100 Places to See Cherry Blossom in Japan: Kyushu & Shikoku
Wherever you happen to be traveling in the country, we've got you covered in our seven-part mega list.
Japan’s southern islands are the first to show signs of sakura as the bloom travels up Japan like a rolling pink wave. Fukuoka is leading the pack this year with full bloom predicted to arrive in the prefecture March 23. Kagoshima brings up the rear around March 30.
Kagoshima (March 30 ~)
Follow the sakura-lined street for a total of two kilometers from the city center to the park, where more than 1,000 lanterns will be lit up after 6:30 p.m. from March 18 to April 9. A cherry blossom festival is set to take place April 2 when the sakura reaches its peak, featuring tea ceremony workshops, a flea market and cherry-themed food and drink.
Bus: A 5-min walk from Meiko Gakuen Shita (Bus station)
Car: 40 min from Kyushu-Dou, Hitoyoshi IC
Miyazaki (March 27 ~)
Mochio Park’s extended tree-lined street makes you feel like you’re walking through a man-made sakura tunnel. After climbing 290 steps you’ll arrive at Mochio Shrine, from where you can look directly down on the blossoms.
Train: 15 min by bus bound for Kirishima Shrine to JR Nishimiyakono-jo Station, get off the bus at Yokoichi and walk for 10 min
Car: 30 min from Miyazaki-Dou (Road) Miyakonojo IC
Kumamoto (March 24 ~)
During cherry blossom season, Kumamoto Castle and its famed black and white tower are surrounded by approximately 800 blooming sakura trees. It’s most iconic during the nightly light up.
Train: 5 min walk from Kumamoto-jo (Kumamoto Castle) Shiyakusho-mae
Car: 30 min from Kyushu Kumamoto IC
Ichifusa Dam Lake
The name in Japanese, Ichi-man bon zakura or “10,000 sakura” gives you an idea of what to expect from this sprawling 14-kilometer cherry blossom carpet. The fountain in the middle of the lake adds to the picture-perfectness.
Train: The nearest bus station is either Funatsukiba or Asenohara, which are both located 15 min from Yunomae Sentou Mae Station
Car: 45 min from Kyushu Dou (Road) Hitoyoshi IC
Nagasaki (March 25 ~)
Do your hanami (cherry blossom viewing) among a total of 2,000 sakura trees in 21 varieties, including the omura-zakura – a national natural monument. Picnic during the nightly light up for the ultimate romantic date.
Train & Bus: Shiyakusho-Mae (bus station) is located within 10 min by bus from JR Omura Station
Car: 15 min from Nagasaki-Dou (Road) Omura IC
Saga (March 25 ~)
It’s best to go here during the night when the 3,000 sakura trees are lit up and beautifully reflected on the central pond’s surface. Make sure to try one of the traditional Japanese yokan sweets as you stroll – you’ll feel like you’ve tripped and fallen into a ukiyo-e painting.
Train: 5 min walk from JR Ogi Station
Car: 15 min from Nagasaki Dou (Road) Saga Daiwa
Oita (March 27 ~)
Oka Castle used to be famous as an impregnable castle, probably because attackers were so distracted by the 1,500 cherry blossoms planted in front. Catch the Oka-jo Castle Sakura Festival at the beginning of April if you can.
Train: 20 min on foot from JR Bungo-taketa station
Car: 50 min from Oita-Dou (Road) Oitamera IC, 1 hr 20 min from Kyushu-Dou Kumamoto IC
Fukuoka (March 23 ~)
With a stunning view looking down over Hakata Bay, this famous spot is extremely popular for hanami picnics underneath the approximately 1,300 sakura trees.
Train: 15 min walk from Oohori Koen Station
Car: 5 min from Fukuoka Toshi Kosoku Nishi Koen IC
Kochi (March 24 ~)
The 200m-long sakura tunnel at Kagamino Park, close to Kochi University of Technology, looks particularly beautiful with lanterns lit up during the night.
Train: 10 min by bus to Koukadai Iriguchi (Entrance to the Institute of Technology) from JR Tosayamada
Car: 30 min from Kouchi-Dou Nangoku IC
Ehime (March 26 ~)
Matsuyama Castle is packed with visitors every season but it’s one of Japan’s best-known sakura showcases (including spectacular views, festivals and night time light ups) that really draws the crowds. Take the ropeway to get to the castle tower – the view from there is gorgeous.
Train: 10 min by city train from JR Matsuyama Station to Daikaidou, and then 5 min walk to the ropeway station. It’s 3 min to the park by ropeway.
Kagawa (March 29 ~)
Kotohiki Prefectural Park
Part of Setonaikai National Park, 500 someiyoshino blossom at the same time to welcome in spring against a stunning contrasting backdrop of a total of more than 2,000 old pine trees. While you’re there, you can visit the nearby historic sights of Kotohiki Hachimangu shrine and Kannon-ji temple.
Train: 5 min by car/bus from JR Kannon-ji station
Car: 15 min from Takamatsu-Dou Sanuki-toyonaka IC
Tokushima (March 29 ~)
From the end of March there will be a countless number of lanterns lit up during the night among some 500 cherry blossom trees. Just beware if you’re thinking of driving as there are restrictions at this time.
Train: 30 min walk from JR Kuramoto Station
Car: 20 min by car from JR Tokushima Station / 30 min from Tokushima-Dou Tokushima IC
You can take a ropeway up to the mountain top to get to ancient poet’s favorite cherry blossom spot, Bizan Park. From the summit, look down the city center with the Asan mountain range and the Sea of Japan in the background.
Train: 10 min walk to Bizan Ropeway Sanroku Station from JR Tokushima Station. 6 min by ropeway to Sancho Station from Sanroku Station.
Car: 30 min from Tokushima-Dou Tokushima IC