If you love cherry blossoms during springtime then your next spring destination should definitely be Japan. There are so many great places to enjoy the beautiful blooms all over the country. Both locals and tourists alike come from far and wide to experience ‘Hanami’ or cherry blossom viewing in Japan. There are even centuries-old festivals to celebrate these trees – they are revered this much. If you’re having difficulty deciding where to go to experience the very best of Japan in spring, here are some of the top places you should visit.
Where to experience the best of Japan in spring:
1. Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo
As Tokyo’s largest park, this is the best place to see the cherry blossoms during spring in the city. Within this park there are three different types of gardens to enjoy: the Japanese landscape garden, the French garden and the English landscape garden. The area has both early and late blooming trees which means you can witness the beauty throughout the season.
It can get quite busy here being in the centre of Tokyo, but it is usually a peaceful and calm experience. Visitors are advised to get there early to avoid the crowds and remember to never pluck any of the petals from the trees – it’s against the rules and very disrespectful.
When to visit: From late March to early April
How to get there: The park is just a 10 min walk from Shinjuku Station and costs 200 yen to enter
2. Hirosaki Castle Park
This park is one of the best spots for viewing cherry trees in the Tohoku region. The landscape includes the bright red Shunyo Bridge, the snow-covered Mount Iwaki and the tall castle tower. The addition of the pretty, pink trees in bloom makes for the best photos. There are around 2,600 trees from 50 different varieties, but the most famous are the 120-year-old Somei-yoshino trees.
As a charming and picturesque location to see the flowers in bloom, sometimes there can be a long queue for the main viewing platform so be prepared to wait a little for the incredible view. Most think it’s worth the wait for the perfect picture. Image via.
When to visit: Between late April to late May
How to get there: It takes 15 mins by Konan Bus from the JR Hirosaki Station to Shiyakusho-mae-koen-iriguchi, followed by a short walk
3. Daigo-Ji Temple, Kyoto
When it comes to spring destinations, Kyoto is one of the gems Japan has to offer. The garden in Daigo-Ji Temple is a great place to enjoy spring in Japan at its very best. Sanpo-in-teien Garden was designed by the great daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1598 so he could enjoy the cherry blossoms. Seven hundred trees were planted with a waterfall and an island to complement the beautiful blooms.
Since this time, the garden has been a famous place to view the cherry blossoms and is an incredibly beautiful setting. The main temple is set at the bottom of the mountain but there are hiking trails which will take you to higher points and more temple buildings. As well as enjoying the trees, make sure you see the temple’s main object of worship: a seated statue of the Yakushi Buddha. Image via.
When to visit: From late March to late April
How to get there: The temple is 10 mins walk from Daigo-ji Station, however, it can take up to two hours to walk to the best spot
4. Mount Yoshino, Nara
With over 30,000 flowering trees in this location, you are sure to be left stunned at the beauty at Mount Yoshino. The blooms first appear at the foot of the mountain and slowly spread to the top as the weeks move on. The trees were continuously planted for 1300 years.
Yoshino is often described as the best place to witness Hanami in Japan. The sheer number of trees and World Heritage-listed temples and shrines found amongst the forest are the reason people return year after year. The Hanakueshiki Festival is held around the beginning of April which is definitely worth planning your visit around.
When to visit: From early to late April
How to get there: Take the Yoshino Ropeway which is an aerial tramway for about 3 mins from Yoshino Station to Yoshino-yama Station
5. Japan Mint, Osaka
This walkway shrouded by the beautiful, blooming blossom trees is only open to the general public for one week during the Hanami season. This means there is only a short window to witness the walkway between the 350 trees. The Japan Mint has been holding this traditional event in Osaka since the 19th century.
See 134 different varieties of trees whilst you wander through the spectacular route, with differing shades of blossoms. Admission is free and the walk through is directed from the South entrance to the North exit.
When to visit: From mid- to late-April
How to get there: The walkway is just 10 mins walk from the subway, Tenmabashi Station
What else can you do in Japan in spring?
Although the top thing to do in the spring is, of course, witnessing the beautiful blossoms, there are many other festivals to enjoy during the season. These festivals include the sumo summer basho (starting off the wrestling tournaments of the year), the Takayama Spring Festival (famous for its ornate floats and puppets), and Miyako Odori (a dance of the Geisha in Kyoto). So if you have seen enough cherry blossoms (I doubt you will), there are plenty of other things to do too.
Well, there you have five wonderful places to experience the best of spring in Japan.
Planning a trip to Japan soon? Read these posts next:
- 3 Days in Tokyo: What to See, Do and Experience
- A Beginner’s Guide to Tokyo: 20 Things to Know Before You Go
- A Guide to the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo
- 10 Things to Do in Kyoto
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