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10 Places You Can Enjoy the Cherry Blossoms in Japan

Japan is known for plenty of noteworthy things, but nothing strikes a more picturesque image than the country’s famous cherry blossom season.

Cherry blossoms in Japan do not simultaneously bloom in every region. Generally, there are two major considerations when attempting to capture the perfect day to watch the cherry blossoms fall—one is that the blossoms sweep upwards, from south to north.

This means cherry blossoms open as early as January in Japan’s southernmost areas, like Okinawa. Conversely, in cold northern cities like Hokkaido, you could be seeing cherry blossoms as late as May.

The second consideration is the temperature. If it gets too warm or cold, it could affect the time of bloom. Please double check Japan’s annual cherry blossom forecast for an accurate booking.

Check out the best places, and time, to go cherry blossom viewing in Japan.

 

 

 

1. Yoshino Park

Best time to visit: Late February until late April

Yoshino Park Kagoshima
Editorial Credit: Alexander Gatsenko / Shutterstock.com

This park covers 30 hectares of ground, with over 70,000 flowers spread amongst 140 other varieties, aside from cherry blossoms.

Yoshino Park also boasts of a 234-meter hill that overlooks the other side of the Kinko Bay and the Mt. Sakurajima, a daunting volcano of the Kyushu region.

The best part about this park is that they house 11 types of cherry blossom trees, so the blossoms can start early, though depending on the type of blossom, you could see them open until April!

Business hours vary depending on the month of your visit, though they start closing at 5PM from November to February.

  • Location: Kagoshima City (Kyushu)
  • How to get there: From the Kagoshima Chuo Station, take the Nangoku Kotsu Bus that’s bound for Yoshino koen. This will take you about 25 minutes.

 

2. Isshingyo Park

Best time to visit: Late March until Early April

Isshingyo Sakura Aso Kumamoto

This famous landmark is special, thanks to the ancient cherry blossom tree that’s more than 400-years old and is 14 meters high.

The blossoms on this tree have a pale pink shade, which contrasts well with the rape blossoms which cover the surrounding field—if you’re lucky, the whole park will bloom at the same time.

Aside from this picturesque scene, don’t miss the cherry blossom milk pudding, sakura dango sweets (grilled rice cakes), colored sushi bowls, and the traditional inari sushi pocket snacks being sold all over the park.

  • Location: Kumamoto (Kyushu)
  • How to get there (car): It’s about two hours away from downtown Kumamoto. Free parking is available on the site.
  • How to get there (train): Most locals will recommend public transport during the peak season of spring, since there’s a lot of traffic. The nearest stations are Hakusui Kogen or Nakamatsu, on the Minamiaso Line. Then, it’s about a 15 minute walk to the park.

 

3. Uminonakamichi Seaside Park

Best time to visit: End of March till mid-April

Uminonakamichi Seasaide Park

This is a family-oriented park that has some of the most breathtaking views of not just the flowers, but the surrounding sea as well.

Located on a narrow peninsula across the bay from the central area of Fukuoka, this park is larger than most, with several areas dedicated to themed flower gardens, playgrounds, water parks, and zoos.

Uminonakamichi Seaside Park is open all year round, showcasing different varieties of flowers according to season. From November to February, they operate between 9:30 AM till 5:00 PM. They are closed on December 31, January 1, and the first Monday and Tuesday of February.

Admission fee is 450 yen, with varying expenses depending on what you do or see around the park.

  • Location: Fukuoka
  • How to get there (train): Take the JR Kashii Line and stop at Uminonakamichi Station. The park is adjacent from there.
  • How to get there (ferry): Take the municipal ferry from Bayside Place to Saitozaki Tosenjo (the ferry terminal), and walk to the park for about eight minutes. You may also take the Uminaka Line (a jet ferry liner) from Momochi to Uminonakamichi Tosenjo, then walk to the park for five minutes.
  • How to get there (bus): Get off at the Marine World stop of the Nishitetsu Bus line, and walk for three minutes.

 

4. Philosopher’s Path

Best time to visit: Early April

Philosopher’s Path Kyoto

This is not a park, but it is one of the more popular tourist destinations to see the cherry blossoms at their finest.

The Philosopher’s Path is a stone path that traverses the northern part of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district.

It lies between the iconic Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) and Nanzenji Temples, so you can actually hit three destinations in one walking tour. The name is unique in that pays homage to a man named Nishida Kitaro, one of Japan’s famous philosophers.

As you can surmise, walking along the Philosopher’s Path is definitely free. There are also plenty of restaurants, cafes, and boutiques that can be found along the path.

To make it more fun, wear a kimono while exploring the place.

  • Location: Kyoto
  • How to get there (Silver Pavilion): Go to Kyoto Station, take the #5 bus, or the Raku Bus #100. Travel time is 25 minutes and fare is about 220 yen. Walk to the stone path.
  • How to get there (Nanzenji): It’s only a short walk from the Keage subway station (on the Tozai Line.)
  • How to get there (train): Stop at Demachiyanagi Station on the Keihan Line, and walk for about 20 minutes. Go out to the Imadegawa Dori (a street) from the station, walk away from the river, toward the mountains in the distance. Walk straight up the street, passing Kyoto University, on your right. There will be signs pointing you in the right direction.

Rent a kimono in Kyoto here

 

5. Kema Sakuranomiya Park

Best time to visit: Early April

Kema Sakuranomiya Park Osaka

This well-known hanami spot has topped plenty of lists as one of the best places in Osaka to see the cherry blossoms.

Over four kilometers of park stretch alongside the peaceful Ogawa River, and along the riverbank are the cherry blossom trees that grow as far as the eye can see.

According to the most recent count, there are about 4,500 cherry trees around the park, which makes it great for picnics, jogging, walking, or just hanging out with friends and family.

There is no entrance fee for this park, and it is a PWD-friendly area.

  • Location: Osaka
  • How to get there: By train, go to Osaka or Umeda Station. Ride the JR Osaka Loop Line, and two stops away is the Sakuranomiya Station. Head to the nearby riverbank of Ogawa River by foot.

 

6. Takato Castle Ruins Park

Best time to visit: Whole month of April

Takato Castle Ruins Park Nagano

Some have claimed this park to be one of the three best locations in all of Japan to view cherry blossoms.

Located in on a hill in Ina City, there are about 1500 cherry trees that have grown across the park, assumedly planted in 1875 when the park was first made public.

And although the original castle is mostly gone, there are still plenty of things to see that will make the trip worthwhile.

During mid to late April, the park is illuminated from sunset till 10PM, and there are still some buildings where you can sit and take a break.

At the southern end of the park is the Shinsu Takato Art Museum, which hosts temporary exhibitions. Admission fee is 550 yen during the cherry blossom season, but it is free admission during any other time of year.

  • Location: Nagano
  • How to get there: Take the JR Azusa Limited Express Train from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station to Chino Station (this will be a 2 hour ride and is 5500 yen for a one way ticket.)
  • Travel tip: During the cherry blossom season, there’ll be a JR run bus from Chino Station to Takato Bus Station (1390 yen one way, 50 minute trip), then you’ll have to walk 15 minutes to the park. If you have the JR Rail Pass and the JR East Nagano Niigata Area Pass, these are covered costs.

 

7. Shinjuku Gyoen

Best time to visit: Late March till all of April

Shinjuku Gyoen Park

The Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is one of the largest parks in Japan, and has multiple zones to explore, all with lush foliage and flora.

Despite the crowds that come flocking here during springtime, it remains peaceful and serene, perfect for relaxing and enjoying a picnic on the grass.

When you’re finished with one area, go ahead and stroll towards the English or Japanese themed gardens.

And since there are more than 1000 cherry trees spread across the park, many of them bloom at varying times so you’ll always catch an area in the park with blossoming flowers.

Entrance fee is 200 yen. Alcoholic drinks are not allowed within the premises.

  • Location: Tokyo
  • How to get there: The park is a 10 minute walk, east from the New South Exit of the JR Shinjuku Station. You can also take the Marunouchi Subway, stop at the Shinjukugyoenmae Station, and walk 5 minutes to the park. Taking the Chuo/Sobu Line is also an option; just stop at JR Sendagaya Station.

Book a one-day Tokyo Cherry Blossom tour here

 

8. Hanamiyama Park

Best time to visit: Mid to late April

Hanamiyama Park Fukushima

Originally started by local farmers who used to plant ornamental flora and flowering trees along the hillside of central Fukushima, the park was made official and open to the public in 1959 and has since become one of the country’s best cherry blossom viewing spots.

Thousands make their way to the Hanamiyama Park for the unfiltered beauty of nature.

There are also different types of cherry trees here, so the colors of the cherry blossoms will vary once they bloom.
There is no entrance fee.

  • Location: Fukushima
  • How to get there (train): This park is 15 minutes from the JR Fukushima Station.
  • How to get there (bus): There are shuttle buses that run between the Fukushima Station and the Hanamiyama Park during the peak season (early to late April only). A one way ticket costs 250 yen and the buses depart every 15-30 minutes.

 

9. Moerenuma Park

Best time to visit: Mid-May

Moerenuma Park Sapporo

Designed by the artist Isamu Noguchi in 1988, this is probably the best place to see cherry blossoms all at once, since there is one section of the area that is a dedicated, dense grove of just cherry trees.

Though, because of the climate of the northern area of Japan, the flora here are slightly different, and will bloom later than most.

Moerenuma Park is quite modern and sleek compared to the other contenders on the list.

Some of its man-made structures include the Play Mountain, the Hidamari glass pyramid, the atrium, and Mount Moere, a 62-meter tall project built specifically for the park so you can view the flowers and the surrounding area from above.

To help visitors cover more ground, you may also rent a bike for 100 yen per hour. Meanwhile, admission is free.

  • Location: Sapporo
  • How to get there: Take the Toho Subway Line to Kanjodori-higashi Station. Take the local bus afterwards (#69 or #79 to the Park’s east entrance, for 210 yen one way. The ride is 25 minutes long). Make sure to take the east entrance as it is the one they open all year long.

 

10. Matsumae Park

Best time to visit: Late April till mid-May

Matsumae Park

Rounding out the list is Matsumae Park, which has made the official country’s list of Top 100 cherry blossom spots in Japan.

There are 250 species of cherry trees, and the total amount of cherry trees they have at the moment comes to an impressive 10,000 trees.

Visitors can enjoy hanami here for the whole month of April until the end of May. They also light up the Hokkaido heritage-certified Matsumae Castle, Tsugaru Strait, and the cherry blossoms themselves, after sunset.

  • Location: Hokkaido
  • How to get there: Ride from the JR Kikonai Station to the Hakodate bus, bound for “Matsumae branch.” Get off at Matsushiro. The park is a 10 minute walk from there.

 
Enjoy more of Japan and explore Tokyo’s tourist attractions.

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