The ultimate guide to the Japanese cherry blossoms

The best cherry blossoms in Japan can be seen in:

1. Tokyo

This capital city gives you the best Japan has to offer all in one place. From Shibuya crossing, the busiest intersection in the world, to famous fish markets and the centre of youth culture and fashion in the Harajuku district, you’ll immediately be immersed in the local culture. Head over to Shinjuku Gyoen, one of the most popular spots to celebrate hanami in the city. With a super central location and beautiful sprawling lawns, it’s the perfect spot for a picnic. You can view over a thousand sakura blossoms and different varieties of early and late blooming cherry trees, making it ideal for people who miss peak season.

If you have a little extra time, stop by Ueno Park to see the streets lined with over a thousand sakura blossom trees. Or head to Kitanomaru Park near the Chidorigafuchi Moat for the Chiyoda Sakura Festival and rent a boat to view the sakura blossoms illuminated at night.

2. Kyoto

Maruyama Park is Kyoto’s most popular hanami site. At the centre of the park, there’s a weeping cherry tree, which is lit up at night. You can also take a stroll down the Philosopher’s Path in the northern part of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district. With over 2km lined with hundreds of cherry blossom trees, this stone path follows a canal, passing by some of the best restaurants, boutiques and cafes Kyoto has to offer.

Take a short bus ride to the western outskirts of the city and you’ll find plenty of sakura trees in Arashiyama, surrounding the Togetsukyo Bridge and riverbank. While you’re in Arashiayama, don’t forget to stop by the bamboo forest to complete your Kyoto bucket list.

3. Osaka

Known as the second largest metropolitan city in Japan, Osaka is home to many attractions, some of the best food and of course, cherry blossom sites. The riverside promenade along Kema Sakuranomiya Park is home to over 5,000 cherry trees, spanning several kilometers. While Expo 70 Commemorative Park has some of the city’s largest lawn areas and trees that light up at night.

One of the most memorable spots to celebrate hanami in Osaka is around Osaka Castle. With a moat and garden surrounding the historic landmark, you’ll find cherry trees throughout the garden, with the castle tower illuminated at night. It’s just stunning.

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