10 Best Places to View Cherry Blossoms in Japan
From South to North: Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan
The season of cherry blossoms or sakura in Japanese is undoubtedly the most popular in Japan, and a tourist attraction in itself. The country is dyed in shades of white and pastel pink for a short time.
There are many places where you can enjoy the beautiful sight of cherry blossoms, but visiting them all is practically impossible and it can be difficult to decide on one or several places. In this article I will compile the best places to see cherry blossoms in Japan, including emblematic cities like Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka and other less known places but worth visiting, like Hokkaido, Aomori, Saitama, etc.
In this article I’m gonna introduce you some of the best places to view cherry blossoms all over Japan. Let’s enjoy the best cherry blossom spots in Japan in this spring!
*Please note that this article contains affiliate links.
Contrary to what it may seem Tokyo, the capital and mega city is probably one of the places in Japan with the most outstanding places to enjoy cherry blossoms. It has several large and popular parks where you can make a Hanami (have a picnic while watching the cherry blossoms), such as Ueno Park, Yoyogi Park, Inokashira Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, etc. In addition, it also has some unique places like the Meguro River, which is beautiful both day and night with the night lighting. Or picturesque places like Aoyama Cemetery or Chidorigafuchi, the moats of former Edo Castle (now a part of the Imperial Palace) where visitors enjoy paddling on boats and viewing cherry blossoms from the water.
According to trends over the past few years you can see cherry blossoms in Tokyo blooming in mid to late March.
The biggest city in Kansai area, Osaka is one of the most top tourist destinations in Japan. Known as “the kitchen of Japan”, Osaka is a city with a great gastronomy and nightlife.
Compared to Tokyo, there are fewer places to enjoy the cherry blossoms, but those that are there are absolutely beautiful! The best place in the whole city to see cherry blossoms is undoubtedly the famous Osaka Castle. But if you are in Osaka this Spring at the end of March, the Osaka Mint Bureau and the Expo’70 Commemorative Park are also two spots you shouldn’t miss!
Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, is obviously one of the cities with the most beautiful places to see cherry blossoms and the most popular at this time of the year. The combination of the city’s ancient and traditional buildings such as temples and shrines with the cherry blossoms is breathtaking. The most popular spot is Philosopher’s Path, but we also have the shrines of Takenaka Inari Shrine, Heian Shrine, Hirano Shrine or Kiyomizudera Temple.
For those who prefer nature, Mt. Yoshino located in Nara, near Kyoto, is undoubtedly one of the top sites in Japan for cherry blossoms. Based on the forecasts of previous years the recommended time of the year to enjoy the full blooming is the end of March.
The northernmost region of Japan, Hokkaido is famous for its abundant nature. In Hokkaido the cherry blossoms bloom between late April and early May, almost a month later than in the Tokyo area. If your trip is later and you missed the cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Hokkaido is the perfect place to see them without the crowds.
One of the most popular sites is Goryokaku Park, in the city of Hakodate or Temiya Park in Otaru City. If you have a car or you don’t mind to pay a taxi, Nijukken Road is one of the top 100 cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan.
In Kawazu city, on the Izu peninsula (Shizuoka), there is a type of cherry blossom called “Kawazu Sakura” that was discovered in that city. This cherry blossom blooms earlier than the others, around the beginning of February and has a longer blooming period, almost one month. It’s the perfect spot for those who arrive in Japan before March, or at the beginning of March and the sakura is not yet in bloom in other cities.
Mt. Fuji, the impressive mountain that is the symbol of Japan, is one of the most spectacular sights to see. Especially in winter when the top of the mountain is covered with snow. The combination of Mt. Fuji and cherry blossoms is one of the most beautiful sights in Japan! It is a combination of two of the best things in the country.
There are several spots where you can capture Mt. Fuji with cherry blossoms around, such as the famous Kawaguchiko Lake with the Chureito Pagoda nearby, the Urui River or the traditional Japanese village Osino Hakkai. Cherry blossoms usually bloom around mid-end of March.
Located at northern tip of Japan’s mainland, just before Hokkaido, Aomori Prefecture keep its traditional cultures and nature unspoilt. So it’s one of the best places to feel the authentic atmosphere of Japanese countryside.
It’s also one of the best places to enjoy cherry blossoms in a natural setting. The top place for cherry blossom viewing in Aomori prefecture is Hirosaki City. The city is known as “the best place to see cherry blossoms after petals falling” since when the cherry blossom petals start falling, the inner and outer moats of the castle get filled with pink petals creating a beautiful pink carpet.
The pick season to visit Aomori if you want to enjoy the cherry blossom is mid-April.
Although often underrated, Saitama prefecture right next to Tokyo has some real hidden gems, perfect for day trips. Shingashi River in Kawagoe has become especially popular on social media in recent years. Hitsujiyama Park at Chichibu or Nagatoro are also on the list of best places to enjoy cherry blossoms in Saitama during mid to late March.
Saitama is very close to Tokyo and well connected, but for this time of the year it is possible that some of the express trains that require a seat reservation (for example the one connecting Ikebukuro to Chichibu) are fully booked weeks in advance, so it’s better to reserve with time.
Located in part of the Japanese Alps, Nagano is a popular winter destination for its ski slopes and resorts. What not many people know is that it’s also an ideal destination in Spring to enjoy the cherry blossoms without the crowds. Takato Joshi Park in the city of Ina or the Chikuma River in Obuse Town are two ideal spots if you want to escape from the big city to nature.
If you are searching for a different way to enjoy cherry blossom, in Kitakata city at Fukushima Prefecture you can find weeping cherry blossoms, a type of cherry trees with branches look like dropping down.
Nicchu Line (abbreviation for Nicchu Railway Line Memorial Cycling Pedestrians’ Path) is one of the most popular cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan from mid to late April.
Want to go see Cherry Blossom? Buy your train ticket in advance!
During cherry blossom season, popular spots attracts both tourists and locals, and express and bullet trains operate with a reserved seat system, meaning they can quickly become fully booked. So make sure to book your tickets ahead of time to secure your seat.
Excited?! As you can see, not everywhere cherry blossoms bloom at the same time. The sakura season starts in the south of the country and moves up to the north. So it is possible to enjoy different cherry blossom views for almost two months! They are some different unique ways to enjoy cherry blossom in Japan, and here you have some of the most interesting and funny options!
▽Unique Ways to Enjoy Cherry Blossoms in Japan▽
Best Cherry Blossom Festivals
In Spring in Japan several cherry blossom spots across the country held cherry blossom festivals (or Sakura Matsuri in Japanese) during the blooming season. At these festivals visitor can not only enjoy the amazing view of cherry blossoms but also delicious food stalls, drinks and light-up at night.
Onsen for Cherry Blossom Viewings
Onsen are Japanese natural hot springs, one of the best activities to do in Japan really popular among Japanese. Onsen and cherry blossoms is one of the best combination in Japan and one of the best experience you can have! Here you can find onsen spots in Japan where you can enjoy the amazing view of cherry blossoms.
Yozakura: Cherry Blossom Night Viewing
In Japan you can enjoy cherry blossoms not only during the day but also at night. It’s called “Yozakura (夜桜)” in Japanese, and most of the popular cherry blossom spots in Japan hold light-up events at night to make it even more beautiful!
Early Blooming Cherry Blossoms
There are some types of cherry trees that flourish earlier than Somei Yoshino, which is widely planted across Japan, and the most common early blooming cherry tree is Kawazu Zakura. Kawazu Zakura can be enjoyed from early February to early March in several places in Japan
Late Blooming Cherry Blossoms
For those that miss the peak season of cherry blossoms in Japan, there are several great spots with late-blooming cherry blossoms around mid April to even early May.
For the latest information about cherry blossom season in Japan, you can check these articles too!