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Home - Travel - Essentials - Cherry Blossoms
Popular Hanami Spots

 
Cherry Blossom Forecast 2014
 

Below is a list of some of Japan's most popular cherry blossom spots with the typical timing for best viewing in the average year and japan-guide.com ratings:

Ratings:    best of the best    best of Japan    outstanding

Tokyo

Shinjuku Gyoen Early April
10 minute walk from Shinjuku Station, 200 yen, 9:00 to 16:30
Shinjuku Gyoen features more than one thousand cherry trees of over a dozen varieties, including numerous early and late blooming trees. There are spacious lawn areas, and the atmosphere is calm and peaceful. 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.

Ueno Park Early April
A few steps from Ueno Station, admission free
One of Japan's most crowded, noisy and popular spots for cherry blossom parties, Ueno Park features more than 1000 trees along the street leading towards the National Museum and around Shinobazu Pond. Ueno Park's blossoms typically open 1-3 days ahead of the blossoms in other spots in the city.

Chidorigafuchi Early April
Kudanshita Station, admission free
Hundreds of cherry trees decorate the moats of former Edo Castle around Kitanomaru Park, creating one of Tokyo's most outstanding cherry blossom sights. Rowing boats are available for rent. Trees are lit up in the evenings. Many food stands can be found at nearby Yasukuni Shrine, where another one thousand cherry trees are planted.

Sumida Park Early April
A few steps from Asakusa Station, admission free
The park stretches for a few hundred meters along both sides of Sumida River with views of the Tokyo Sky Tree. Some food stands are available. Cherry blossom viewing can also be enjoyed from boats that cruise the river. Trees are lit up in the evenings.

More cherry blossom spots in Tokyo...

Yokohama

Sankeien Garden Early April
10-25 min bus ride from Negishi or Sakuragicho Stations
500 yen, 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Sankeien is a Japanese landscape garden with a central pond, various historical buildings moved there from across the country, and several hundred cherry trees.

Mitsuike Park (Mitsuike Koen) Early April
Mitsuike Koen Kitamon bus stop (city bus number 104 from Shin-Yokohama or Tsurumi Stations). Admission: Free
Mitsuike Park is one of Japan's "100 best cherry blossom spots", the only found in the city of Yokohama. Like its name suggests, Mitsuike Park features three ponds around which over a thousand cherry trees are planted.

More cherry blossom spots in Yokohama...

Kamakura

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine Early April
The cherry tree lined approach starts a short walk northeast of Kamakura Station
Admission: Free
Known as Dankazura, the final approach to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is lined and covered for almost 500 meters by hundreds of cherry trees, creating one of Japan's most spectacular cherry blossom tunnels.

More cherry blossom spots in Kamakura...

Izu Peninsula

Kawazu Late February to early March
Festival area starts outside Kawazu Station
The town of Kawazu on the Izu Peninsula is one of the first places near Tokyo to view cherry blossoms. The town's cherry tree variety is usually in full bloom as early as late February and early March, drawing many spring-hungry tourists down the peninsula.

Fuji Five Lakes

Northern Shores of Kawaguchiko Mid April
15-25 minutes by retro bus from Kawaguchiko Station
Trees along the northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko provide the magnificent sight of Mount Fuji in combination with the lake and cherry blossoms. Two of the best spots are the lakeside promenade around the Kawaguchiko Music Forest and the small Ubuyagasaki peninsula next to the Kawaguchiko Ohashi Bridge. Visit in the early mornings for best visibility and light conditions.

Chureito Pagoda Mid April
15-20 minute walk from Shimo-Yoshida Station
Admission: Free
The Chureito Pagoda is a recently built pagoda in the hills of Fujiyoshida City across from Mount Fuji attracts photographers around the year, but particularly so in mid April during the cherry blossom season when the pagoda seems to float in a sea of cherry blossoms. Light conditions are best in the early morning.

More cherry blossom spots around the Fuji Five Lakes...

Gunma Prefecture

Akagi Senbonzakura Mid April
On weekends and holidays during the cherry blossom season, take a shuttle bus from Akagi Station (30 minutes) or Maebashi Station (1 hour). A one day pass of unlimited rides costs 1000 yen. On other days, access by a rental car or taxi.
Akagi Senbonzakura is located about halfway up Mount Akagi to the north of central Maebashi. It features a two kilometer long road lined with over 1000 cherry trees that form a beautiful cherry blossom tunnel when in bloom. Pink moss in the open fields beside the cherry trees also bloom at around the same time, combining with the cherry blossoms to provide breathtaking views of various hues of pink.

More cherry blossom spots in Gunma...

Matsumoto

Matsumoto Castle Mid April
15 minute walk from Matsumoto Station
Inner grounds: 610 yen, 8:30 to 17:00
Matsumoto Castle is one of the most beautiful of Japan's original castles. There are about 300 cherry trees planted around the castle moats and inside the paid inner grounds of the castle.

More cherry blossom spots in Matsumoto...

Kanazawa

Kenrokuen Mid April
15 minute bus ride from Kanazawa Station
310 yen, 4:00 to 18:00
It is not surprising that Japan's most celebrated garden is also a fine cherry blossom spot. In addition to the many trees found inside Kenrokuen, there are many trees surrounding the garden and nearby Ishikawa Gate, one of the gates of Kanazawa Castle.

Nagoya

Yamazakigawa Riverside Early April
10 minute walk from Mizuho-Undojo-Higashi Station
Admission: Free
The Shikinomichi ("Path of Four Seasons") along Nagoya's Yamazaki River is justifiably designated as one of Japan's 100 best cherry blossom spots. The river is lined by hundreds of cherry trees for nearly a kilometer.

Nagoya Castle Early April
Short walk from Shiyakusho-mae Station
500 yen, 9:00 to 16:30 (entry until 16:00)
Many somei yoshino trees, several weeping cherry trees and small numbers of less commonly seen cherry tree varieties are planted around the pleasant park and along the moats of Nagoya Castle.

More cherry blossom spots in Nagoya...

Hikone

Hikone Castle Mid April
15-20 minute walk from Hikone Station
Inner grounds: 600 yen, 8:30 to 17:30
Hundreds of cherry trees are planted around the grounds and along the moats of Hikone Castle, creating impressive sights and providing a few nice spots for hanami picnics.

Kyoto

Philosopher's Path Early April
Between Ginkakuji and Nanzenji Temples, admission free
The Philosopher's Path is a pleasant path besides a canal that connects Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) with the vicinity of Nanzenji. It is lined by hundreds of cherry trees.

Maruyama Park Early April
Next to Yasaka Shrine, admission free
Maruyama Park next to Yasaka Shrine is Kyoto's most popular public park for cherry blossom parties. Its centerpiece is a large weeping cherry tree that gets lit up in the evenings. Many food stands and temporarily constructed restaurants with tables under the trees are available.

Arashiyama Early April
Northwest of central Kyoto, admission free
Arashiyama is a pleasant and busy district in the outskirts of Kyoto. Many cherry trees can be found around the Togetsukyo Bridge at the foot of Arashiyama mountains, especially in the riverside Nakanoshima Park.

Heian Shrine Mid April
Behind the main building, 600 yen, 8:30 to 17:30
Large numbers of weeping cherry trees (yaebeni shidare) stand in the garden of Heian Shrine, behind the shrine's main buildings, making it one of the best spots to see weeping cherry trees in Kyoto. The trees reach full bloom a few days after the other cherry trees, making it an ideal spot for visitors who miss the main season by a few days.

More cherry blossom spots in Kyoto...

Osaka

Kema Sakuranomiya Park Early April
Sakuranomiya Station (JR Loop Line)
No admission fee
Nearly 5000 cherry trees line Okawa River for several kilometers. The seemingly endless rows of cherry trees can be viewed from a pleasant riverside promenade or from ships cruising the river. There are also lawn areas with a lot of space for picnics.

Osaka Castle Early April
Osaka Castle Park
No admission fee (except Nishinomaru Garden)
Over 4000 cherry trees are planted on the spacious grounds of Osaka Castle. A particularly nice place for a picnic is Nishinomaru Park in the castle's western citadel with wide lawns, views of the castle tower and light up in the evening.

Expo 70 Commemorative Park Early April
Banpaku Kinen Koen Station (Osaka Monorail)
250 yen, 9:30 to 17:00 (longer hours during cherry blossom season)
The former site of the 1970 World Exhibition in Osaka was turned into a large public park with over 5000 cherry trees along its paths and around its large lawn areas. There is light up in the evenings.

Osaka Mint Bureau Mid April
10 minute walk from Temmabashi Station
Free, opened to the public during only one week
More than 300 trees of over 100 varieties, mostly later blooming yae-zakura trees can be viewed on the premises of the Osaka Mint Bureau during one week in mid April, about one week after the end of the regular cherry blossom season.

More cherry blossom spots in Osaka...

Nara

Nara Park Early April
Starts a five minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station
Admission: Free
About 1700 cherry trees are planted across spacious Nara Park, outnumbering the deer by around 500. One of the most pleasant hanami spots in the park is a large lawn encircled by cherry trees, a short walk southeast of Todaiji's main hall.

More cherry blossom spots in Nara...

Yoshino

Yoshinoyama Early to mid April
Nara Prefecture
Yoshinoyama (Mount Yoshino) has been Japan's most famous cherry blossom viewing spot for many centuries. The mountain is covered by approximately 30,000 cherry trees.

Himeji

Himeji Castle Early April
15-20 minute walk from Himeji Station
Inner grounds: 600 yen, 9:00 to 16:00
The castle grounds of Himeji Castle are decorated by hundreds of cherry trees that make one of Japan's best seasonal sights in combination with the castle keep. Admission to the outer castle grounds is free, but there is a fee for entering the inner grounds.

Okayama

Handayama Botanical Garden Early April
15 minute walk from JR Hokaiin Station
Hours: 9:00 to 16:30 (longer hours during sakura festival)
Closed: Tuesdays (no closures during sakura festival)
Admission: 300 yen
With its 1000 cherry trees, this botanical garden becomes a very attractive hanami spot during the blooming season. Thanks to its location along a steep hillside, the garden features the sight of the cherry blossoms in combination with views over the city. There are lawned areas for picnics.

Korakuen Garden and Okayama Castle Early April
See pages on Korakuen and Okayama Castle for access and hours
Korakuen features about 300 cherry trees in an orchard and spread across the gardens, while the neighboring castle grounds are decorated by another 200 trees. Additionally, there are countless cherry tress along the river that flows northeast around Korakuen along what is known as the "Asahi River Cherry Road" (Asahigawa Sakura Michi).

More cherry blossom spots in Okayama...

Tottori

Tottori Castle Ruins Early to mid April
10 minute bus ride or 30 minute walk from Tottori Station
The grounds of the former Tottori Castle, also known as Kyusho Park, are Tottori's most famous cherry blossom spot. Located along a mountain slope, the park features over 200 trees and nice views over the city. During the peak of the season, the trees are lit up by paper lanterns in the evenings.

Inaba Senbonzakura Early to mid April
15 minutes by bus or 10 minutes by taxi from Tottori Station
Senbonzakura means "a thousand cherry trees" and Inaba is the old name of the region that makes up eastern Tottori Prefecture. The cherry trees are found in one corner of the impressive Coca Cola West Sports Park that also contains numerous sports facilities, just outside the city center. The pleasant park is a perfect place for hanami picnics.

More cherry blossom spots in Tottori...

Hiroshima

Hiroshima Peace Park Early April
Next to Genbaku Domu Mae tram stop
No admission fee (Peace Museum: 50 yen, 8:30 to 18:00)
Hiroshima Peace Park, located in central Hiroshima City, was built to memorialize those who died during the atomic bombing and as a testament towards world peace. There are about 300 cherry trees planted around the park especially along the river.

Miyajima Early April
45 minutes by train and ferry from Hiroshima Station
Miyajima is a small island outside of Hiroshima that is famous for its shrine and "floating" torii gate. There are about 1300 cherry trees around the shrine and along the island's walking trails.

More cherry blossom spots in Hiroshima...

Takamatsu

Megijima Island Early April
20 minute ferry ride from Takamatsu Port (370 yen one way)
Hundreds of cherry trees are planted around the mountaintop park of Megijima's tallest peak, where the island's ogre caves are also located. The park's location affords wonderful views over the Seto Inland Sea. More trees line the street that leads from the ferry terminal up the mountain.

More cherry blossom spots in Takamatsu...

Matsuyama

Matsuyama Castle Early April
Hours: 9:30 to 17:00
Closed: No closing days in spring
Admission: 510 yen
Hundreds of cherry trees are planted on the grounds of Matsuyama Castle in the center of the city. The view from the castle tower over the trees and the city beyond is remarkable.

More cherry blossom spots in Matsuyama...

Fukuoka

Fukuoka Castle (Maizuru Park) Late March to early April
5-10 minute walk south of Ohori Koen Station
Admission: Free
About a thousand cherry trees are planted in Maizuru Park among the ruins of Fukuoka Castle. The spacious park provides lots of green space for hanami parties and spectacular views from the observation platform in the former main citadel (honmaru).

More cherry blossom spots in Fukuoka...

Kumamoto

Kumamoto Castle Late March to early April
10 minute tram ride from Kumamoto Station
500 yen, 8:30 to 17:30 (longer hours during cherry blossom season)
Kumamoto Castle is by far the city's most popular cherry blossom spot. Nearly a thousand cherry trees are planted across the castle grounds and in the adjacent public parks. Trees are lit up in the evening.

More cherry blossom spots in Kumamoto...

Sendai

Mikamine Park Mid to late April
30 minute walk from Nagamachi Minami Subway Station
Located south of central Sendai, Mikamine Park is a spacious public park with hundreds of large, beautiful cherry trees and wide lawns, offering plenty of space to hold cherry blossom viewing parties underneath its cherry trees.

More cherry blossom spots in Sendai...

Fukushima

Hanamiyama Park Mid to late April
Shuttle buses from Fukushima Station run during the cherry blossom season (15 minutes, 250 yen one way). Alternatively you can walk there in about an hour.
Hanamiyama Park is set on the slopes of the hills southeast of central Fukushima City. The park provides a plethora of cherry trees with many different hues of pink. Obtain a map from the information booth which shows the walking trails and recommended picture-taking spots.

More cherry blossom spots in Fukushima City...

Miharu Takizakura Mid to late April
Miharu Town near Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture
Ranked among Japan's "three greatest cherry trees", the Takizakura (lit. "waterfall cherry tree") is one of the most popular single (cherry) trees in the country, if not the most popular one. The wonderfully shaped weeping cherry tree in the hills of Miharu Town is said to be over 1000 years old.

Rest of Tohoku

Kitakami Late April to early May
Iwate Prefecture
Kitakami's Tenshochi Park with a scrolling path lined by thousands of cherry trees is considered one of the Tohoku Region's three best cherry blossom spots alongside Kakunodate and Hirosaki Castle (see below).

Kakunodate Late April to early May
Akita Prefecture
The city of Kakunodate is famous for its weeping cherry trees, which decorate the city's well preserved, former samurai district. Another few hundred cherry trees stand along the nearby river.

Hirosaki Castle Late April to early May
Aomori Prefecture
With its abundance of over 2500 trees, cherry blossom tunnels, petal filled moats, numerous pleasant picnic areas, rental rowing boats, many varieties of cherry trees and illuminations in the evenings, the park around Hirosaki Castle feels like multiple great cherry blossom spots combined into a single one.

Hokkaido

Matsumae Park Early to mid May
Matsumae Town
Several thousand cherry trees are planted around the reconstructed Matsumae Castle, the only feudal castle on Hokkaido, and in the spacious park that extends far into the hills behind. Matsumae Park offers a wide range of cherry tree varieties that bloom at different times, resulting in a long hanami season that lasts almost an entire month.

Goryokaku Fort Early to mid May
Hakodate City
Fort Goryokaku is a star shaped, Western style citadel which was built in Hakodate towards the end of the Edo Period. After the fort lost its military importance, it was eventually turned into a public park, and over one thousand cherry trees were planted along its moats, making it arguably Hokkaido's most famous cherry blossom spot.

More cherry blossom spots in Hakodate...

Maruyama Park and Hokkaido Shrine Early to Mid May
5 minute walk from the Maruyama Koen Station on the Tozai Subway Line
The park and the shrine are located just beside each other and attract some of the largest crowds for hanami parties in Sapporo. The approach to the shrine is lined with dozens of cherry trees, while the park areas offer a lot of open space where people lay out mats and enjoy food and drink with friends under the flowers.

More cherry blossom spots in Sapporo...

Ratings:    best of the best    best of Japan    outstanding

Guide to Cherry Blossom Viewing:

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