Popular Spots for Cherry Blossoms

Tokyo

Although Japan's busy capital wouldn't seem like the obvious place to enjoy strolling under blooming cherry trees, Tokyo has lots of parks, temples gardens and hidden spots which get taken over by the pink blossoms. For 2017, Tokyo's cherry trees are predicted to start blossoming around March 24th, with best viewing conditions around March 31st to April 8th. But don't worry, there are several different varieties of sakura, all of which have slightly different blooming times, so you are sure to catch a few even a bit before and after these dates!

Our Tokyo team, all experienced hanami-lovers, share some of their favorite spots to experience the fluffy white explosion of spring!

  • Meguro Riverside Meguro Riverside

    Meguro Riverside

    目黒川 | Meguro gawa

    During weekends and evenings this 4km stretch of river is a very busy spot filled with revelers drunk on the beauty of spring (and perhaps a few glasses of beer), but during the day it is much calmer. The riverside is entirely lined with large cherry trees, and on sunny days there is nothing better than slowly strolling under the pink canopy with a warm cup of coffee in hand. Easily accessible from both Nakameguro Station and Meguro Station, it is just a short train ride away from sightseeing spots like Shibuya and Shinjuku.

  • Shinjuku Gyoen Park Shinjuku Gyoen Park

    Shinjuku Gyoen Park

    新宿御苑 | Shinjuku gyoen

    Tokyo's equivalent of Central Park, Shinjuku Gyoen boasts over 1000 cherry trees of different varieties, which means that even if you are visiting a bit early or late in the season you can catch a few blossoms. Bring a plastic sheet or towel to sit on and some treats (but no alcohol please, as this is a National Park), then just pick a tree to lounge under for a lovely Japanese-style spring picnic. Not far from Shinjuku Station or Shinjuku Sanchome Station, being so conveniently located means that on weekends you will have lots of company!

  • Inokashira Park Inokashira Park

    Inokashira Park

    井の頭公園 | Inokashira koen

    A short train ride out of central Tokyo, Inokashira Park is not far from the world-famous Ghibli Museum! Located in the trendy Kichijoji area, the short walk from Kichijoji Station to the park will take you past lots of cute stores, coffee shops and tempting little restaurants. The paths of this large park surround a small lake, and one of the major attractions during cherry blossom season is renting a boat to float under the drooping branches of the blossom-loaded cherry trees.

Can't
choose?

These tours will make cherry blossom viewing a breeze!

Coming after
the season?

You can still catch the shibazakura!

Kyoto

The ancient capital of Japan becomes even more extraordinary during cherry blossom season, as the pink and white flowers frame the city's thousands of shrines, temples and traditional machiya houses. Renting a kimono and taking snapshots under the sakura is quite popular, so there will be lots of photo ops as you explore. Kyoto's blooming season for 2017 is predicted to start around March 28th, with the blossoms looking their best around April 4th to 11th.

Make sure to stop by these Kyoto must-sees during your spring trip!

  • The Philosopher's Path The Philosopher's Path

    The Philosopher's Path

    哲学の道 | Tetsugaku no michi

    Usually referred to as 'Testugaku no Michi', this narrow 2 km path follows a little stream, and connects Ginkakuji Temple and Nanzenji Temple. During early April the cherry trees create a tunnel of flowers, which look beautiful against the backdrop of small temples and tiny bridges which line the canal. Take a break from sightseeing in one of the nearby cafes, and do a bit of people-watching.

  • Shinbashi Geisha District Shinbashi Geisha District

    Shinbashi Geisha District

    新橋通り | Shinbashi dori

    Right in the center of Gion, the flagstoned and teahouse-lined area around the Shirakawa River is a magical spot, particularly when lit up after dark. The cherry trees, weeping willows and traditional wooden buildings give a taste of what Kyoto used to look like, and the section towards the end of the canal has a tunnel of sakura that are showstoppers. A short walk away from Shijo Station or Sanjo Station, be prepared for crowds at this must-see spot.

  • Ninnaji Temple Ninnaji Temple

    Ninnaji Temple

    仁和寺 | Ninnaji

    If you are arriving a little after prime cherry blossom season, this is the perfect spot to get the full experience! The temple's cute little Omuro cherry trees bloom about a week later than other varieties, framing the temple's pagoda in a frill of white flowers. Although it is a bit of a hike from central Kyoto, it is worth a visit. The temple is a 15 minute walk from JR Hanazono Station.

Take
a peek

The Top Cherry Blossom Tours in Kyoto

Osaka
and Nara

The perfect distance for a day trip from Kyoto, both Osaka and Nara have lots of cherry blossom spots to explore. Mt. Yoshino, located in Nara, is known as one of the most beautiful places in Japan to see the blooms, as the entire mountain is covered with sakura trees. Both cities have similar blooming times, starting around March 29th with the peak around April 4th to 11th, and Mt. Yoshino usually is at its best a little later.

Find
fun day trips

To the best sakura spots in Osaka and Nara

Other Areas
of Japan

Travelers venturing out of the main cities in Japan will also have plenty of chances to catch blossoms, as the blooming dates can vary dramatically depending on where on the long island they are located. From the sunny tropical paradise of Okinawa, where the bright pink sakura start blooming in late January to chilly Sapporo in Hokkaido, where visitors can enjoy the flowers in early to mid-May, you could travel up Japan following this pink tide of petals. The cherry blossom forecast map below can help you estimate the best time to visit some of Japan's less famous but beautiful cities!

* While we do our best to predict the cherry blossom season, severe weather, abrupt changes in temperature and other natural occurrences can affect the exact blooming times. Please use the times stated as guidelines, but do not consider them a guarantee.