Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Kakunodate

Today I visited Kakunodate a small town near Akita.  It is well known as one of the area's best spots for cherry blossoms (sakura).  Unfortunately the best viewing time had past by a few days and most of the blossoms had already fallen.  There were a few trees here and there that still had some, but it was nothing like the pictures I had seen with weeping cherry trees in full bloom lining the streets.

One of the best viewing areas in Kakunodate for sakura is the preserved samurai district.  Many of the homes are still there today and descendants of the samurai still live in a few.
















































Samurai district street lined with weeping cherry trees.  All of those green trees hanging over the street were filled with cherry blossoms just a few days ago.
































































































There were still a few but I imagine the street looks amazing when all of the trees are in full bloom.














































































Many of the houses were private homes but some owner's left the front gates open so you could see the courtyard and part of the interior of the house.


A few of the houses were open to the public.  I walked through part the oldest house, over 200 years old, the Ishiguro House.  Only part of the house is open for viewing because a descendant of the samurai Ishiguro still lives in the home.

























































The front door of the house that was only used on very, very special occasions.  The owner and guests would enter through a side door while servants and the rest of the family would only use the back door.



The study.  The two boxes on the left were lockable, fire-proof safes and were used for storing important documents.  A good indication of the wealth of the family.

























































































Every time a boy is born into the family they buy a new doll or toy to celebrate the birth.
















































The doll on the top left is the first and over 200 years old.


Another great spot for sakura is by the river.  The bank is lined with trees.




























Unfortunately the blossoms were finished for the season.
















































The path through the trees is covered in fallen petals.  There are even lights strung up during the season so you can walk through at night.






























The last of the blossoms.


More pictures in my Kakunodate Flickr album.