Best Places to See Cherry Blossom in Japan

Japan is famous for its cherry blossom season, which attracts millions of visitors every year. Cherry blossoms, or sakura in Japanese, are the delicate pink flowers that bloom on cherry trees in spring. They symbolize the beauty and transience of life, as they only last for a few weeks before falling to the ground. If you want to experience the magic of cherry blossom season in Japan, you need to plan ahead and choose the best time to see and place to go. Depending on the region and weather conditions, cherry blossoms can start blooming as early as March or as late as May. The peak bloom period usually lasts for about a week, but it can vary depending on the temperature and rainfall.

 

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To help you plan your trip, here are some of the best places to see cherry blossom in Japan in 2023/2024.

 

 

Yoshino: The Most Famous Cherry Blossom Destination in Japan

Yoshino is Japan's most famous cherry blossom destination, with thousands of cherry trees covering the slopes of Mount Yoshino. The view of the pink flowers against the green mountains is stunning, especially when seen from a distance. You can also enjoy a walk along the paths that wind through the cherry trees, or take a cable car to the top of the mountain for a panoramic view.

 

Yoshino is located in Nara Prefecture, about two hours by train from Osaka or Kyoto. It is very popular during cherry blossom season, so expect crowds and book your accommodation well in advance.

 

cherry-blossoms-in-mount-yoshino

Mount Yoshino covered with cherry blossoms

 

►Best time to go: Early to mid-April

 

►How to get there: Take a train from Osaka or Kyoto to Yoshino Station. From there, you can walk or take a bus or a cable car to the cherry blossom spots.

 

Hirosaki Park: A Less Crowded Place to See Cherry Blossom in Northern Japan

Hirosaki Park is a huge park that surrounds Hirosaki Castle, a former feudal stronghold in Aomori Prefecture. The park has over 2,600 cherry trees of different varieties, including some that are over 300 years old. The park also has a moat, a bridge, and a three-story castle tower that create a picturesque backdrop for the cherry blossoms.

 

Hirosaki Park is one of the best places to see cherry blossom in northern Japan, where the season is later than in other regions. You can also enjoy various events and activities during the park's annual cherry blossom festival, such as boat rides, night illuminations, and food stalls.

 

hirosaki-castle-and-cherry-blossoms

Hirosaki Castle and cherry blossoms

 

►Best time to go: Late April to early May

 

►How to get there: Take a train from Tokyo or Sendai to Hirosaki Station. From there, you can walk or take a bus or a taxi to the park.

 

 

Fuji Five Lakes: The Best Place to See Cherry Blossom with Mount Fuji

If you want to see cherry blossoms with Mount Fuji in the background, head to Fuji Five Lakes, a group of lakes at the foot of Japan's iconic mountain. The lakes offer different views of Mount Fuji and the cherry blossoms, depending on their location and orientation. Some of the best spots are Lake Kawaguchiko, Lake Yamanakako, and Lake Motosuko.

 

Fuji Five Lakes is about two hours by bus from Tokyo. You can also explore the area by renting a car or a bicycle. Besides cherry blossoms, you can also enjoy other attractions such as hot springs, museums, and amusement parks.

 

lake-kawaguchiko-with-cherry-blossoms-and-mount-fuji

Lake Kawaguchiko with cherry blossoms and Mount Fuji

 

►Best time to go: Mid to late April

 

►How to get there: Take a bus from Tokyo Station or Shinjuku Station to one of the lakes. From there, you can take local buses or taxis to other lakes or attractions.

 

 

Maruyama Park: The Top Hanami Spot in Kyoto

Kyoto is one of the most popular destinations for cherry blossom viewing in Japan, with many historical sites and gardens that are adorned with pink flowers in spring. One of the most famous spots is Maruyama Park, located in the Higashiyama district. The park has a large weeping cherry tree that is lit up at night, creating a romantic atmosphere.

 

Maruyama Park is also close to other attractions such as Yasaka Shrine, Chion-in Temple, and Gion district. You can easily walk from one place to another while enjoying the cherry blossoms along the way. The park is also a popular place for hanami parties, where people gather under the trees to eat and drink.

 

spring-sakura-at-maruyama-park

Spring sakura at Maruyama Park

 

►Best time to go: Late March to early April

 

►How to get there: Take a bus or a subway from Kyoto Station to Gion-Shijo Station or Higashiyama Station. From there, you can walk to the park.

 

 

Yoyogi Park: The Best Place to Enjoy Cherry Blossom Parties in Tokyo

Tokyo has many places where you can see cherry blossoms in spring, but one of the most convenient and lively ones is Yoyogi Park. Located next to Harajuku station and Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park is a large urban park that has over 600 cherry trees along its paths and ponds. The park is also a popular spot for hanami parties, where you can join the locals and enjoy some food and drinks under the trees.

 

Yoyogi Park is also close to other attractions such as Shibuya Crossing, Omotesando Avenue, and Takeshita Street. You can easily access them by walking or taking public transportation. Yoyogi Park is also a great place to relax and enjoy some greenery in the city.

 

yoyogi-park-with-cherry-blossoms

People gather to enjoy cherry blossoms in Yoyogi Park

 

►Best time to go: Late March to early April

 

►How to get there: Take a train or a subway from Tokyo Station or Shinjuku Station to Harajuku Station. From there, you can walk to the park.

 

 

Ueno Park: A Spacious Park with Many Cultural Attractions in Tokyo

Another famous cherry blossom spot in Tokyo is Ueno Park, a spacious park that has over 1,000 cherry trees along its central pathway. The park is also home to many cultural and historical attractions, such as museums, temples, shrines, and a zoo. You can spend a whole day exploring the park and its surroundings while admiring the cherry blossoms.

 

Ueno Park is also one of the most crowded places for cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo, especially during weekends and holidays. If you want to avoid the crowds, you can visit early in the morning or late at night, when the park is illuminated with lanterns.

 

ueno-park

Enjoy sakura in Ueno Park

 

►Best time to go: Late March to early April

 

►How to get there: Take a train or a subway from Tokyo Station or Shinjuku Station to Ueno Station. From there, you can walk to the park.

 

 

Philosopher's Path: A Scenic Walkway Along a Canal in Kyoto

Philosopher's Path is a scenic walkway that follows a canal in the eastern part of Kyoto. The path is named after a famous Japanese philosopher, Nishida Kitaro, who used to meditate while walking along the canal. The path is lined with hundreds of cherry trees that create a tunnel of pink flowers in spring.

 

Philosopher's Path is also close to other attractions such as Ginkaku-ji Temple, Nanzen-ji Temple, and Honen-in Temple. You can easily walk from one place to another while enjoying the cherry blossoms and the tranquil atmosphere. The path is also a popular spot for artists and photographers who want to capture the beauty of the season.

 

philosopher's-path-with-cherry-blossoms-and-a-canal

Philosopher's Path with cherry blossoms and a canal

 

►Best time to go: Late March to early April

 

►How to get there: Take a bus or a subway from Kyoto Station to Ginkakuji-michi Station or Nanzenji-Eikando-michi Station. From there, you can walk to the path.

 

 

Kakunodate: A Former Samurai Town with Historic Buildings and Cherry Blossoms in Akita

Kakunodate is a former samurai town in Akita Prefecture that preserves many historical buildings and cultural heritage. The town is also known for its cherry blossoms, which were planted by the samurai themselves over 300 years ago. The town has two main areas for cherry blossom viewing: the samurai district and the riverside area.

 

The samurai district has about 400 weeping cherry trees that hang over the streets and courtyards. The riverside area has about 2,000 somei yoshino cherry trees that line both sides of the Hinokinai River. You can enjoy a walk or a boat ride along the river while admiring the cherry blossoms.

 

cherry-blossoms-at-kakunodate

Kakunodate with cherry blossoms

 

►Best time to go: Late April to early May

 

►How to get there: Take a train from Tokyo or Sendai to Kakunodate Station. From there, you can walk or take a bus or a taxi to the samurai district or the riverside area.

 

 

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