While not the best known, or most famous spot in the whole of Japan, in a town just 20 minutes from Saga City lies a local secret. For the best sakura in Saga prefecture you have to visit Ogi Park.
While the easy 15 minute walk from the train station to the park may seem rather uninspiring, in late March early April when the cherry blossom season begins, Ogi is brought to life by these exquisite flowers. Ogi park was voted one of the 100 best places to see sakura in Japan by the Japan Cherry Blossom Association, and if you are planning on spending time in Saga, the perfect place to watch the trees bloom.
The park itself is more than 300 years old and is home to more than 3000 cherry blossom trees. This enormous array of blossoms means that the park is the perfect place to sit back, relax and see how truly beautiful Japan in bloom can be.
Why not celebrate like a local and take part in Hanami? In Japan it is traditional to gather in great numbers when these spectacular trees are flowering to eat, drink, play music and generally relax together. Nothing says being a part in Japanese culture more than taking part in the custom of Hanami. But be careful, these celebrations can go on into the night too, so make sure you wrap up warm.
But even out of season Ogi park has a lot to offer. With it’s peaceful atmosphere, koi carp lake and numerous shrines, Ogi park is the perfect spot to relax and unwind. And at night there are always the fireflies that the town is famous for to sit back and marvel at, though these are usually found closer to Kiyomizu waterfall than the park itself.
And while you are in Ogi, why not try a local sociality. Youkan. This is a type of sweet bean jelly, which is very popular with the locals and available in shops and stalls all over Ogi. A definite recommended snack!
So, for sakura in Saga, there is only one clear choice. Come and visit Ogi Park, and enjoy what the people of Ogi have enjoyed for over 300 years.