The cherry blossoms (sakura in Japanese) bloom in spring in Japan, and every prefecture has their own festival (omatsuri in Japanese) to celebrate this special time. It is so special because the cherry blossoms are in bloom for only a few weeks, requiring a special climate in order to show their full colours.
This article is of our day trip to Okazaki in Aichi prefecture. It is close to Toyota city and Nagoya, about 3 hours drive from Tokyo. Okazaki has the Iyeyasu Samurai parade every year, famous for the historic samurai battle reenactments.
Getting off the train at Naka-Okazaki station, we followed the lantern and cherry blossom lined streets toward Okazaki-jo (Okazaki castle).
Approaching Okazaki castle was the main area to view the cherry blossoms.
Cherry blossom viewing is known as “ohanami” in Japanese. It is very popular, groups of people get out their blue mats, mini-BBQs and beer cans, to sit under the cherry blossom trees and enjoy the spring day.
A moat surrounds Okazaki castle, and crossing a red bridge you leave the main area with many people and many food stalls, to the outer castle area with more people and more food stalls.
The festival celebrates the cherry blossoms, but also the famous samurai Iyeyasu Tokugawa. He was a famous samurai, known to be a brilliant tactician who fought and won many great battles for the emperor.
A reenactment of a battle is in full swing, showing a ninja clan attempting to storm the castle. Iyeyasu and his samurai warriors repel the attack.
Before the Ninja vs. Samurai battle above, a parade of samurai departed the main “battlefield” for a parade around Okazaki. They return for yet another, and very amazing reenactment.
The samurai lined up and fired replica guns (video coming soon). The battle ended with fireworks… in the daytime!
We viewed the battle from under the cherry blossom trees, enjoying some snacks and Yebisu beer.
This post shows just one of many times I have enjoyed the cherry blossom season, look at the cherry blossom category page for more posts.