Japan's Best Cherry Blossom Spots

Explore the top places to experience the magic of cherry blossoms in Japan, from well-known spots to hidden gems.

The cherry blossom, or 'sakura', season in Japan is a time of national celebration and reflection, symbolising both the fleeting beauty of life and the renewal of spring. These delicate pink and white blossoms transform landscapes across the country into dreamlike scenes, attracting thousands of visitors from all around the world each year. Here, we explore the best places to experience the magic of cherry blossoms in Japan, from well-known spots to hidden gems.

Kyoto: Ancient Blossoms

Kyoto, with its historical temples and traditional gardens, offers a serene backdrop for cherry blossom viewing. The Philosopher's Path, a stone walkway that follows a canal lined with hundreds of cherry trees, provides a tranquil setting for a leisurely stroll. Maruyama Park, famous for its weeping cherry tree, is another prime location where visitors can enjoy sakura both day and night, thanks to temporary lanterns that illuminate the blossoms.

Tokyo: A Metropolitan Bloom

In the heart of Japan's bustling capital, the arrival of cherry blossoms brings a soft contrast to the urban landscape. Ueno Park, with its thousands of sakura trees, becomes one of Tokyo's liveliest hanami (flower viewing) spots. Another must-visit is the Chidorigafuchi Moat, where you can rent a boat to drift beneath the blossoming branches that arch over the water, creating a tunnel of blooms.

Yoshino: A Mountain of Cherry Trees

Mount Yoshino, located in Nara Prefecture, is often considered Japan's best cherry blossom spot. The mountain is covered with over 30,000 cherry trees of different varieties, creating a layered spectacle of pink from the base to the summit. The view of endless sakura against the mountainous backdrop is unparalleled and represents the epitome of Japan's cherry blossom season.

Hirosaki: Northern Beauty

Hirosaki Park, in Aomori Prefecture, is home to one of the most spectacular cherry blossom festivals in Japan. The park features over 2,500 trees and a stunning Hirosaki Castle, creating a picturesque scene. The park is also known for its unique practice of after-dark illumination of the blossoms and the petal-filled moats that reflect the delicate flowers.

Tips for Cherry Blossom Viewing

Timing Is Key: Cherry blossoms have a short bloom period, typically from the end of March to early April, varying slightly by location. Keep an eye on the cherry blossom forecast, which tracks the blooming from south to north across Japan. Timing your visit correctly is crucial to catch the full splendour of the bloom.

Choose Your Spot Wisely: While there are countless spots to enjoy cherry blossoms across Japan, some are particularly renowned. Tokyo's Ueno Park, Kyoto's Maruyama Park, and Hirosaki Castle Park in Aomori are famous for their spectacular cherry blossom views. Each location offers a unique viewing experience, from historic settings to picnic-friendly parks.

Embrace the Hanami Tradition: Hanami is not just about viewing the blossoms but also enjoying a festive atmosphere with friends and family. Join in by preparing a picnic. Many locals bring food, drinks, and sometimes even portable karaoke machines to parks. Remember to respect the space by cleaning up after yourself.

Arrive Early to Secure a Spot: Popular viewing spots can get extremely crowded, especially on weekends and in the evenings. If you're planning a picnic under the cherry blossoms, arriving early in the morning to secure a spot is a wise move. Some groups lay out blue plastic sheets early in the day to reserve their space.

Be Prepared for All Weather Conditions: The cherry blossom season coincides with the transition from winter to spring, which can mean unpredictable weather. It can be warm during the day but chilly in the evenings, and sudden rain showers are not uncommon. Dressing in layers and bringing a compact umbrella will ensure you're comfortable no matter the weather.


Experiencing the cherry blossom season in Japan is an unforgettable experience that combines natural beauty with cultural traditions. By planning ahead and embracing the local customs, you can fully appreciate the magic of hanami.