After spending all day at the Hitachi cherry blossom festival I decided to make a visit to Akogi Park where they were doing a special evening light-up. The streets were lined with colorful paper lanterns, and spotlights were placed strategically around the sakura trees to illuminate the pink flowers so that they looked like they were glowing in the dark.
It was a very different atmosphere from the other daytime sakura festivals that I’d been to earlier. There was a live band playing jazz music, and in addition to the regular hot food vendors, there were stands selling quality sake (Japanese rice wine) and umeshu (sweet plum wine) produced by local artisan brewers.
You can buy your food and drinks there at the stands, and many people also bring bags of bento boxes and beer. Hundreds of people gather together and spread out blankets under the trees to enjoy the sakura illumination and lively atmosphere. This was my first time visiting a nighttime cherry blossom festival in Japan. It was a really fun evening!