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Experiencing Sakura in Japan is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Even though it is already a stunning country, during this time of year it will take on an even more breathtaking appearance.
I lived in Japan for six months, and it was the first time I had the chance to experience it for myself. As a surprise, my mother-in-law took me to Chikuzen, a charming rural village about an hour from Fukuoka known for the beautiful cherry blossom trees next to the Kusaba River when the trees are in bloom.
Seeing the cherry blossoms by the river is lovely, but there are many other exciting things to do in this area.
In this article, I’ll explain why you should visit Chikuzen during the cherry blossom season in Japan, along with useful tips and beautiful photos.
What is Sakura?
Japanese cherry blossoms, called sakura, symbolise spring. These delicate pink and white flowers bloom from late March to late April. depending on the weather and location.
For centuries, Japanese people have celebrated them with festivals like Hanami (flower viewing), where they eat, drink, socialise, and admire nature under cherry blossom trees.
Every Japanese person loves the Sakura, a symbol of Japan’s natural beauty and culture.
Get your JR rail pass in advance!
Where is Chikuzen located?
Chikuzen is a charming village in the northern part of Kyushu island, located in the Fukuoka prefecture of Japan and about an hour’s drive from Fukuoka City.
The surrounding region has a rich history and cultural heritage that dates back to the seventh century making it worth visiting if you are into a cultural destination.
However, It’s also known for its beautiful mountainous landscapes and tranquil rivers which are very popular, especially during Sakura and Autumn in Japan.
How to get to Chikuzen?
Renting a car is the easiest way to go to this charming village and you can already find a rental car for €30 / 4000 JPY per day. The drive from Fukuoka is slightly less than a drive, and it is best to take the highway towards Dazaifu, and then take the exit towards Chikuzen.
It is a very beautiful area, so driving around here along the local roads and exploring the surrounding landscape is worthwhile, so I would recommend using google maps.
This region in Japan is more difficult to reach by public transport because it is located in a rural and local region of Kyushu. Fortunately, Japan is well-organized, and you can take the train from Fukuoka to Chikuzen in less than an hour and a ticket will cost between 700-1000 JPY one-way.
The best way to go by public transport is by taking the Nishitetsu train (Omuta Line) from Tenjin Station to Asakuragaido Station and transferring to bus 40 to Hisamitsu the stop near the Kusaba River.
Where to stay in Fukuoka?
Since this amazing village is located in a rural area, it doesn’t attract many tourists, and as a result, there are fewer places to stay. However, if you want to stay in Chukizen, the Hanatateyama Hotel is probably your best option.
Most tourists visit the area when they are on a road trip around Kyushu, or a day trip from Fukuoka.
When you stay in Fukuoka and you’re still looking for a place to stay you can expect to pay about €50 per night for a private room, while a bed in a dorm cost between €10 and €20 per night.
Below you can find some hotels that are close to public transportation and restaurants, aren’t too expensive, and have nice rooms.
READ ALSO: 21 Best Hotels in Japan
Chikuzen: The hidden gem of Kysuhu Island
Admire the Cherry Blossoms next to the Kusaba River
If you want to see the stunning beauty of cherry blossoms in full bloom in a beautiful setting, you must go to the Kusaba River in Chikuzen!
This peaceful place is tucked away in the middle of Kyushu Island. It is a hidden gem where there aren’t many tourists yet, so you can have the whole place to yourself.
As you walk along the riverbank in the spring, you’ll be enchanted by the pink flowers on the cherry blossom trees.
When these beautiful trees are in full bloom, it’s a sight to behold. It also creates a dreamy atmosphere that’s perfect for a stroll, a romantic picnic, or just relaxing in the quiet of nature while listening to the water flows through the landscape.
This is without a doubt my favourite place to admire the beautiful cherry blossoms in Japan.
Pick your own Strawberries
This region in Japan is also known for its juicy strawberries, and picking your own berries straight from the farm is an experience you won’t want to miss.
Imagine strolling through rows of strawberry plants, plucking ripe, red strawberries that are bursting with flavour. It’s a hands-on experience that’s perfect for families, couples, or anyone with a sweet tooth!
You can savour the sweetness of the freshly picked strawberries right there on the spot. However, it’s not allowed to take them home.
Strawberry picking is a popular seasonal activity in Chikuzen, with peak picking season typically from December to May. Many farms in the region offer strawberry-picking experiences.
Nao’s mom took us to the Hanatateyama Strawberry Farm where we got a cute bucket and a small knife to cut off our own strawberries. Inside the glasshouse were several rows with different types of strawberries. One of the sweetest and most famous ones is the Amaou Strawberry.
Cherry blossom tree road
The road leading to the Hanatateyama Hotel is a picturesque one, and it can be found right next to the strawberry farm. On either side of the road are beautiful cherry blossom trees.
It’s more than worth it to make even just a short stop here to take some pictures.
And if you bring your own car, there is a parking lot next to the strawberry farm, which makes it easier for you to explore the area and walk through the road yourself to get a better look at the scenery.
Ride a gondola through the beautiful cherry blossom trees
The gondola ride from the Hanatateyama Hotel to the parking lot is an unforgettable memory of this day trip from Fukuoka!
It’s completely free to ride the gondola and the ride takes only a few minutes to get from the top to the bottom but you’ll get to see some of Kyushu’s most breathtaking landscapes.
However, if you are not a fan of riding a gondola, then you can still walk through the cherry blossoms on the hill along the walking path.
Wisteria Village Park
A walk along the winding paths through the vibrant colours and fragrant scents of Wisteria in full bloom is another unique experience in Chikuzen.
Wisteria Village Park is a popular destination that transforms into a lovely environment and a truly enchanting experience starting in mid-April. Attracting both locals and tourists looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Bring your camera to capture Instagram-worthy moments among the cascading purple, pink, and white blooms that form an enchanting canopy above.
The park structures, including the iconic arched bridges that add a touch of elegance to the park’s serene atmosphere, feature traditional Japanese architecture and design.
Minamizu – Michi No Eki Park
On the way to Chikuzen, we stopped at a traditional Japanese rest stop called Minimizu – Michi No Eki.
A Michi No Eki is a typical place in Japan where you can park for free (and often sleep in your car) but also where you can buy regional vegetables, drinks, souvenirs, and many more local products.
This particular Michi No Eki had a small park next to the shop that was full of beautiful cherry blossom trees, and many people came here to enjoy a picnic with the products that they had just purchased.
There is a lovely small stream that runs through the park and a goat that roams around in a fenced-in area, making it a popular spot for families to visit.
READ ALSO: The perfect itinerary for Japan in 3 Weeks
if you’re looking to discover some hidden gems in Japan, make sure to add this region to your travel list.
With its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, Chikuzen promises a unique and authentic experience that will leave you with cherished memories to last a lifetime, especially during Autumn and Spring in Japan.
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Plan your visit to Chikuzen in Kyushu with my favourite travel apps
To plan my adventures, I use these FREE websites and apps as they provide the best information, the best deals, and they are user-friendly.
- Skyscanner – Flight deals
- Booking.com – Hotels and accommodation
- TourRadar – Group trips
- TripAdvisor – Reviews and activities
- HostelWorld – Hostels
- GetYourGuide – Activities and excursions
- RentalCars – Car rental
- Omio – Transport
- iVisa – Travel documents
- Wise – Money transfer
- World Nomads – Travel Insurance
PICTURES AND EDITING
All the pictures on this page are made and owned by me. If you are interested in some pictures to use for your magazine, website, blog, or any other purpose, just send me an email and we’ll figure it out.
Do you like the edits? My Presets will be online soon so you can edit your pictures in just one click!
The camera gear I used for this trip
I never go out without my camera and many people ask me which gear I use. So to make it quite easy, I listed all the gear I used for this trip below.
Most of the time, I travel with the Sony A7III and the Sony 24-105mm/f4 as my primary lens but depending on the location, I change to another setup. However, I love the Tamron 17-28 to shoot in the big cities.