The 5 best spots in Japan to take in the beauty of sakura season

Cherry blossom season isn't only one of the most picturesque times of the year in Japan, it's also a time for festivities. Here are the best spots in Japan to take it all in.

  • Delle Chan
  • January 2020

Japan’s most iconic symbol of spring is definitely one of the most beautiful times of the year to be in the country. Part of the appeal is that the blooming of cherry blossoms is fleeting — they last for anything for about a week to 10 days. Here are the best places in Japan to get in on the action.

Chidorigafuchi, Tokyo

This verdant promenade along the moat northwest of the Imperial Palace is a prime spot for hanami, with hundreds of cherry trees along its length. While you can admire the blossoms up close, we’d recommend renting a paddle boat to enjoy the views from the water instead. At the tail-end of hanami season, the surface of the moat becomes covered in fallen petals, making it a sight to behold.

Address: 1-1 Kitanomarukoen, Chiyoda-ku

Yogi Park, Okinawa

Cherry blossoms start blooming as early as late January in Okinawa, thanks to the warmer climate. Mark your calendars for the Naha Sakura Festival 2020, which is set to take place from 19 to 23 February in Yogi Park. Besides hanami, visitors can also enjoy folk singing competitions and hula dance performances.

Address: 1 Chome-1-1 Yorimiya, Naha

Yamazakigawa Riverside, Nagoya

The banks of the Yamazaki River have been named among Japan’s top 100 hanami spots by the Japan Cherry Blossom Association, and for good reason. Here, you’ll find over 500 cherry trees lining the water’s edge. A section of the river is lit up at night, so you can admire the blossoms even after hours.

Address: 4 Chome, Otodo-machi, Mizuho-ku

Maruyama Park, Sapporo

Come spring, this park becomes a hotspot for hanami picnics thanks to its central location (it’s a five-minute train ride from the city centre) and ample green space. It also leads to Hokkaido Shrine, which is home to yet more cherry trees. Do note that in Sapporo, the sakura typically begins flowering in early May – later than in other parts of Japan.

Address: 3 Miyagaoka, Chuo-ku

Nishi Park, Fukuoka

This scenic hillside park is home to a whopping 1,000 cherry trees, making it one of the best spots in Fukuoka for hanami. Once you’ve feasted your eyes on the gorgeous blooms, pay a visit to Kouun Shrine, which is dedicated to the Kuroda family – a Japanese samurai clan that once ruled Fukuoka.

Address: 1-2 Ohorikoen, Chuo-ku

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