Written by Swastika Kusumawati

Spring has come in Japan, the wind slowly changes from cold to warm, the white color of nature also becomes soft pink that makes our heart blooms.  It has become the most favorite season, both for domestic and international tourists because this is the only season where we can see sakura (cherry blossom) blooms beautifully.

Sakura usually blooms in a short time, around 2 weeks before it falls covered all the ground, and turns the ground into pink.

Someiyoshino, the most popular kind of cherry blossom

Before the COVID-19 closed the international border for tourists, the best spots for sakura viewing (hanami) already full with people who want to take a photo of the sakura, or picnic under the sakura trees in this season.

Today we pick up the best places for sakura, so you can prepare yourself until Japan opens the gate for tourists again!

1. Goryokaku Park, Hakodate (Hokkaido)

Goryokaku Park is considered the best place in Hakodate to see sakura. The combination of more than 1600 sakura trees and the historic star-shaped fortress that is built at the end of the Edo-period to defense Hakodate from Western attack. There is Goryokaku Tower inside the park so you can see sakura blooms from the top.

Access

10 mins walk from Goryokaku Koen-mae station.

Address 44-Goryokaku-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido 040-0001
TEL 0138-31-5505
Opening Hour 09:00〜18:00 (open all year round)
Admission Free
Website https://www.hakodate.travel/en/sightseeing_spots/view/goryokaku-park

2. Hirosaki Park (Hirosaki Castle), Aomori

There is the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival that is held at Hirosaki Castle (Hirosaki Park) annually from mid-April to the beginning of May, presenting about 2600 cherry blossom trees. The festival is well-known among locals and tourists from other prefectures. During the night, the cherry blossom illumination knock-out visitors with its magnificent.

Access

Take a bus from Hirosaki station to Shiyakusho-mae bus stop (around 15 mins ride).

 

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Address 1 Shimoshirogane-cho, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori 036-8356
General Incorporated Foundation Hirosaki City Midori Association
TEL 0172-33-8733
Opening Hour Different depends on facilities. Please check the website for details.
Close (Winter Closing) November 24th – March 31st
Entrance Fee Different depends on facilities. Please check the website for details.
Website https://www.hirosakipark.jp/en/

3. Miharu Takizakura, Fukushima

There is the infamous Miharu Takizakura tree in Miharu city, Fukushima Prefecture, which means “waterfall cherry tree” that has been there for more than 1000 years. The cherry tree is nationally recognized as a natural monument, well-known as one of the “three great cherry trees of Japan”, along with Usuzumizakura in Gifu Prefecture and the Jindaizakura in Yamanashi Prefecture.

Access

14 mins ride by car from Miharu Station (the station can be reached 12 mins ride via the JR Banetsu-to Line from Koriyama Station (one train every 1-2 hours)).

The sakura tree is located in a rural area and not very easy to access, but there is a temporary bus that operates between Miharu Station and Miharu Takizakura during the sakura season.

Address Tamura-gun, Miharu, Fukushima Prefecture 963-7714
TEL 0247-62-3690 (Miharu Tourism Association)
Opening Hour Open 24 hours
Entrance Fee During cherry blossom season: 300 yen for adults (Free for junior high school students and younger)
Website https://fukushima.travel/destination/miharu-takizakura/7

4. Kitaasaba Sakura Zutsumi Park, Sakado City, Saitama Prefecture

Kitaasaba Sakura Zutsumi Park has a sakura tunnel with approximately 200 sakura trees for 1.2km along the bank of the river. This is a popular place for a leisurely walk or a picnic.

Access

10 mins ride by bus from Kita Sakado station (on Tobu Tojo line). There is a free shuttle bus during the blooming period that runs on weekends and public holidays (might be canceled due to the COVID-19)

 

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Address 350 Kitaasaba, Sakado City, Saitama
TEL 049- (Miharu Tourism Association)
Entrance Fee Free

5. Chidorigafuchi Moat, Tokyo

Chidorigafuchi Moat is 700 meters long moat of Imperial Palace and located near the infamous Yasukuni Shrine. Different varieties of sakura bloom and covered all the moat and the street.
The ambiance becomes more romantic because you can enjoy riding the boat while sakura petals fall into it.
In the night, sakura trees are lighted up and you can feel different experiences enjoying yozakura (seeing sakura at night).

Access

5 mins walk from Kudanshita station exit 2.

 

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Address 2 chome Kudan Minami, Chiyoda City, Tokyo
Opening Hour 24 hours
Website https://www.gotokyo.org/en/spot/45/index.html

6. Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo

Shinjuku Gyoen is an extremely popular sakura-viewing spot in Tokyo with about 1,000 cherry trees of various kinds that can be enjoyed including early and late blooming cherry blossoms. Even though it is located in the hustle-bustle of Shinjuku, the Shinjuku Gyoen offers a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere, just like an oasis! This park is also popular during autumn.

Access

10 mins walk from Shinjuku station (new south exit) or 5 minutes walk from Shinjukugyoen-mae station.

Address 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0014
TEL 03-3350-0151
Opening Hour 09:00 – 16:30
Close Mondays and New Year’s holidays. If a scheduled closing falls on a public holiday, the facility will remain open on the holiday and close the next day.
Website https://www.gotokyo.org/en/spot/75/index.html

7. Odawara Castle Park, Kanagawa

Odawara castle is Odawara City’s symbol and when spring comes, it holds Odawara Sakura Matsuri where 300 sakura trees bloom. Seeing sakura through the moat, go over to Manabi Bridge and you will reach Odawara Castle will give you a unique feeling as you walk through Japan’s old time.

Access

10 minutes walk from Odawara station.

Address 6-1 Jonai, Odawara City, Kanagawa Prefecture
TEL 081-465-22-5002 (Japanese only)
Opening Hour Odawara Castle: 09:00 – 17:00
Sakura seeing moat: 24 hours
Close Open all year round
Website https://www.city.odawara.kanagawa.jp/kanko/language/english/castle.html

8. Takada Castle Site Park, Niigata

Takada Castle Site Park is an elegant combination between the ancient castle and more than 4,000 beautiful sakura trees. It is famous for one of the three major sakura viewing at night. About 3,000 lanterns hanging up in the sakura trees make yozakura (night viewing sakura) become more elegant.
Besides spring, each season has its own charm so it will be a different experience for you to come in every season.

Access

10 mins ride by taxi or car from Joetsu Myoko Station.

 

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Address 44-1 Motoshiro cho, Joetsu-shi, Niigata
TEL 025-526-5111 (City Planning, Infrastructure,
Opening Hour 24 hours
Close All year round
Entrance Fee Free
Website https://enjoyniigata.com/en/event/2332

9. Arakurayama Sengen Park, Fujiyoshida City (Yamanashi)

Arakurayama Sengen Park is one of the most incredible views in Fujiyoshida City. In spring, sakura blooms beautifully in the park where five-story Pagoda (chureito) and dramatic scene of Mt. Fuji become one harmonious landscape.

Access

By train: 20 mins walk from Shimoyoshida Station on Fujikyuko Line.
By car: 12 mins ride from Fujiyoshida Nishikatsura Smart I.C. on the Chuo Expressway.

 

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Address 2-3353 Asama, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi 403-0011
TEL 0555-21-1000
Opening Hour 24 hours
Close Open all year round
Website https://fujiyoshida.net/en/see-and-do/12

10. Kiyomizudera, Kyoto

Kiyomizudera is one of the historical Buddhist Temple in eastern Kyoto. It becomes one of UNESCO World Heritage and famous not only in Japan but also around the world.
Because it’s located in Mt. Otowa, the natural blend perfectly with the architecture of the temple. In every season you can enjoy the colorful landscape, especially in spring where you can see the sakura trees frame the temple beautifully.

Access 

10 mins walk from Gojozaka or Higashiyama Goko by Kyoto city bus (you can ride the Kyoto city bus from Kyoto station).

 

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Address 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0862
Tel 075-551-1234
Business Hour 6:00~18:00
(July and August 6:00~18:30)
Entrance Fee Adult :400 JPY
Children (Elementary and Junior High Student):200 JPY
Website https://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/

See Also

‘Kiyomizu Temple’, Popular Tourist Destination with Kyoto Spectacular View

11. Maruyama Park, Kyoto

Maruyama Park is known as the oldest park in Kyoto with a 88 years old and 12-meter height shidarezakura (weeping cherry tree). There is also another kind of sakura like someiyoshino and yamazakura.
The light-up is also available at night.

Access

10 mins walk from Gionshijo station (on the Keihan line) or 20 mins ride by bus no. 100 or 206 from Kyoto station to Gion bus stop.

Address 473 Maruyama-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
TEL 075-222-3586
Opening Hour 24 hours (light up until 1 am)
Close Open all year round
Entrance Fee Free
Website https://kyoto.travel/en/other_attractions/110.html

12. Osaka Castle Park, Osaka

Osaka Castle Park is the largest park in Osaka where Osaka Castle, Nishinomaru Garden, The Osaka-jo Hall, and Japanese archery ground located. Seasonal flower blooms beautifully include sakura in the spring season. If you visit Osaka, don’t forget to visit Osaka Castle Park because you can see the most famous historical castle in Osaka and enjoy sakura blooms in one place!

Access

18 mins walk from Osakajo-koen station (on the JR Loop line).

Address Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, 540-0002
TEL 06-6755-4146
Opening Hour 24 hours
Close Open all year round
Entrance Fee Free but there’s an additional charge in some facilities. Please check the website below.
Website https://www.osakacastlepark.jp/?lang=en

13. Mt. Yoshino, Nara

Mt. Yoshino is located in Yoshino, Nara and it was designated as UNESCO World Heritage in 2004. In the spring season, 30,000 sakura trees bloom, it covers 8km paths into the mountain and makes the view from the mountain like a magical pink-colored huge carpet. There are also many old temples in Mt. Yoshino and so you can enjoy both ancient Japanese architecture and the beauty of nature at once.

Access

You can start the trek from Yoshino Station, or take a shuttle bus to the Naka Senbom area during cherry blossom season. Yoshino ropeway near the station is also an option.

 

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Address Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Nara Prefecture 639-3115
TEL 0746-32-1007 (Mt. Yoshino Tourist Association)
Website http://www.yoshinoyama-sakura.jp/english/index.htm

14. Himeji Castle, Hyogo

Himeji Castle has more than 600 years of history and located in Hyogo Prefecture. It’s registered as a Japanese National Treasure also a World Heritage site by UNESCO. In the spring season, about 1000 sakura trees in the ground of the castle bloom magnificently which makes it become the best spot to enjoy hanami (sakura viewing) every year.

Access

20 mins walk From JR Himeji station or Sanyo Himeji station.

 

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Address 68 Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo 670-0012
TEL 079-285-1146
Opening Hour 09:00〜17:00(Last Entry 16:00)
Close December 29-30
Entrance Fee Different depends on facilities. Check the website below for details.
Website https://www.himejicastle.jp/en/

15. Shiranoe Botanical Garden, Kita-Kyushu City, Fukuoka

Shiranoe Botanical Garden is located 120 meters above sea level, spread through the natural hills that facing Suonada bay. It is famous for the 800 sakura trees (and 60 varieties of them!) that blooms energetically in the spring from Mid-February to late April.

Access

2 mins walk from Shiranoe 2-chome bus stop.

Address 2 Shiranoe, Moji-ku, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka
Tel 093-341-8111
Open Hour 09:00-17:00 (last admission 16:30)
Website http://www.shiranoe.com/ (in Japanese)