I Enjoyed Takada Castle’s Hanami Festival in Joetsu, Niigata
Several days ago, I went out to see Takada park’s “Hanami (花見)” festival with my friends.
As you may already know, Hanami is literally translated into English as “Blossom Viewing”, but when we Japanese just say “Hanami” in the springtime, that usually means Sakura or cherry blossom viewing.
Joetsu Takada Castle Sakura Cherry Blossom Viewing Festival
The Takada park we visited is located in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture. In the park, there is a relatively new castle that was constructed in 1993.
Actually, in the Edo period about 400 years ago, “Matsudaira Tadateru (松平忠輝)”, the sixth son of the first Shogun of the Edo Shogunate “Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康)”, ruled the area “Takada (高田)”, where he built a castle.
However, the original castle was destroyed by fire in the Meiji period, 1870. After that, there was no castle in the park for a long time, but about 20 years ago, this one was reconstructed.
The Sakura trees were in full bloom
We parked our car in a pay parking lot in the city center of Takada because the ones near the Takada castle are always almost full during the Hanami event.
When we arrived at the entrance of the Takada castle’s park on foot, there was a location map of the park.
Looking back at the opposite side from there, there was a wonderful view of a moat, mountains, and Sakura or cherry blossoms.
When we visited the Takada park, the weather was clear and sunny, and besides luckily the Sakura cherry trees in and around the park were in full bloom.
Into the Takada castle’s park
After we purely enjoyed viewing Sakura, we headed to the main street of the park, where there were a lot of “Yatai (屋台)”, or Japanese-style street stalls, offering various attractive foods raging from traditional Japanese confections, like “Poppo Yaki (ぽっぽ焼)“, to popular Korean and Turkish snacks.
Walking through the crowd for a while, we came to the large red bridge over the outer moat of the Takada castle. From there, we enjoyed the magnificent view of Mt. Myoko, one of Japan’s top 100 mountains.
To the rooftop observation platform
In the Takada castle’s park, there is a historical museum whose rooftop was open to the public for free only during the Hanami festival.
Of course, we stopped by the spot and overlooked the beautiful scenery of Takada and the inside of the park from there.
One of Japan’s 3 biggest night Hanami festivals
Source: Youtube 高田公園観桜会
Actually, Joetsu’s Takada castle is especially popular for its night Sakura viewing, which is generally known as one of Japan’s 3 biggest night Hanami festivals.
Not only that, but amazingly in 2012, this Niigata’s local event was selected as one of the world’s 5 blooming great flower festivals by CNN.