The cherry blossoms in Hitachi city (Ibaraki Prefecture) are counted amongst the 100 beautiful cherry blossoms in Japan. The city also hosts an annual Cherry Blossom Festival- Sakura matsuri in early-mid April which attracts thousands of people from across Japan. In 2012, the 50th Sakura Matsuri is being conducted in Hitachi. During this festival, cherry trees on the city’s main Cherry blossom street- Heiwa Dori, Juo Panorama Park and Kamine Park are illuminated at night.
The highlight of this festival is “Hitachi Furyu Mono” which is conducted on Heiwa Dori.
The “Furyu Mono” is a float which is pulled by ropes and which measures 15 meters high and 8 meters wide.
The float weighs about 5 tons.
Hidden inside the float is a orchestra box from which music is played.
At fixed times during the day, a play is staged using puppets on the roofs of the 5 layered float. The event is said to date back to the Edo period.
In 2009, UNESCO designated the “Furyu mono” as an intangible cultural heritage.
Various entertainment and cultural programs are also held during the day at Heiwa Dori.
Colourful stalls selling food stuff and souvenirs line the Heiwa dori.
Much to our disappointment, this year cherry blossoms are blooming slightly later than expected.
When we went to see the Furyu Mono last weekend, the trees were not covered with blossoms and only the buds were visible. The blossoms are expected to reach their peak between 14th-22nd April 2012.
Access: 5 mins from the Hitachi Chuo IC on the Joban Expressway. Walking distance from
JR Hitachi station .
Car parking: Ample free car parking is available at various locations around the Hitachi city
hall and Heiwa dori. Shuttle buses also operate between the car parking areas
and the main venue on Heiwa Dori.
Website of Hitachi city : http://www.city.hitachi.ibaraki.jp/