When it comes to springtime there are plenty of choices view sakura near Sendai, be it inside the city in Nishi-kouen or Tsutsujigaoka-kouen, or outside, such as Ogawara. However of people always flock to those places, so if you would like to avoid crowds to enjoy sakura in your own relaxing bubble, I suggest you go to Tagajo instead.
Tagajo is a small town next to Sendai. It only costs ¥240 and takes less than 30 minutes for a one way ride from Sendai to Tagajo via the JR Senseki line. Normally it is just a sleepy town despite a few interesting tourist attractions here and there. In spring however, it might be one of the less visited but equally beautiful sakura viewing locations. Get down to Kokufu-Tagajo station and you are set for sakura!
If you need directions you can stop by the small tourist information center near the station, but it shouldn’t be that hard to find the former site of Tagajo provincial office, a very old structure dated back to the 9th century. Through the first half of Nara period (around AD 710 to 794), Tagajo was the major town of the northern provinces. At the time, due to the relations between Japan and China, cultural influence from China was quite strong and was reflected in the popular clothing style as well. The golden age of Tagajo is also the origin of the station name Kokufu-Tagajo, which means ‘Provincial Capital’.
Anyways, in the grounds of the office ruins there are a lot of sakura trees. The winding stairs towards the ruins located at the top of a small hill tend to hide the sakura, but they are there! When I went to visit, there were only a few people there – none of them were foreigners. Some families pitched tents below the trees and just enjoyed their time there. Other were just walking around and taking pictures of the beautiful sakura.
After strolling around for a while, a kind old lady told me about more sakura trees behind the provincial office. She told me to follow the road that starts from the back of the historical site. I remembered this road for I had traversed there last year during the iris flower festival of Tagajo and I also remembered I said to myself ‘bet sakura viewing would be awesome here in spring’ (I saw my own words in my blog =D), but I had totally forgotten about it. So thanks to that kind old lady!
So there you have it, a secret spot for sakura near Sendai! Be aware that convenience stores are nowhere to be seen near the viewing spot, and there are no festival style food stalls around. And don’t even think about a restaurant! Instead, bring your own food and have a little picnic. You’ll love it there!
|Access information||From Tokyo:
Take the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Sendai Station then change to JR Senseki line, stopping in Kokufu Tagajo Station (¥240, approx 30 minutes). The provincial office is about a 15 minute walk from the station.
From Sendai Station that the JR Senseki line, stopping at Kokufu Tagajo Station (¥240, approx 30 minutes). The provincial office is about a 15 minute walk from the station.
Written by Jerfareza Daviano