The first signs of spring have started to appear, marking the long-awaited approach of Japan’s beloved cherry blossom season. As the country becomes aflush with the colors of new life, we’ve taken the guesswork out of where to enjoy this year’s sakura in Yokohama. Our list features long-time favorite locations as well as spots deserving of a little more attention.
Pro tip: Check the cherry blossom forecast to catch the sakura in full bloom.
Minato Mirai’s Sakura Dori is possibly one of the most popular inner-city cherry blossom-viewing spots, and for a good reason. Located between Sakuragicho and Minato Mirai stations, this 500-meter-long walkway is a hotspot for casual viewers and photographers wishing to capture the sakura along with the backdrop of Yokohama city’s most prominent landmarks.
Situated between the city and sea, Yamashita Park’s gardens with views of the city and ocean are often visited by passers-by. This is one of Yokohama city’s most popular hanami spots. A great place for a picnic, it’s the perfect location to set up camp for an afternoon of rest and relaxation.
Sankeien garden’s spectacularly manicured greenspace is widely considered to be among the most picturesque gardens in all of Kanagawa Prefecture. At the turn of the season, the grounds’ lush gardens burst into a spectacular assortment of pastel pinks and are nothing short of dreamlike. The blossoms and the surrounding traditional buildings, including one iconic pagoda, look as if they were plucked straight from a postcard.
Mitsuike Park, located in Tsurumi-ku, is home to hundreds of cherry trees belonging to approximately 80 subspecies and boasts a gorgeous assortment of pinks. Different species of cherry trees also mean different blooming periods, which gives visitors a longer window of time to head to the park and snap some shots.
Negishi Forest Park
When the trees are in full bloom, Negishi Forest Park looks just like a sea of cotton candy pink that stretches as far as the eye can see. The park’s wide-open spaces allow for visitors to pitch tents, fly kites and play ball sports with few limitations. This makes it one of the more outdoor activity-friendly and family-friendly parks on our list.
Kamonyama Park is great if you’re looking to enjoy cherry blossoms as well as some delicious to-go food. You’ll find a row of food stalls located at the park’s entrance, perfect to pick and bring over to your tarp under the cherry trees. This is a good tip for any spot on this list, but if you’re planning a proper hanami, best place your tarp as early in the day as possible.
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Among the quietest spots featured on our list, Hodogaya Park is located just outside of Yokohama’s city center. It has a number of facilities including rentable tennis courts, soccer grounds and play equipment for children. It is especially suitable for those with young families. The park is mostly frequented by locals in the surrounding residential areas.
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Kodomo no Kuni
Kodomo no Kuni (literally the ‘Children’s Country’) is another perhaps unorthodox option for young families. This spacious park features a playground, a spacious lawn area perfect for a day of picnicking and leisure – and a surprising amount of cherry trees to enjoy.
Kanagawa’s Ooka River is Nakameguro’s little sister minus the oohing and aahing crowds. The 14-kilometer-long river winds through various towns from Kamiooka all the way through to Sakuragicho and is lined with hundreds of cherry trees. Despite its impressive length and number of trees, Ooka River remains to be more of a localized spot surrounded by residential areas, local restaurants and other nearby haunts along the way.