TOPTokyo LifeGuides & Insights12 of the Most Beautiful Places to See Cherry Blossoms Around Japan

12 of the Most Beautiful Places to See Cherry Blossoms Around Japan

Plan for a future trip or travel to your nearest prefecture this spring for some of the pretty blossoms in the country

By Samantha Low

Each year locals and travelers alike await with bated breath for the much-loved hanami season. This age-old tradition, once reserved for only the elite typically, comprised of much sake and feasting as well as poetry recitals. Today, merry-making underneath the pink, blooming branches is still a practice in everyday Japanese society, albeit with far fewer poems. Part of the allure of hanami is that the full bloom only ever lasts several days, thus its fleeting and ephemeral beauty is often a reminder of life itself. Journey through Japan for some of the most beautiful cherry blossom viewing sceneries featuring the country’s most loved flower.

1. Osaka Castle (Osaka Prefecture)

Enjoy hanami season while basking in the impressive presence of Osaka Castle within its surrounding park. Called Nishinomaru Garden, the area covers about two square kilometers with plenty of green space to roll out a picnic mat (while socially distancing) and 600 cherry trees to sit beneath. The castle, which dates back to 1583, has been destroyed twice due to attacks and natural disasters but from 1997 onwards has been fully restored with a modern interior.

See more places to see cherry blossoms in Osaka here.

2. Philosopher’s Path (Kyoto Prefecture)

Just north of Kyoto in the Higashiyama district lies the Philosopher’s Path. This path was said to have been named after Nishida Kitaro, a famous Japanese philosopher who meditated daily on his route to Kyoto University. The walk flows alongside a canal with both lined on either side by hundreds of cherry trees. A full bloom here creates the effect of a cozy, cherry pink tunnel as you walk through it.

Looking for more places to see cherry blossoms in Kyoto? Check this handy post.

3. Chureito Pagoda (Yamanashi Prefecture)

Many venture out of the city for true immersion in nature during hanami season and Fujigoko or Fuji Five Lakes is a favorite escape amongst locals. Within this area are some amazing viewing spots but one of the most famous ones is the iconic Chureito Pagoda. Getting a photo taken in just the right spot will frame you amongst Japan’s trifecta, where traditional architecture meets natural blossoms meets the domineering presence of Mt Fuji.

Discover what you can do around Mt Fuji here.

4. Satte Gongendo Sakura Tsutsumi (Saitama Prefecture)

Part of the Gongendo Park, this area is the fourth zone that boasts over 1,000 cherry trees swaying along the embankment. Set in the foreground however is the abundant field of yellow Nanohana (rape blossoms), another popular flower of spring. Framed against a bright blue sky, the wonder of colors is certainly a magical sight to behold. The park also has hydrangea blooming in summer and spider lilies in winter, making this an all-year-round destination.

Plan your perfect Saitama getaway with this handy guide.

5. Meguro River (Tokyo)

No cherry blossom list would be complete without a mention of the Meguro River, located in the Nakameguro area. Just over 800 cherry trees line the 4km length of the riverbank by which one can enjoy a wonderful spring stroll. Branches tend to overhang across the river, allowing petals to fall in and create a vision of white and pink. A cherry blossom festival usually takes place during this season where stalls selling food and drinks will be available. Towards the evening, trees are also lit up, lending a different vibe and color to the flowers.

For things to do around Meguro, see this area guide.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by sʜᴏᴊɪ (@akkyyo24)

6. Nichu-sen Railway Tracks (Fukushima Prefecture)

For a slightly different take on cherry trees, venture out to Fukushima Prefecture. In the Kitakata area lies the Nichu-sen, a railway that once connected Kitakata Station and Atsushio Station. Since closing the line, the strip has been converted into a pedestrian and cycling path, together with 1,000 weeping cherry trees that have been planted on the side of the road. A steam locomotive remains on display in the middle of the promenade, a fond relic from a time long ago.

7. Odawara Castle Park (Kanagawa Prefecture)

Many might be familiar with onsen town Hakone but right next door to it lies Odawara, its castle and its surrounds, one of Japan’s most popular cherry blossom viewing destinations. The castle itself has been subject to several earthquakes but continued to be rebuilt and reformed right up to 2016. The top floor provides expansive views of the park and city, as well as a unique vantage point in which to observe cherry blossoms. Once you’ve tired of the view, wander around to explore some of the other attractions including the art museum, city library and amusement park.

8. Yoshino Park (Kagoshima Prefecture)

This expansive park located north of Kagoshima City houses over 800 cherry trees. Scope out a location in the southernmost corner of the park where most of the trees are concentrated, providing the perfect place for your hanami party. For panoramic views, travelers can also enjoy the unobstructed scenery of Sakurajima with the Kirishima Range in the backdrop.

Plan a quick trip around Kyushu with this handy guide.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by ryou (@ryo1091rk1091)

9. Sakura no Sato (Nagasaki Prefecture)

This location is almost an hour’s bus ride outside of Nagasaki City but it’s well worth the trip. Many consider Sakura no Sato one of the most stunning cherry blossom spots in Japan with its thousands of cherry trees and quaint paths that lead you through them. There are even playgrounds for children and tennis courts should you feel like breaking a sweat amongst the picturesque flowers of spring.

10. Yaedake Sakura-no-Mori Park (Okinawa)

If you’re up for some early season cherry blossom hunting, Okinawa is the first region in Japan to see a bloom. Yaedake Sakura-no-Mori Park hosts thousands of Kanhi-zakura cherry trees, an Okinawan variety that’s different from the ones found elsewhere in Japan. This family-friend destination also has plenty of facilities including vending machines, picnic equipment, and a children’s playground.

Can’t make it in time for cherry blossoms? See Okinawa’s national parks to get your vitamin D fix.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by TRIPROUD (@triproud_travel)

11. Kagamino Park (Kochi Prefecture)

A stone’s throw from Kochi University of Technology is Kagamino Park. Chosen as one of the top 100 famous cherry blossom spots in Japan, this park is pleasant for a stroll during the day and at night as the trees are illuminated by lanterns, giving it a fairytale-like atmosphere. A favorite feature of Kagamino Park is the overhanging cherry blossom tunnel from the park to the university that is almost 200 meters long.

See what else to do while in Kochi here.

12. Yamazakigawa Riverside (Nagoya Prefecture)

When traveling through Aichi Prefecture during cherry blossom season, make sure to make a stopover at Nagoya’s Yamazaki River. The river itself spans over 2.5 kilometers and is lined by 500 dazzling cherry trees. While Yamazakigawa is incredibly popular during the hanami period it is also a beautiful location in and of itself making it a worthwhile destination at any time of the year.

See more things to do in Nagoya here.