The other end of the cherry blossom tunnel (Photo: Justin Velgus)

Hidden Cherry Blossoms at Happonmatsu Park, Sendai

Springtime in small park near Nagamachi Station

Justin Velgus   - 3 min read

The most famous cherry blossom viewing spots in Sendai are Tsutsujigaoka-koen Park, Nishi-koen Park, and Nishikigaoka-koen Park. All are located near the city center and accessible by train, subway, or within a 20-minute walk. In the south of the city, Mikamine-koen Park reigns supreme. The spacious hillside park provides plenty of areas to picnic, even if its parking lot is far from sufficient during the flower viewing rush. While all the locals seem to have their own local cherry blossom spot, I wanted to share a recent surprise in the south of Sendai which is easier to access and far less crowded than Mikamine: Happonmatsu Park (八本末公園).

The tiny neighborhood of Happonmatsu is located just an 10-minute walk from Nagamachi Station (JR/subway) or Nagamachi-Itchome Station (subway). The park is tucked away inside a residential area behind the Happonmatsu Citizen Center. Most of the year the park is a pleasure for families, but nothing special. The wide grounds are perfect for running around with kids or dogs, a small playground is popular for the little ones, abundant greenery borders the park, and there is a barrier-free restroom. The time worth a special trip is during mid-April, Sendai's cherry blossom season.

Happonmatsu (incorrectly labeled on Google maps as "Hachihonmatsu") means "eight pine trees". There must be some historic connection to the name, but I couldn't track down any information and there were no pine trees in the park. Instead, the park has around 20 pink cherry trees. Several in a row line the far end of a field. Others dot the paved path and around the playground area. And the real surprise is a tunnel of cherry trees! Both sides of a path are lined with cherries, just begging for a photo shoot! Trees during full bloom are sure to be amazing, but the scene of falling cherry blossom petals and the tunnel's gray concrete path turned pink also makes for a special memory. By coincidence, a sakura-colored pink flower deliver truck was passing, so of course I took a fun picture!

I'll share a few things to keep in mind in case you decide to visit. During my visit, there were just a few people snapping pictures, but no picnics going on (though it seems perfectly OK). Several of my friends didn't know about this spot, so it does still seem to be under the radar. Do be careful going on weekday afternoons because the adjacent children's center will finish and all the kids generally play in the park afterwards. Trees here seem quite old given their large size, so there is plenty to enjoy. There is no immediate stores to buy food, so purchase near a station and carry.

Getting there

10-minute walk from Nagamachi Station (JR/subway) or Nagamachi-Itchome Station (subway).

Justin Velgus

Justin Velgus @justin.velgus

Justin Velgus (ジャスティン ベルガス) is the Miyagi Prefecture expert for Japan Travel and a long-term contributor since 2012 with a focus on the Tohoku region.  Justin has written extensively for JT, and other publications such as VisitMiyagi and Sake Today, amassing over 350 published articles...