How to See Cherry Blossoms in Japan
Sakura season is fast approaching–and although it might seem a bit impossible to be there this year due to travel restrictions, we bet you’d still want to know when and where these cherry blossoms will soon bloom. If you’re already in Japan (lucky you!), bookmark this article to learn more about the best time and places to see cherry blossoms in japan this 2021!
What You Need to Know
Cherry blossoms all over Japan don’t bloom at the same time. It usually blooms from the southern region first, moving towards the north. Various factors can affect the blooming season, such as rain, wind, or temperature, so best to check the forecasts* regularly. Sakura season usually starts from March to May, and the length of the ‘full bloom’ varies.
Popular Cities to See Cherry Blossoms
Most prefectures in Japan would have their own sakura bloom, but if you’re eyeing to see it in the capital cities, read on to know the predicted forecast for the best time to visit.
Nagoya – March 20 to March 30
Once in Nagoya, you just can’t miss visiting its famed Nagoya Castle, which is also the best place to see springtime blooms. You’re in the perfect place to admire the cherry blossoms around the area from day till night.
Another popular spot would be Tsuruma Park, where you can go picnic with your friends while surrounded by cherry blossoms.
- Nagoya Castle, 1-1 Honmaru, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
- 1 Chome-1 Tsurumai, Showa Ward, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Tokyo – March 21 to March 29
Cherry blossom season starts early in Tokyo this year. Besides shopping in Akihabara, make sure to appreciate sakura in its popular viewing spots. We recommend going to Shinjuku Gyoen or Ueno Park for the best place to see the flowers.
However, it can be a bit crowded. If you want a more dramatic sakura viewing, go to Meguro River at night when the trees are lit for better appreciation.
- Shinjuku Gyoen, 11 Naito Machi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0014, Japan
- Meguro River is a short walk from Nakameguro Station. Nigashiyama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Hiroshima – March 21 to March 31
Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) is best done in Itsukushima Shrine, where you can see bright pink flowers best for picture-taking in Hiroshima.
If you plan to visit at night, Senkoji Park is the ideal destination as a beautiful mix of cherry trees, city lights, and ships by the sea make a perfect backdrop for a night of outdoor stroll.
- Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima 739-0588, Japan
- Senkoji Park, 19-1 Nishitsuchidocho, Onomichi, Hiroshima 722-0032, Japan
Fukuoka – March 21 to March 31
The Fukuoka Prefecture capital city is known for the Fukuoka Castle and numerous temples and shrines. But aside from that, it’s one of the best places to see cherry blossoms!
Visit the Fukuoka Castle and see thousands of cherry trees that make the backdrop truly scenic, or see Nishi Park, which is part of Japan’s 100 best cherry spots.
- Fukuoka Castle, 1 Jonai, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka, 810-0043, Japan
- Nishi Park, 13 Nishikoen, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka, 810-0061, Japan
Kochi – March 22 to March 30
Not far away from the Kochi University of Technology lies a beautiful cherry tree viewing site–Kagamino Park. This park is famous for its cherry tree tunnel, where bent sakura trees create a roof-like structure that makes you feel you’re in a world of cherry trees! It’s lovelier when the petals start to fall, which creates a dramatic scene.
Another place to visit in Kochi is Makino Botanical Garden, which houses many sakura varieties if you’re the kind of traveler who wants to know more about these cherry tree varieties.
- Kagamino Park, Miyanokuchi, Tosayamada Cho, Kami City, Kochi Prefecture, Japan
- Makino Botanical Garden, 4200-6 Godaisan, Kochi, 781-8125, Japan
Wakayama – March 22 to March 31
Heisogen Park in Wakayama is ideal for those visiting with kids or elders. It’s a spacious park filled with about 2,000 cherry trees best for sightseeing. You can relax while enjoying a stroll around with its beautiful sakura trees.
Of course, you wouldn’t want to miss Wakayama Castle, the iconic temple of the prefecture, to see cherry blossoms. See history and nature emerge, creating a beautiful masterpiece with the castle and sakura trees!
- Heisogen Park, 2054-1 Shirahama, Nishimuro District, Wakayama 649-2211, Japan
- Wakayama Castle, 3 Ichibancho, Wakayama, 640-8146, Japan
Kyoto – March 23 to April 1
If you’re planning to visit Kyoto, you’re in luck because they’ve got plenty of spots to see cherry blossoms. More than the cherry blossoms, Kyoto Botanical Gardens houses 12,000 species of plants, which will make you enjoy every single moment of your visit here.
Another popular sakura viewing spot in Kyoto is the Kamo River, a perfect date spot as it is dotted with cherry trees perfect for a romantic getaway.
- Kyoto Botanical Gardens, Shimogamo Hangicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-0823, Japan
- Kamo River, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu, Japan. You may ride a bus, subway, or taxi from Kyoto Station.
Osaka – March 25 to April 2
If you want a picture-perfect backdrop of the sakura trees, visit Osaka Castle Park. It’s one of the best places to see cherry blossoms as the illuminated trees beautify the historical castle.
Ryokuchi-Koen Park is also a must-visit, especially if you plan to go and have a picnic with friends.
- Osaka Castle, 1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Japan
- Ryokuchikoen, Tsurumi-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Kagoshima – March 30 to April 9
If you want something more eccentric to see cherry blossoms, visit Sakurajima Dinosaur Park. They have their own Cherry Tree Forest, which features beautiful varieties of cherry trees during springtime while admiring the dinos of the park itself!
If you’re more of a history buff, visit Sengan Garden to see and learn history while enjoying cherry blossoms with the beautiful Sakurajima and Kagoshima Bay at the backdrop.
- Sakurajima Nature Dinosaur Park, Sakurajimayokoyamacho, Kagoshima, 891-1419, Japan
- Sengan Garden, 9700-1 Yoshinocho, Kagoshima, 892-0871, Japan
Kanazawa – April 2 to April 8
If you want to see cherry trees very early in the morning, we suggest you go to the Western Geisha District and get your matcha fix to start the day while admiring the weeping cherry trees along the road.
After that, visit the Kanazawa Castle to get a glimpse of their very own cherry trees that gives you a panoramic view of its blooming season!
- Western Geisha District, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan
- Kanazawa Castle, 1-1 Marunouchi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan
Nagano – April 8 to April 14
One of the best sightseeing spots for sakura in Nagano is in Mt. Kobo; it has about 4,000 varieties of cherry trees, so you’d definitely see all shades of pink during your visit in spring. They’ve got plenty of space for you to have a picnic so better prepare one when you visit!
Another cherry spot in Nagano would be Matsumoto Castle, which gives a pink glow at night due to the castle’s illuminated trees.
- Mt. Kobo, 390-0825 Nagano, Matsumoto, Namiyanagi, 2 Chome?1000, Japan
- Matsumoto Castle, 4-1 Marunouchi, Matsumoto, Nagano 390-0873, Japan
Sendai – April 11 to April 16
Watch cherry blossoms spring to life in Mikamine Park, a spacious area dotted with cherry trees that make for a great picnic spot! It’s known for flower viewing, and photoshoots so make sure to bring your camera with you.
Another park to go to in Sendai is Nishi Park, where aside from cherry trees, you’ll be able to enjoy lots of public art!
- Mikamine Park, 1 Chome-15 Mikamine, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi 982-0826, Japan
- Nishi Park, 1-3 Sakuragaoka Park, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-0823, Japan
Aomori – April 24 to April 28
Going up North, they take their cherry blossom season seriously. In Hirosaki Castle and Park, they even hold the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival as the city becomes a pink paradise during full bloom! It offers a magical view of the trees and is included in Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Viewing Sites.
It’s enchanting from dusk till dawn, and you’ll truly be in awe as you leisurely stroll in the park or paddle a boat while seeing these cherry petals fall down dramatically on the river.
- Hirosaki Castle and Park, 036-8356 Aomori, Hirosaki, Shimoshiroganecho, Japan
Sapporo – May 4 to May 8
One of the cities that would bloom later than others is Sapporo. So if you’ll be there in May, you’re in for a beautiful view! Maruyama Park and Hokkaido Shrine is a favorite among Sapporo locals, so expect more people hanami-viewing during the cherry peak dates.
The place is popular for a reason, though, as it offers a scenic view of the cherry trees during the sakura season.
- Hokkaido Shrine, 474 Miyagaoka, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-0959, Japan
DOs and DON’Ts during Sakura Season
We’ve got a few tips for you when you visit Japan during springtime. Read on!
- Plan your visit during full bloom. It’s when the flowers are at its peak!
- Wear comfortable clothes when you visit parks! It usually gets cold approaching nighttime, so make sure to bring a light jacket with you.
- Take lots of pictures! You’ll never know when you can visit again!
- Have a picnic with friends! It’s nice to be surrounded by nature when you catch up with your friends at the park.
- Check if the tourist spot you’re planning to visit has admission fees. Take advantage of discounts, too!
- Touch or shake the cherry trees… or else you might be fined!
- Leave your picnic trash elsewhere. Bring them home with you to make the park clean!
- Be too loud when strolling around. Remember, other tourists, want to make memories in the place too!
- Stand or bike over the roots of the trees. It might affect the growth of the cherry trees!
- Occupy too much space on the picnic grounds. Share it with other picnic-goers!
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, events and other activities may be canceled during the sakura season. Make sure to check the social media pages or websites of each tourist spot before your visit!
*Forecasted flowering dates to full bloom are updated as of January 28, 2021. Forecasts may vary from time to time. Visit the Japan Weather Association regularly for updates.
Source: N-Kishou, JNTO.
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