If you’ve read our last post about cherry blossom season in Japan arriving earlier than usual this year, you must be wondering where and when you can see the flowers.
There’s nothing quite like cherry blossom season or the sakura season in Japan! If you’re dreaming of the perfect hanami (the practice or custom of viewing cherry blossoms when they are in full bloom) holiday, scroll down for our handy guide on the best places and times to see cherry blossoms in Japan!
Cherry Blossom Forecast 2020
Flower blooming dates:
Tokyo – 19 March
Fukuoka – 20 March
Nagoya – 21 March
Hiroshima – 22 March
Kyoto – 23 March
Osaka – 25 March
Sendai – 7 April
Sapporo – 1 May
If you’re planning to view cherry blossoms in different cities across Japan, you’ll need a Japan Rail Pass to help you get around quickly and easily. If you’re just planning to hang around Tokyo, a Tokyo Metro Pass or a Suica Card is better option.
For elevated and cooler looking photos, don a traditional Japanese Kimono.
Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in 2020
1. Himeji Castle
Located in Osaka, Himeji Castle is one of the best places to view the full bloom of the cherry blossoms. The castle is known for its striking white wooden walls that look amazing with the flowers. It is surrounded by a whopping 1,000 cherry trees.
When to visit: Late March to early April
How to get there: Take a train ride from Osaka to Himeji Station. Walk 15 minutes to the castle.
2. Mount Yoshino
Yoshino Mountain is located in the Nara prefecture in Japan. It has been one of Japan’s most famous sakura destinations for centuries. Mount Yoshino is covered with over 30,000 cherry trees!
Take a hike up the cherry tree covered slopes and have a little picnic under the flowers.
For even better views, you can opt to take an hour’s hike up to Hanayagura View Point.
When to visit: April to early May
How to get there: Take a train ride from Osaka Abenobashi Station to Yoshino Station. Take a shuttle bus to Naka Senbon Park.
3. Fuji Five Lakes
The Five Lakes offer spectacular views of the cherry blossoms in Japan with Mount Fuji in the backdrop. A great photo spot is at Chureito Pagoda, where you can capture Mount Fuji with sakura blooms in the foreground. Be prepared for quite a bit of travelling as it takes almost two hours to get from Shinjuku to here!
When to visit: Mid April to late April
How to get there: Take a bus from Shinjuku Bus Terminal to Kawaguchiko Station
4. Ueno Park
Ueno isn’t just all about bars and expensive shops. It also has one of the prettiest park and garden in Tokyo – Ueno Park. The park has over 1,000 cherry blossom trees!
For a different cherry blossom viewing experience, visit Ueno Park at night to see over 1,000 paper lanterns lighting up the cherry trees.
When to visit: Early April
How to get there: Take a short walk from Ueno Station
5. Hirosaki Castle
Located at the north region of Honshu is the ancient three-storey Hirosaki Castle. The sakura trees blossom a little later here, so if you’ve missed the peak hanami viewing season but still want to catch the bloom, head here!
Hirosaki Castle has a huge park that’s lined with about 2,500 cherry trees and it even hosts illuminations in the evenings!
If you have time, try taking a slow boat ride on the moat around the castle. It’ll be covered with cherry flowers like the photo above!
The sakura festival will be held at Hirosaki castle from 23 April to 6 May 2020.
When to visit: End April to early May
How to get there: Take a train from Aomori to Hirosaki Station. Then, take the Dotemachi Loop Bus.