Every year from mid April to late April, Tsuruoka City organizes the cherry blossom festival, in Japanese: sakura matsuri 桜祭り. It is a long existing custom in Japan to picnic under the sakura (Japanese for "cherry tree") with family, friends or coworkers, as a way to mark the beginning of the new fiscal year (starting on April 1st) and also to get your mind set right into the spring mood. Of course the festival dates change from year to year, depending on the blossoming period of the cherry trees (Nature is so unpredictable...).
This year, the festival will open on 13th. Food stands, game booths and activities will give the park this festive atmosphere that gathers people from all around the country to Tsuruoka during that season.
Tsuruoka's Park has been registered in the TOP 100 most beautiful sakura places in Japan (jp: sakura meisho hyakusen さくら名所100選), praising the beauty of its 730 cherry trees all around the park.
The place is indeed beautiful, but its main charm point in my opinion is its calm. Compared to some other sakura places around Japan, Tsuruoka Park is not crowded, and its wide surface allows people to be able to sit while having some privacy.
As a lot of people here like to say, Tsuruoka has indeed 4 very distinct seasons. But between all of them, spring might be the most pleasant one. After a long period of snow and intense cold, the weather suddenly becomes more clement and the city finally displays some colors other than white. Such a harsh winter makes the spring season even more enjoyable and the city's people grateful for it.
It takes 20 min. by foot to go to the park from the station. You can also go by bus pretty easily (if unsure, ask FOODEVER's Tourist Information Center's staff for info). You can also rent a bicycle for free for a 10min. ride.