Heavenly Tulip Festival 2019 - See Mt. Fuji from a Tulip Filed in Shizuoka
Do you know where Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogun of Tokugawa shogunate, was born? Some people think that he was born in Tokyo because he established Tokyo city. But the answer is No. He was born in Okazaki city, Aichi prefecture. He saw the world in Okazaki Castle.
Ruins of Okazaki Castle are now open for the public as a castle park. The main tower is a historical landmark of Okazaki. Okazaki Castle is also very famous for beautiful cherry blossoms in spring.
Otogawa river and Iga river, flow to the south and west sides of Okazaki Castle. Along these two rivers, there are many cherry trees. The cherry trees bloom at the beginning of April.
In this article, I would like to talk about the early life of Ieyasu, and beautiful cherry blossoms along the rivers of Okazaki Castle, and popular cruising activity on these rivers.
Tokugawa Ieyasu was born in 1543 in Okazaki Castle. His father was the lord of this area, but the territory was very small, and Okazaki area was between Imagawa family in the east and Oda family in the west. Ieyasu’s father decided to become a part of Imagawa and divorced his wife (Ieyasu’s mother), whose relatives had close relations with the Oda family when Ieyasu was 3 years old.
When Ieyasu was 6, he was sent to the Imagawa family as a hostage, but on the way, he was kidnapped by the Oda family and became a hostage of Oda family. Two years after being a hostage of Oda family, Ieyasu became a hostage of Imagawa family. The head of Imagawa family, Imagawa Yoshimoto lost his life in a battle in Okehazama against Oda Nobunaga. Yoshimoto’s death freed Ieyasu after 12 years of being hostage and Ieyasu became a lord of Okazaki Castle.
Ruins of Okazaki Castle form “Okazaki Park” nowadays, and you can see the constructions including the castle tower. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors of the castle tower host a fascinating museum of samurai armors, weapons, and items of daily use. It tells the story of local history and features cultural exhibitions. On the 5th floor, the observatory offers a panoramic view of the Mikawa region. Besides, Okazaki castle park was selected as one of the100 historical parks in Japan.
Another worth seeing attraction is the Mikawa Bushi (warriors) and Ieyasu Museum, dedicated to Ieyasu’s brave warriors. You will see the Great Ieyasu Aoi Busho Tai, a performing samurai team wandering the grounds in full armor or performing an open-air show.
Okazaki park is also famous for beautiful cherry blossoms. Otogawa river and Iga river flow to the south and west sides of Okazaki Castle. Along these two rivers, around 800 Somei Yoshino cherry trees blossom, Prunus yedoensis, will fully bloom at the beginning of April. The scenery with cherry blossoms, the castle, and the rivers looks stunning in spring. Of course, the cherry blossoms here in “the best 100 cherry blossoms spots in Japan”.
In this season, you will notice numerous streets stalls and a lot of people who visit here to see cherry blossoms. Sakura flowers are lighted up at night until 22:00. Many people think that this is the No.1 cherry blossoms spot in the Tokai area.
Walking around the castle precincts and viewing cherry flowers is a traditional and common activity but viewing cherry blossoms from a boat is even more exciting. You can enjoy viewing in a relaxed manner while going up on Otugawa river. Also, you can charter a boat for 12 people. In addition to a round trip boating course of 30 minutes, you can also choose the following courses.
Usual round trip course:
30 Minutes ￥1,500. -/ adult
Please enjoy eating lunch on a boat while viewing cherry trees
60 Minutes ￥3,000. -/ adult
Boatman’s experience course:
You can row and operate a boat by yourself. In addition, you can even lease the uniform
45 Minutes ￥2,000. -/ adult, your companion’s fee is ￥200.-
You can enjoy the boat ride at any season, an there is a list of festivals that take place in Okazaki throughout the year. Many of them can also enjoy the boat!
Cherry Blossoms in Okazaki Castle
Okazaki Castle Summer Fireworks Festival
The Ieyasu Summer Festival
Kagari-bi Daiko -Drums Festival
Parade for Ieyasu Tokugawa Matsuri
Okazaki Higashi Park Autumn Leaves Light Up Event
Nomi Shinmei-Gu Taisai Festival
Ume Festival at Minami Park
Address: 561, Kosei-cho, Okazaki-shi, Aichi-ken
Business hours: 9:00 – 17:00 （last admission is at 16:30）
Inquiry: TEL: 0564-22-2122
Admission Fee: ￥200 / adult, ￥100 / child
Official website: https://okazaki-kanko.jp/okazaki-park/
Access: 10 Minutes on foot from Okazaki Koen Mae station, Meitetsu Line
Boarding Place: Near Okazaki Castle. Otogawa, river, riverbed north side (In front of Okazaki New Grand Hotel)
Inquiry: TEL: 090-9194-4629 (10:00 – 17:00) (Okazaki Castle cruising office)
Official Website (Japanese only): http://www.funaasobi.jp/
Okazaki is a city with a rich history, and the cherry blossoms at Okazaki Castle Park are one of the best in the Tokai area. I hope that you will come here to view cherry blossoms in April and see many other events throughout the year. I highly recommend you taking the boat to see this breathtaking scenery with cherry blossoms and admire the castle and events in other seasons.
If you would like to explore Okazaki and Aichi prefecture with a local guide, please check the banner below!
A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!
Cherry blossoms are an essential part of Japanese culture. And, viewing cherry blossoms (Hanami) is very popular in Japan during the spring. This is because cherry blossoms, which the Japanese call “Sakura” are stunning in Japan at the time.
If you are planning to visit Japan this spring, and if you want to see more cherry blossoms in another area. I would like you to check the Best cherry blossom spots in Kyoto. Kyoto is one of the best places to see cherry blossom and Japanese culture.
Here`s the link. URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/2566/
Osaka is very close to Kyoto. It will be a miss if you don’t visit Osaka to see cherry blossoms when you are in the Kansai area in spring. Please check the following article to find out the best cherry blossoms viewing spots in Osaka and Kansai!
Kyoto and Osaka have many beautiful spots to see Cherry blossoms. However, other areas also have an excellent place for hanami, especially in Tokyo! If you are in Tokyo around spring and looking for a place to see cherry blossom. Why don`t you check this “Cherry Blossom Spots and Sakura Festivals 2018 In Tokyo To Feel Spring.” This article will help you to choose which hanami spot is perfect for you! Click below for more details.
Image courtesy of Tomomarusan
For all foodies who enjoy Japanese Festivals would be nice to get acquainted with the rich choice offered by Yatai (Japanese festival food stalls). The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!