Japan is well known for its beautiful cherry blossoms, or Sakura, which represent renewal; we will talk about the best places to see Sakura in this guide.
The best time to see cherry blossoms in Japan is in March and April when the trees are in full bloom. Because of climate change, cherry blossoms bloom earlier and earlier each year. Indeed, it started in mid-March 2023, about a week ahead of last year.
The cherry blossom season usually kicks off in southern Japan and moves northward over a few weeks.
As a result, if they’ve fallen by the moment you arrive in Tokyo, you should head to Miyagi or Hokkaido, as it usually lasts until the beginning of May in the north.
This website offers a cherry blossom blooming forecast which is quite accurate from my experience.
Best places to see Sakura - Tokyo
Tokyo is a beautiful destination to visit during the springtime when the city is transformed into a sea of pink by the blooming of these delicate flowers.
Some of the best places to see Sakura feature Ueno Park, which boasts over a thousand cherry blossom trees and several museums and a zoo. Shinjuku Gyoen provides a more tranquil atmosphere with many cherry trees of different varieties to admire.
For a romantic evening, the picturesque Meguro River is a popular hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spot with nearly a thousand cherry trees and stunning nighttime illumination.
Yoyogi Park is an excellent location for a picnic or a leisurely stroll under the blossoms, while Sumida Park offers a unique perspective from a boat ride along the river. Inokashira Park is a peaceful option with a lake for rowing. Koganei Park, a bit farther from the city centre, is worth the trip for its two thousand cherry trees of different varieties. Whether you prefer a bustling or serene atmosphere, there’s a cherry blossom spot for everyone in Tokyo.
Best places to see Sakura - Mount Fuji
The best places to see Sakura blossoms near Mount Fuji include the Fuji Five Lakes region, which is a wonderful area at the base of the mountain with lakes, forests, and cherry blossoms.
The Arakura Sengen Shrine, a shrine near the summit of the mountain, has charming cherry blossoms.
Another great spot to see cherry blossoms close to Mount Fuji is the Chureito Pagoda, a splendid pagoda found on a hill overlooking Mount Fuji and the surrounding region. The pagoda is illuminated at night during the cherry blossom season, creating a magical vibe.
Best places to see Sakura - Kyoto
Some of the best places to admire these stunning flowers in the old capital include the iconic Philosopher’s Path, a scenic walkway lined with cherry trees and temples. Maruyama Park is a popular spot for hanami parties, with hundreds of cherry blossom trees and a large weeping cherry tree.
The expansive grounds of the Kyoto Imperial Palace are home to over 300 cherry trees. Nijo Castle has a gorgeous cherry blossom garden with more than 50 different types of cherry trees.
The Arashiyama District is known for its magnificent bamboo forest, and during Sakura season, the area is transformed by the blooming of 200 cherry blossom trees. Other recommended spots include the Heian Shrine, with its beautiful garden and large pond, and the Kyoto Botanical Garden, home to a hundred varieties of cherry trees.
Best places to see Sakura - Osaka
One of the best places to see Sakura here is Osaka Castle Park, which has an abundance of cherry trees and a stunning castle as a backdrop. Kema Sakuranomiya Park is a popular spot with a cherry tree-lined path that follows the Okawa River. You can rent a boat and enjoy the cherry blossoms from a unique perspective. Nishinomaru Garden, situated within Osaka Castle, offers a peaceful atmosphere with cherry trees providing a spectacular backdrop.
The Expo 70 Commemorative Park is another lovely location with a variety of themed gardens and cherry trees. Yodogawa River Park is also an excellent place for a picnic or barbecue under the cherry blossoms, with a riverside promenade and plenty of cherry trees. Finally, Osaka Mint Bureau opens its doors to the public for one week in April when its cherry trees are in full bloom.
Best places to see Sakura - Kanazawa
Kanazawa is a charming city found on the west coast of Japan. It is known for its rich history and culture, enchanting gardens and temples, and delicious food; the fish market is a must-visit.
Some top sights to see in Kanazawa include the Kenroku-en Garden, one of the most spectacular gardens in Japan and considered among the best places to see Sakura in the country. The garden boasts over 400 cherry trees that bloom in early April, creating a stunning atmosphere. You can enjoy a stroll along the paths while taking in the picturesque views of the cherry blossoms and the garden’s traditional Japanese architecture; the entry fee is waived for one week when the Sakura are fully open.
Another popular location to see cherry blossoms in Kanazawa is at Kanazawa Castle Park, with cherry trees lining the moat that surrounds the castle and the Higashi Chaya District, a preserved historical district with traditional teahouses and shops.
Best places to see Sakura - Hokkaido
Hokkaido is the northernmost island of Japan. One of the best places to see Sakura in the region is at Goryokaku Park in Hakodate has more than a thousand cherry trees surrounding a star-shaped fort. The park also offers stunning nighttime illumination during the Sakura season.
Matsumae Park in Matsumae town is another great spot to view cherry blossoms, with over 10,000 cherry trees of different types blooming throughout the park. The park is also home to Matsumae Castle, making it a picturesque place to take in the Sakura.
Takino Suzuran Hillside Park in Sapporo is a unique location to view cherry blossoms, with 300 Yoshino cherry trees and several other species of cherry trees, as well as many other spring flowers.
Another place to enjoy cherry blossoms is the Asahiyama Park in Asahikawa, where a few thousand cherry trees create a beautiful pink and white canopy during the season.
Best places to see Sakura - Yokohama
Yokohama is a large city in the south of Tokyo, and is a great place to see cherry blossoms. The best places to see Sakura in Yokohama include Sankeien Garden, where over a thousand cherry trees bloom throughout the garden. The garden also has traditional Japanese architecture, including several historic buildings that were relocated to the site.
Another popular spot is Yamashita Park, a seaside park that offers gorgeous views of the sakura trees and the ocean. You can enjoy a picnic or a stroll along the park’s promenade while taking in the beautiful panoramas.
Mitsuike Park is another great place to view cherry blossoms in Yokohama, with over a thousand cherry trees creating a pink and white canopy during the Sakura season.
Best places to see Sakura - Himeiji
Himeji is a stunning city in Japan that is well known for its historical castle, but it also provides an amazing opportunity to view Sakura blossoms during the spring. One of the best places to see Sakura is at Himeji Castle, where numerous cherry trees bloom on its grounds, painting a beautiful vista.
Adjacent to Himeji Castle, Koko-en Garden is another popular spot, with a variety of cherry trees that bloom in early April. The garden offers a tranquil vibe with traditional Japanese architecture, teahouses, and ponds.
Otemae Park is also a fantastic place to view cherry blossoms in Himeji, with cherry trees lining the paths and creating stunning decor.
Best places to see Sakura - Hiroshima
Hiroshima is a city in western Japan famous for its tragic history and beautiful parks. One of the best places to see Sakura blossoms is at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, where numerous cherry trees bloom in early April, producing a warm atmosphere. The park also provides a great opportunity to learn about the city’s history and pay respects to those affected by the atomic bombing.
Hiroshima Castle is another location to view cherry blossoms, with trees surrounding the castle and creating a picturesque scene. The castle also offers a range of events during the Sakura season, including night illumination and a hanami party.
Miyajima Island, just a short ferry ride from Hiroshima, is also a great place to see Sakura blossoms, with trees lining the paths leading up to Itsukushima Shrine. You can also enjoy the island’s famous floating torii gate and local cuisine.
Best places to see Sakura - Fukuoka
Maizuru Park is a top location to view the Sakura trees in Fukuoka, where over a thousand cherry trees bloom in March. Nishi Park is another of the best places to see Sakura; with over two thousand cherry trees blooming in mid-March to early April, it provides a perfect setting for picnicking or strolling along the park’s paths.
Fukuoka Castle is another spot to enjoy cherry blossoms, with trees surrounding the castle and creating a serene atmosphere.
There are many beautiful places to see cherry blossoms in Japan, and the best time to see them is in March and April. Whether in a big city or a small town, you will be able to find beautiful cherry blossoms to enjoy during your trip to Japan.
As for me, my personal favourite would be at Kenroku-en in Kanazawa. It is a simply gorgeous place with its historical architecture and delicious food from its fish market.
Getting to Japan can be expensive nowadays since it’s a trendy destination. Be sure to check our ultimate guide to travel to Japan on points!
For more content that will help you plan your trip to Japan :