wonderland.

In addition to admiring nature’s beautifully brilliant colors, park-goers can also get a taste of the fragrant flowers too, with purple wisteria ice cream and even wisteria noodles.

General admission is 900 to 1,700 yen for adults, depending on the day, and 500 to 800 yen for children. Night-time entry for the light-up display is 600 to 1,400 yen for adults and 300 to 700 yen for children. Be sure to check out their English website for up-to-date information and detailed directions!

Park Information Ashikaga Flower Park / あしかがフラワーパーク Address: Tochigi-ken Ashikaga-shi Hazamacho 607 栃木県足利市迫間町607 Open: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. (until 9 p.m. from April 22 – May 14) Website

Source: Ashikaga Flower Park

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Fukuoka’s “Wisteria Tunnel” delights visitors with pretty pastel petals -- 14 tips for visiting the Mt Fuji Shibazakura Festival, where beautiful “lawn sakura” blossom -- Kitakyushu’s spectacular wisteria tunnel is blooming! You don’t want to miss it!

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All the times I've missed the sakura by a couple of weeks... no idea about these... could do that this year :)

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