Takamori Senbonzakura (Sakura Road)
A thousand recommendations for this local sakura spot.
Nestled away in the soaring mountains of Aso, Takamori Senbonzakura is a hidden spot for locals to congregate and enjoy the fleeting cherry blossom or sakura that graces the Japanese landscape every spring. While there might not quite be 1000 cherry blossom trees planted around the area as the name claims, hanami partiers will still find themselves in awe of an entire hillside covered with dusty pink sakura trees, brightly-coloured lanterns and picnic blankets – all with the promise of a perfect spring celebration.
Located in the town of Takamori, this park is situated in the breathtaking caldera of Mount Aso and borders both Oita and Miyazaki prefectures. There are just over 7000 people residing in Takamori, which makes for an ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of bigger towns. The area offers a gorgeous view of the sweeping vistas of Mt Nekodake, one of the five peaks of Mount Aso.
While there isn’t too much to do in the area in terms of shopping and restaurants, you can unwind after a long day spent curled under the sakura with a visit to nearby Kurokawa Onsen, a nationally renowned hot spring resort that lies about an hour’s drive away from Takamori Senbonzakura.
For onsen-lovers who would prefer to check out the local vicinity, Takamori itself boasts a competitive selection, such as Tsukimawari Onsen and Takamori Onsen-Kan. Cast your gaze upon Mt Nekodake while soaking in the volcanic waters, and be sure to try some dengaku, a local Takamori delicacy that consists of mountain potato, konnyaku, and tofu skewers smothered in thick layers of black miso paste.
Drive around to stumble upon other scenic spots in the vicinity, such as Laputa no Michi – named after the Studio Ghibli classic, Castle in the Sky – and Milk Road, where you can see the local Aso cows graze in lush green, postcard-perfect pastures.