Tokyo is one of the places in Japan that starts springtime early. As the most popular tourist destination in Japan, expect more crowds in most of its parks come sakura season. Within this bustling metropolis, there’s Ueno Park that’s a crowd favorite for hanami. There’s also Shinjuku Gyoen if you prefer a more peaceful picnic spot. Appreciate history as you witness 90-year-old cherry trees at Odawara Castle in Kanagawa, or attend the Miura Kaigan Sakura Matsuri where the early bloomer kawazu-zakura variety bloom as early as February.
Bloom time: March 24 to 31
Fun-loving tourists will definitely have an unforgettable sakura experience in Fukuoka, Japan. Aside from pretty pink views around the town, tourists can enjoy interesting things to do in Fukuoka. Indulge in a BBQ party with friends at Nokonoshima, play a game of Nokonoko ball, pose like a Japanese wearing a kimono at Kokura castle, and discover the streetscape at Mojiko Retro.
Bloom time: March 22 to 27
Hiroshima is one of the go-to places for locals looking for the best cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan. They have a number of sakura destinations that are worth visiting, especially if you’re eyeing scenic snapshots on your travels. First on the list of places you should visit is the Itsukushima Shrine, famed for its floating torii gate in the sea. During the sakura season, illuminated cherry blossom trees at night perfectly frame the gate that gives a dramatic scenery. Another must-visit is the Kintaikyo Bridge, one of the three most famous bridges in Japan. It’s lined with cherry trees and gives you every view of sakura as you walk along the bridge.
Bloom time: March 25 to April 3
Kyoto temples are decorated with the ephemeral beauty of sakura trees during spring. When in Kyoto, why don’t you go on a temple tour and visit these religious sites adorned by flowers in bloom? Visit the Hirano Shrine and Nanshou Temple which are two of the best viewing spots in Kyoto. Traveling with your loved one? Don’t miss the opportunity to ride on the Sagano Romantic Train where you can go on a 25-minute scenic train ride taking in all the glorious sakura in full bloom!
Bloom time: March 25 to April 4
Osaka has many parks where you can go flower viewing, so make sure to bring your picnic sheets and bento boxes for a delightful afternoon with your family surrounded by blossoming trees. Some of the best viewing spots in Osaka are Okawa River, where you can hop on a boat giving you a picturesque ride of the cherry trees, and the Osaka Castle Park with its 4,000 blushing cherry trees grown around the castle area.
Bloom time: March 28 to April 5
Wakayama is best known for its beaches and religious sites. But not many people know that it’s also an ideal spring destination in Japan. Cherry blossom viewing is best in Wakayama Castle, with stunning vistas that tourists love to see during spring. You can even ride a wooden boat along the castle moat as pink petals fall creating dreamy scenery. Meanwhile, in Kimiidera Temple, sakura trees bloom early which signifies the start of spring in the Kansai region.
Bloom time: March 27 to April 4
Hakodate, one of the last places in Japan where you can experience cherry blossoms. They bloom later than in other cities, but once you’re here, you’ll be mesmerized by the stunning powdery pink hues that charm the town every spring. You also get unique viewing spots here, starting with Goryokaku Park, a star-shaped fortress that transforms into pastel pink come springtime. You can also go to Matsumae Park, where you can even attend a cherry blossom festival yearly.
Bloom time: April 28 to May 2
Nagoya also has its fair share of cherry blossom destinations in Japan. From cherry-decorated castle parks and gardens in full bloom, it’s definitely a beautiful place to spend springtime in. Got no time to explore in the morning? Nighttime is still a great way to see the sakura of Nagoya. Head to Yamazaki River, one of the top 100 cherry blossom spots in Japan, to witness 600 cherry trees light up for a magical illumination in spring. Nagoya Castle also holds its own Spring Festival which holds an enchanting illumination of a thousand sakura trees within the castle grounds.
Bloom time: March 25 to April 4
Sapporo is your best bet for a later-than-usual cherry blossom experience in Japan. Go to Moerenuma Park, a unique space where you can enjoy lots of activities– from trailing, having picnics, and playing in the playground with kids. You can also discover a vast cherry blossom forest here. You can also go to Maruyama Park early in the morning to see the sunrise glow on the cherry trees
Bloom time: May 1 to 6