Tohoku offers stunning views of cherry blossoms
As the cherry blossom front heads steadily northwards it heralds the arrival of spring. This is the best time to appreciate the full splendor of the cherry blossom in the northern Tohoku region, which is home to some of the oldest and finest examples of the sakura (cherry blossom) tree in Japan, many of which have been carefully tended by local communities for literally hundreds of years.
A trip to Tohoku to view the cherry blossoms will provide lasting memories.
The Tohoku Sakurakaido Dream project is a joint partnership between local government and private-sector firms including Fujitsu, with the shared aim of delivering economic benefits to the Tohoku region by promoting tourism centered around the natural appeal of the cherry blossom. It includes a list of 108 prime locations for admiring the popular cherry blossom, which has been widely adopted in the Tohoku region as a metaphor for the massive recovery and rebuilding effort in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Five years on from the disaster, Tohoku needs tourism to help revitalize the local economy. The best way to support Tohoku is to come up with friends or family to admire the cherry blossoms, sample the delicious local fare, enjoy a wonderful time together and then, most importantly, tell everyone about the many delights of the Tohoku region. This will help to recreate a thriving local tourism industry.
The Ashita Community Lab web media site maintained by Fujitsu features photos of Tohoku and its local attractions shared by enthusiastic visitors who have travelled the prime viewing sites. There is even a Facebook group called “Sakura Pilgrimage” that is open to anybody with a Facebook account. People have posted their favorite cherry blossom snaps, along with pictures of local delicacies and recommendations of other interesting places to go and things to see that are not part of the well-worn tourist routes. Helping to spread the word about Tohoku is an important part of the regional recovery and rebuilding process.
Tohoku Sakura and Sake Journey Planner app
The Tohoku Sakura and Sake Journey Planner app, launched this spring, provides mapping information for the 108 designated prime cherry blossom viewing sites. It comprises the My Route Guide (Sakuratabi Navi) desktop computer application, which plots the best route to user-nominated sites, together with a smartphone and tablet app with additional walking routes at each site.
The app shows comprehensive information for all 108 designated sites along with detailed forecasts showing when the cherry blossoms will be in bloom. Simply nominate your preferred sites and an optimum route will be generated automatically. The app lets you tailor your cherry blossom viewing experience as you like.
In addition to the cherry blossom viewing, the Tohoku Sakurakaido Dream project has another component: Tohoku sake tasting tour, which involves some 80 different brewers of Japanese sake, the other key attraction of the Tohoku region. The Tohoku Sakura and Sake Journey Planner provides a wealth of information on the 80 breweries contributed by experts and critics. And of course, a fine sake is the perfect accompaniment while admiring the cherry blossoms.
The Tohoku Sakura and Sake Journey Planner uses location information supplied by the Posigeo ubiquitous computing service from Fujitsu Network Solutions. Posigeo consists of a base app designed for smartphones and tablets and a platform that uses GPS and other location information to supply the app with relevant information about nearby tourist attractions and local services.
Next time you go to the Tohoku region to see the cherry blossoms, be sure to take the Tohoku Sakura and Sake Journey Planner app with you.