Cherry blossoms are well-known throughout Japan. All across the world, there is a huge demand for these trees. In locations as different as Washington, Vancouver, Paris, Stockholm, and the Jert Valley in Spain, cherry blossom celebrations are hosted. However, when visiting Japan by rail, Japan continues to be the best country in the world to view cherry blossoms or attend a cherry blossom festival.
Both locals and visitors to Japan attend festivals and engage in hanami, or picnics beneath cherry trees, during the height of the flowering season. Sakura, or cherry blossoms, have a rich history and symbolic significance. It is the theme of several Japanese folk songs, including “Sakura, Sakura,” and shares the name of Japan’s national flower. It also appears on Japanese coinage. Following are some best places to See Sakura blossoms in Japan.
1. Hirosaki Castle Park (Hirosaki)
This historic three-story fort is one of the most picturesque locations in the nation for cherry blossom viewing. It is encircled by a fortified moat and a park with plenty of big trees that cast evening light. Hirosaki Park, which has 2,600 cherry blossom trees, is regarded as one of the greatest places in the nation to watch cherry blossoms. Every spring, more than a million people pour through its doors. Hirosaki Castle, which dates back 400 years, contributes to its originality. In the royal moat, visitors can rent boats and float amid the withered flowers.
JR Lines Hirosaki Station is only a short bus ride from Hirosaki Park. The event often takes place in Hirosaki Castle Park in late April or early May. From the grounds of the castle, you can see Mount Iwaki in stunning detail. Nothing in the park can keep you from being entertained. Visitors are encouraged to take a relaxing boat trip in addition to viewing the cherry blossoms. On the other side, guests may enjoy themselves on the moat with hired rowing boats.
2. Shinjuku Gyoen (Tokyo)
Tokyo is a distinctive city with a rich past and a variety of tourist attractions. When traveling to Japan for the first time, many visitors consider visiting Kyoto or Tokyo to witness the cherry blossoms. The park features more than a thousand cherry trees and lovely grounds. Both trees with late and early blooms may be found in the region. Due to this, it is a popular destination for tourists that arrive a week early or late for the primary sakura-matsuri event.
The tranquil natural settings of the park are in sharp contrast to Tokyo’s bustling skyscrapers, which are located right in the middle of the metropolis. The Yamanote Circular Line’s Shinjuku Station, located in the heart of Tokyo, is one rail stop from Shinjuku Gyoen and a ten-minute walk away. For the term of their JR Pass, holders of the Japan Rail Pass are permitted unlimited travel on all trains operating on the Yamanote Line. One of the biggest and most well-liked parks in the city is Shinjuku Gyoen.
The weather frequently leaves foreign tourists unsure of where to go. This park contains more than a thousand cherry trees, which are dispersed across the space. Numerous claim that Ueno Park is congested during hanami season, in contrast to Shinjuku Gyoen, where there are many areas to wander and enjoy hanami in a tranquil setting. The greatest time to observe sakura there is believed to be from late March to early April.
3. Matsumae Park, Hokkaido
The Northern Palace of Japan is located in Matsumae Park, which is also a lovely place to see sakura. On 10,000 trees, 250 different flower kinds bloom from late April through the season, and their wooden tags signal the time when they should be appreciated.
When the palace is illuminated in the evening, it is very magnificent. Compared to Hirosaki Castle Garden, this castle garden has more sakura. The only castle built in a Japanese style in the whole Hokkaido area is Matsumae Castle, a castle from the Edo era of Japan. The castle is much smaller than Himeji Castle yet contains more cherry trees than any of them combined.
This is undoubtedly the greatest location in Hokkaido for hanami, but if you ever visit, make sure to go to Hakodate’s Goryokaku Fort. Observing cherry blossoms is very intriguing. You have no clue how great your vacation will turn out, from a hanami picnic to a leisurely stroll around the walkways of the park and other significant sites like Kosenji Temple and Natsume Shrine.
When you visit the park at the beginning of May, the sakura season will be at its height.
4. Kema Sakuranomiya Park, Osaka
Osaka is a wonderful city with plenty to offer tourists, including cultural events and recreational activities. If this is your first time visiting Osaka, it will be a beautiful destination.
The cherry blossoms bloom at the summit of Osaka at the start of April (the best time). This is the usual prediction for sakura in Osaka, however, the weather might change according to the season. One of the greatest places in Japan and the nicest in Osaka to see cherry blossoms is Kema Sakuranomiya Park. On the banks of the Okawa River, there is a park with around 4,800 sakura trees.
All year long, locals enjoy taking a stroll along the river, but in the spring, hundreds of international tourists join them. Some parkgoers enjoy scratching.
5. Miharu Takisakura (Fukushima)
The majority of cherry blossom patches are spread across hundreds or even thousands of different trees. The single tree in Miharu Takizakura makes it distinct from other places. What makes this location so unique? It is one of Japan’s “three biggest cherry trees” and maybe the most well-known tree in the whole nation.
A weeping cherry tree known as a takizakura, or “waterfall cherry,” is thought to be over a thousand years old. It is situated in the mountains close to Korium, a city in the Fukushima Prefecture, outside of Miharu.
6. Takato Castle Park (Nagano)
Takato Castle Park is a stunning and lovely location to explore, home to more than 1500 Kohigan pink cherry trees. It is regarded as one of the top three cherry blossom viewing locations in Japan, and every April, a vibrant festival with booths, events, and evening illuminations takes place there.
The ancient ruins of Takato Castle are also accessible to tourists. Visitors should avoid weekends if at all possible as the park may get highly crowded. With your JR Pass, you can travel there by taking the JR Azusa Limited Express from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo to Okaya, changing to the JR Iida Line, and getting off at Inashi Station.
7. Mount Yoshino (Nara)
On the slopes of Mount Yoshino, the first cherry trees were planted more than 1300 years ago. But this site is more than simply Japan’s most significant location for cherry blossom viewing. It is breathtakingly beautiful and has a distinct, mystical aura. More than 30,000 cherry trees in all shapes and hues are present.
Along the trip, visitors may also witness a number of shrines, temples, and picturesque gardens. Between late March and early May, when many shuttle buses run, is the ideal time to visit. They run between Yoshino Station and the Naka Senbon region every 15 to 30 minutes.
A frequent occurrence at Mount Yoshino is the profusion of pink sakura blossoms covering the picturesque summit. Yoshinoyama is a picturesque area with a serene environment that is part of the UNESCO-listed Yoshino-Kumano National Park.
One of the best locations in Japan to watch cherry blossoms is Yoshinoyama in the Nara Prefecture. Shimo Senbon, Naka Senbon, Kami Senbon, and Oku Senbon are the mountain’s four separate regions, each of which has its own hiking paths, overlooks, parks, temples and shrines, old structures, and food stand. On the slope, there are roughly 30,000 cherry trees of various varieties.
National relics like Kinpusenji are worthwhile visits in addition to sakura viewing.
8. Okayama Korakuen Park (Okayama)
One of the top three landscape parks in the nation, Korakuen is incredibly lovely. The shogun established the garden in the 17th century to amuse significant guests, but after the Meiji Restoration in the 1880s, it was turned into government property. The nearby Okayama Castle, often called Koble, is a 16th-century structure with several parts. Over time, rebuilt. Between the two locations, there are 500 cherry trees. Okayama Station is 1.5 kilometers (half an hour) away from Okayama Korakuen Park. You may go there with your JR Pass by taking the Higashiyama line tram, and getting off at Shiroshita, which is a 15-minute walk away.
9. Peace Memorial Park (Hiroshima)
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park has come to represent friendship, peace, and optimism. The park is bordered by the Motoyasu River, which has beautiful cherry trees lining both sides. Throughout the season, there are unique, magnificent illuminations that are popular attractions for both locals and visitors. With your JR Pass, you may ride a tram that takes 15 minutes (either line 2 or 6) to the Genbaku-Domu Mae station to get to the park from Hiroshima Station. Any of the three lines of the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus will take you to the park.
10. Nishi Park (Fukuoka)
More than a thousand cherry trees line the hillside park, which is also home to the Terumo Shrine, the former feudal rulers of the region’s family shrine. You may enjoy some breathtaking vistas of Hakata Bay, Nokonoshima Island, and Shikanoshima Island in addition to the cherry trees’ lovely hues. On the gorgeous hills of the park, there are around 1,300 trees.
Additionally, there are several charming walkways, delectable food stands, and an observation tower with a sweeping view of Fukuoka. North of Kk Line’s Ohori Koen Station, which you may get to by walking for 10 to 15 minutes, lies Nishi Park.
11. Philosopher’s Path (Kyoto)
The Philosopher’s Walk is a charming stone path that leads through the Higashiyama neighborhood of Kyoto. The promenade follows a canal that is bordered by a large number of cherry trees that display vivid pink, red, and white hues. Nishida Kitaro, one of Japan’s most well-known philosophers, loved to stroll and meditate along the 2-kilometer trail.
The distance along the Philosopher’s Path, which connects Ginkakuji with the Nanzenji area, is around 30 minutes to walk. Keage, a metro stop one kilometer distant, is the nearest one. Get out at Miyanomaecho if you wish to begin on the southern part of the walk.
12. Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto
This is one of the top cherry blossom viewing locations in Kyoto. The most well-known sakura viewing locations in the nation are all located in Kyoto, which is well-known for its hanami outdoor activities. It is certainly realistic to rank Philosopher’s Path higher than Maruyama Park among the top 10 hanami locations in Japan. A two-kilometer-long stone walkway may be found in Kyoto’s Higashiyama neighborhood. Numerous sakura trees flank a canal that it follows. You must take in the splendor of the sakura as you stroll by the canal. Also, check out the temples you come across along the journey.
13. Himeji Castle, Hyogo
Japan’s Himeji Castle, which was inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage List in December 1993, is a must-visit location. It is one of Japan’s original 12 castles. The expansive castle grounds are plenty of interesting features to explore, such as wooden bridges, gates, many cherry trees, and simple paths. Many cherry trees can be found on both the inner and outer grounds, and when they are fully bloomed, they look just wonderful. The sakura bloom at Himeji Castle is at its peak in early April.
14. Kakunodate, Akita
Akita Prefecture’s Kakunodate Samurai District, formerly known as Castle Town, is a well-known historical location.
This is without a doubt the best location to realize your desire of seeing both cherry blossoms and samurai architecture in the same location. A trip to this samurai area would seem to you to be like traveling back in time, whether it is spring or fall. A lot of cherry trees can be found both in the Hinokinai Riverside and the Samurai neighborhood, making it a wonderful spot to visit. There are lovely streets to stroll through in this well-preserved samurai hamlet.
You will be amazed by the surrounding sights of numerous weeping cherry trees and hundreds-of-year-old samurai houses when strolling through the streets. Additionally, it is advised that you have a picnic beneath the cherry trees that line the Hinokinai River’s banks.
Weeping cherry trees are not the sakura trees you see; rather, they are the renowned Somei Yoshino.
15. Kawazu, Shizuoka
One of the most well-known locations to see cherry blossoms in the Land of the Rising Sun is the little town of Kawazu, which is situated on the east coast of the Izu Peninsula. The city’s emblem is the early-blooming cherry blossom or kawazu-sakura. Its vibrant pink petals are stunning to look at. You’ll be glad to learn that “Kawazu” is home to roughly 8,000 cherry trees.
Thousands of cherry trees flank the “Kawasu” river, which flows through the city. On the Kawasu River’s banks, there are many trees. Sakura here begin flowering in early February, however, the ideal time to observe them is from late February to early March.
Visitors enjoy sampling a variety of regional foods and shopping for trinkets at the festival booths while taking in the breathtaking view of the pink Kawazu-sakura. Throughout the event, the trees are illuminated at night.
16. North Shore of Lake Kawaguchiko
Lake Kawaguchiko is a fantastic day trip destination since it has the longest coastline of the five Fuji Lakes and is well known for its stunning views of Mount Fuji and cherry blossom watching. Along the boardwalk, east of the Kawaguchiko Music Forest is the finest area to go for both the sakura and the breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji across the lake. Any time of year, but especially in the springtime when Mt.
Fuji is majestically visible and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the landscape around the lake is breathtaking. There are many places to stop and capture stunning natural pictures.