Spring is one of the most coveted times to visit Japan for one reason: cherry blossoms. Just about everyone, romanticize the coming of cherry blossom season. And to be honest, it is easy to see why! The sight of the soft pale pink of the petals both calms and excites those who walk under their branches. One of the most popular places for cherry blossoms in Kobe is Shukugawa Park. Every spring, visitors enjoy strolling along a 2.5km path lush with sakura trees and the gentle babble of the Shukugawa River.
Shukagawa Park is a stone’s throw away from the JR Sakura Shukugawa Station in Nishinomiya. Needless to say that this park’s reputation for cherry blossoms must be pretty strong if “sakura” is even in the name of the station, right? Indeed, the flower of Nishinomiya City is sakura! Shukugawa Park is a pretty long park. It runs along the Shukugawa River from south to north, starting at Sakura Shukugawa Station and ending near the Hankyu Shukugawa Station.
There are some 1,200 trees of sakura on either side of the river. Since there are so many trees in one place, Shukugawa often ranks in the list of “100 Best Sakura Spots in Japan”.
Naturally, you’d expect this park to be filled with lots of people doing hanami, but this park is in the middle of a more upper-class neighborhood whose residents firmly do not like noise. hanami party is strictly prohibited in Shukugawa Park.
Shukugawa’s Original Sakura
Of course, all the cherry blossom trees are beautiful, but keep an eye out for Nishinomiya very own original breeds of sakura Nishinomiya: the Nishinomiya Gongen Sakura, and the Shukugawa Maizakura. It is surprising that Nishinomiya City went so far as make their original breed of sakura!
The Best Spot for Trains?
At the north end of the park near Kurakuen Station is one of the most popular photogenic places in the park. Though the contrast between pine trees and sakura is absolutely gorgeous, what makes the area popular to photograph is because of the nearby rail line. Many train otakus gather here, trying to get shots of a Hankyu train passing through the tunnel of sakura trees. Indeed, the contrast between the Hankyu train and sakura is also pretty too, I think.