Iwaki City in Fukushima is known for several things, including hot springs, beaches, and agriculture. It's a great spot for some off the beaten path sakura hunting as well, with some obvious and not-so-obvious spots to enjoy the best of cherry blossom season.
If you're in the area, these are some of the local tourism bureau's recommendations for sakura spots to check out.
Joban Joint Thermal Power Company
The grounds of a power company typically aren't the first place one thinks of when it comes to sakura viewing destinations, but there are a number of early-blooming kawazuzakura at the Joban Joint Thermal Power Company. They were planted in 2005 to commemorate the power station's 50th anniversary, and the best time to catch them in bloom is from early to mid March.
3-7-8 Sanuka-cho, Iwaki-shi, Fukushima 974-8223
With a history dating back to 1907, Matsugaoka Park is the oldest park in Iwaki City. It's a very popular local spot during spring, with around 200 somei yoshino cherry blossoms dotting the grounds. After sakura season, the park also has azaleas in abundance, with almost 350 bushes of them to appreciate.
Yakuojidai-3 Taira, Iwaki, Fukushima 970-8026
Misaki Prefectural Park
More than 200 somei yoshino sakura trees call Misaki Prefectural Park home, and a great vantage point to appreciate them from is the Iwaki Marine Tower. Standing 60 meters tall, the tower offers some fabulous views of not only the blossoms, but Iwaki City and the Fukushima coastline.
Osaku 93, Onahamashimokajiro, Iwaki, Fukushima 970-0316
Located in front of JR Yumoto Station, Miyukiyama Park packs a punch when it comes to cherry blossoms – there are somewhere around 300 somei yoshino trees on the grounds here. An annual cherry blossom is held when the blooms are at their best, and it includes evening lantern illuminations to enjoy them after dark.
Tennozaki-54 Jobanyumotomachi, Iwaki, Fukushima 972-8321
Ogawa Suwa Shrine
Iwaki's Ogawa Suwa Shrine is renowned for having a beautiful, historic weeping cherry tree which is estimated to be around 500 years old. The tree was designated as a natural monument back in 1999, and stands almost 12 meters in height with a trunk circumference of 3.6 meters.
Ienomae-140 Ogawamachi Takahagi, Iwaki, Fukushima 979-3123