Nowhere cherry blossoms bloom like in Japan. As a matter of fact, nowhere does people regard cherry blossom as highly as Japan. Every season, there are TV shows, news reports, blogs, special covering, talk shows, and festivals all over Japan as the flowers go into full bloom in the country. There is even a word specifically for flower-watching, hanami. As soon as the flowers start blooming, families, friends or even an entire neighbourhood gather, bringing snacks and sake, turning the entire parks or gardens to a large outdoor celebration.
Without much to say, best time to see cherry blossoms is cherry blossom season. The season last for around a month, from late March to early May. The blossoms are favoured not only by Japanese, but by international tourists as well. In 2019, almost 3 million tourists flocked to Japan just to see the flowers bloomed. And it is not too hard to see cherry blossoms bloom, as there are over 1000 destinations for it.
This destination deserves the spot of the best cherry blossom viewing spot in Japan, not only in this day and age, but has been for centuries. It is believed that the first cherry trees was planted here over 1000 years ago, and today over 30,000 cherry trees of different variants have been planted. The area is divided into three areas, however, the “middle” (Naka Senbon) area has the most cherry trees, as well as attractions of the entire Yoshino region.
One of the reasons Mount Yoshino deserves its first place are its abundance of cherry trees. In its full-blooming season, visitors will be literally engulfed in cherry blossom, regardless of where they stand. The destination is also dotted with temples and shrines, as well as restaurants and shops, making it an ideal destination to see the cherry blossom.
Kyoto Prefecture, or specifically Kyoto, is one of Japan’s oldest municipalities, dating back thousands of years. If you decided to visit Kyoto for a flower-watching trip, then you are also in for a historical and cultural treat. It is most suitable to visit in early to mid April, as this is the time cherry blossoms bloom in Kyoto.
Image by @JapanGuide
Philosopher’s Path (哲学の道, Tetsugaku no michi)
The Philosopher’s Path is a peaceful stone path, situated North of Kyoto. The path was divided by a small canal, and on the path, hundreds of cherry blossoms line. The path is dyed in pink every April as all the trees bloom at the same time, making this one of the most famous place for hanami in Japan.
Maruyama Park (円山公園, Maruyama Kōen)
If you have visited the Philosopher’s Path, then you are in luck. Maruyama Park is located in the same district, but the preparation for the flower-watching activities here is much more vigorously done. When the cherry trees are in full bloom, which will be the first few weeks of April, this will be Kyoto’s most popular and crowded flower-watching place. The centrepiece is a tall shidarezakura (weeping cherry tree), which is lid up at night.
Japan’s capital and most popular city of Japan, Tokyo packs a heavy punch for every tourists visiting the city. Tokyo offers a neigh unlimited choices, from modern entertainment like shopping, gaming, coffee shop, fine dining… to a cultural activities such as museums, historic temples and beautiful parks and gardens. For those visited Tokyo from late March to early April, cherry blossoms watching is a must in your itinerary.
Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑)
Tokyo’s largest and most famous park during the year, giving a peaceful and tranquil space in the midst of Tokyo’s busy streets. In spring, it becomes one of the city’s best places to watch cherry blossoms bloom. What is interesting about the park is it contains multiple breeds of cherry blossoms, including those bloom late and early. Thanks to the early and late blooming trees, Shinjuku Gyoen is a good hanami destination for those who miss the main season by a week or two.
Borders Tokyo to the North, Saitama offers a different vibe from Tokyo. With historical town of Kawagoe, the large Tobu Zoo and many areas of green, scenic and beautiful hiking and strolling, Saitama offers an escape from the busy capital; and, another great cherry blossoms watching, right next to Tokyo.
There are about 1000 cherry trees planted in the park, stretching just about a kilometre. Alongside the planted trees, there are trails for visitors to walk and admire the beauty of the flowers. In addition to the pale pink of the cherry blossoms, rapeseed flowers also bloom at the same time, giving visitors a sharp contrast in their views.
Known as “a city that will make you smile” Osaka has been at the heart of Japan’s cultural and economical development for hundreds of years. If you visit Osaka in cherry blossom season, there are many attractions that you must visit.
Kema Sakuranomiya Park
The park stretches with Okawa river for a few kilometres, with endless rows of cherry blossom trees that can be viewed from the riverside. For the ideal stroll, exit Sakuranomiya Station and enjoy a several kilometre walk in the direction of Osaka Castle. Along the street there are lawn areas, suitable for a picnic under the cherry blossoms.
Osaka Castle Park
Built in 1583, the castle has been destroyed many times, and not completely rebuilt until 1997. Once housed important names of the Tokugawa Shogunate, it was built a lawn garden with over 600 cherry trees, a teahouse, sporting facilities, and a Shinto shrine, making it perfect for a compact hanami experience.