100 Places to See Cherry Blossom in Japan: Chugoku
Part two of our epic list covers the south- and central-western parts of the country; including Yamaguchi, Hiroshima and Tottori.
Most visitors will end up in the Chugoku region because of Hiroshima but there’s a lot more to the westernmost part of Honshu than travel guides give it credit for, including some rather breathtaking cherry blossom spots.
Yamaguchi (March 29 ~)
This famous arched bridge is one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Including the sakura trees in the neighboring park – Kikko Koen – there are about 3,000 to revel under. Get there early to save a hanami (flower-viewing) spot in the park’s central grassy square after you’ve snapped shots (like above) of the bridge through the blossom.
Train: 20 min by bus from JR Iwakuni Station to Kintaikyo
Car: 10 min from Sanin-dou Iwakuni IC
On the first Sunday in April there’s an annual sakura festival held at the park under the blush of 3,500 cherry blossoms where you can eat, drink and be cherry while watching the traditional performances.
Train: 15 min walk from JR Jouban Station
Car: 15 min from Sanin-Dou Ube IC / 5 min from Yamaguchi Ube Ube Minami IC
Hiroshima (March 29 ~)
Shobara Ueno Park
Shobara-Ueno Park (not to be confused with Ueno Park in Tokyo) opened at the beginning of the Edo era. Since then, it’s been consistently rated as one of the best sakura spots in western Japan.
Train: 10 min walk from JR Bingo Shobara Station
Car: 5 min from Chugoku-dou Shobara IC
Overflowing with cherry blossoms at the beginning of April, this park offers some stellar views of the Sea of Japan through the sakura from the top of the (mini) mountain. Take the Senkoji-yama Ropeway to reach the park.
Train: 5 min by bus (or 15 min walk) from HR Onomichi Station to Nagaeguchi (bus station). Take the Senkoji Ropeway for 3 min to Sancho Station.
Car: 20 min from Onomichi IC
Okayama (March 29 ~)
Nothing looks quite like a Japan-bought fridge magnet than cherry blossoms framing a magnificent castle and its stone wall. The trees will be lit up during the night. Head to the top of the castle for the best view.
Train: 15 min walk from JR Kishinsen Tsuyama Station
Car: 15 min from Chugoku Jidousha-dou Tsuyama IC
Shimane (March 31 ~)
Hikawa Teibo (Unnan City)
800 sakura trees create a two kilometer-long pink tunnel along the Hikawa riverbank, lit by lanterns at night during the festival season. Unnan City puts a lot of effort into protecting the trees, as well as planting more in the area, by hiring experts dubbed “Sakura-mori” or Guardians of the Sakura.
Train: 1 min walk from JR Kisuki Station
Car: 45 min from Chugoku Oudan Jidousha-dou Miyoshi-higashi JCT/IT
Matsue Jozan Park
While picturesque Matsue Castle and its historic tower – designated as an important cultural property in Japan – welcome a steady flow of tourists year-round, seeing the structure surrounded by some 200 sakura trees is especially rewarding.
Train: 10 min by bus from JR Matsue Station to Matsue-jo or Kencho-mae Station followed by 10 min walk.
Car: 10 min Sanindo Matsue West Exit via Kokudou 9
Tottori (March 30 ~)
Kurayoshi Utsubuki Park
Utsubuki Park gets packed with visitors in spring who come to enjoy various types of sakura in the charming village surroundings of Kurayoshi. Talent shows and sumo wrestling entertain hanami-goers in the day, while the evening sees big and small lanterns lit up through the trees as children take part in nagashibina (floating paper dolls on the lake).
Train: 12 min by bus from JR Kurayoshi Station to Akagawara / Shirakabe-dozou, followed by 10 min walk to the Park
Car: 40 min from Yonago-dou Yubara IC
Tottori Castle Park
Tottori Castle, now renamed as Hisamatsu Koen, is famous for being the location of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s victory in war by using (the previously unheard of) tactic of cutting off the enemy’s’ food supply. Despite the gruesome origins, the castle park hosts one of the most popular cherry blossom festivals featuring food stalls, lantern light ups and performances.
Train: 8 min by bus to Tottori-jo Ato from JR Tottori Station / 5 min by bus to Nishimachi from JR Tottori Station
Car: 20 min from Tottori-Dou Tottori Minami IC