The cherry blossoms mark the end of winter and the rebirth that comes with spring, and they do so in a magical style that brings people of all walks of life together. Folks set aside their daily roles for a moment and strangers become friends, city folks take time to ponder the poetic beauty of nature, and humanity expresses its love for life. Harmony finds a way.
The city of Fukuoka offers plenty of places to see sakura, but Maizuru Park is the grandest and liveliest of them all. Centrally located right next to Ohori Park and within a short walk from the Ohori Park or Akasaka subway stations and plenty of bus lines, the park has enough space to accommodate over a thousand people celebrating under the flowers.
Maizuru is also especially attractive because of the castle ruins. Although the main buildings of the fortification are no longer there, the ancient walls provide beautiful backdrops for the blossoms and a couple of outer buildings and gates still stand strong. Furthermore, the highest level where the tenshukaku, or main keep, was located still gives a good view of the park and city, which is dramatically accentuated with a sea of sakura.
In the elevated space inside the castle ruins you’ll find the most lively and friendly picnickers around. Especially on weekends, expect crowds. There’s a good chance you’ll find musicians, some playing traditional music and some strumming guitars. You might even catch a live performance of taiko drumming. Wherever you stroll, folks are open and giving.
At night the park has special lighting during the hanami season, giving the castle walls and blossoms new life in an alternative mode. Although the power is cut at about 10 pm, there are a few permanent lights and at least a few folks will be there throughout the night.
Before or after your hanami, take the time to walk by the moat that runs parallel and next to Meiji-dori, the major thoroughfare on the north side of the park where the subway station is located. Here you’ll find excellent views of the water lined with cherry trees and castle walls.
舞鶴公園—maizuru kouen—Maizuru Park
福岡城跡—fukuoka-jou ato—Fukuoka Castle Ruins