5 Places to See Japan’s (Very Real) Winter Cherry Blossoms

These blossoms are not confused. They’re perfect.

Japan is world-famous for its sakura (cherry blossoms), which transform the country into a breathtaking sea of pink for a few fleeting weeks each spring. But did you know that it’s also possible to view cherry blossoms during late autumn and early winter – right in the heart of koyo (fall foliage) season?

Where To See Cherry Blossoms In Japan

While most types of cherry blossom trees bloom once a year in March/April (though a few in February!), there are some rarer varieties known as fuyuzakura (winter sakura) that flower twice a year – once in the spring, and once again between October and December. This second bloom coincides with another of Japan’s seasonal wonders, when the leaves of momiji (maple) trees change color to fiery oranges and dazzling reds.

To the delight of photographers and nature lovers, this makes it possible to enjoy both of Japan’s seasonal spectacles at the same time! With the delicate, pale pink sakura contrasting with the rich, vibrant red of the autumn leaves, it’s a really unique phenomenon that you can only experience in certain parts of the country.

Here are five of the best locations to enjoy winter cherry blossoms in Japan:

Sakurayama Park, Gunma

Boasting around 7,000 fuyuzakura trees, it’s no wonder that Sakurayama Park in Gunma prefecture is one of the most well-known spots for winter cherry blossoms. Its location atop a 591-meter mountain also makes it a good hiking location for those who want to earn their sakura-viewing enjoyment!

  • Sakurayama Park - Map
  • Best time to view: mid-November to mid-December
  • Closest station: Onishi post office bus stop (however, driving is recommended)
Seeing is believing…


Jomine Park, Saitama

Jomine Park in Kamikawa, Saitama Prefecture, has approximately 600 winter sakura trees. There are pathways running through them and also raised viewing platforms to help you get a better look — and the perfect Instagram photo! From late October until the beginning of December, the trees are also lit up at night, which creates a really magical atmosphere in the park. On the last Sunday of October, the Fuyuzakura Matsuri (“winter cherry blossom festival”) takes place, kicking off the season in style.

  • Jomine Park - Map
  • Best time to view: Mid-November
  • Closest station: Jomine Park bus stop (however, driving is recommended)
Lean a little closer, see the sakura really smell like:


Obara, Aichi

Obara district in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, is home to around 10,000 shikizakura, or “four season cherry trees.” These bloom once in March and once in November, and there are several spots where you can enjoy the beautiful juxtaposition of fall foliage and cherry blossoms. The main place to check out is Fureai Park, which hosts the month-long Obara Shikizakura Festival every November, with food stalls and music performances to enjoy alongside the flowers.

  • Best time to view: Mid–late November
  • Closest station: Obara okusa bus stop (however, driving is recommended)
An insta-shot is worth 1,000 likes:

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Cherry blossoms bloom in autumn and spring🌸 Autumn leaves🍁 The scenery was so beautiful it was overwhelming✨ 春と秋に咲く四季桜🌸 赤や黄色に色付く紅葉🍁 はじめて見た桜と紅葉のコラボレーションはとても美しく幻想的でした✨ in 愛知県豊田市小原 #四季桜 #紅葉 #桜と紅葉 #幻想的 #はじめて見た景色 #cherryblossom #autumnleaves #ピンクと赤のグラデーション #obara #小原 #小原四季桜 #美しい #beautiful #α6000 #sony #写真好きな人と繋がりたい #ファインダー越しの私の世界 #村橋茜 #ilovephotography #カメラ片手に #旅が好き #写真で伝えたい私の世界 #日本の絶景 #japan #四季

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Jikkoin Temple, Kyoto

This peaceful temple lies secluded away in Ohara, a rural village in a mountainous region northeast of Kyoto. Its winter sakura is the temple’s claim to fame, which you can view in its walking garden. The garden also features a pond, rock formations and the use of the surrounding mountains as borrowed scenery, making it the perfect place for some quiet contemplation as you enjoy the blossoms.

  • Jikkoin Temple - Map
  • Best time to view: November
  • Closest station: Ohara bus stop
Imagine, all the sakura and momiji, living as one…:


Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo

One of Tokyo’s most popular parks, Shinjuku Gyoen (Park) is home to a huge variety of cherry trees. As well as a bounty of trees that bloom in the spring, you’ll also find species that flower in February and those that bloom in late autumn and early winter. These include Jugatsuzakura – named October Cherry Tree after the month its pale flowers bloom – and Himalayazakura, which typically blossoms from November to December.

  • Shinjuku Park - Map
  • Best time to view: Mid-November
  • Closest station: Shinjuku Gyoenmae
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there is no denying this:

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☑︎︎2018.12.18 みかんで遊べる季節がやって参りました。 良い子の皆さんは食べ物で遊んではいけません。 (みかんは除く) * * ✑✒✑✒✑✒ ✔︎2018.11.30 #東京 #新宿御苑 #ジュウガツサクラ * 言えない…。 言えないよ…。 * 「この時期に桜が咲いてる!」 「やっぱり暖かいからね〜、 桜も勘違いして咲いてるんだろうね〜。」 「珍しいよねぇ〜。」 * * いえいえ、 あなた達が見てるその桜は、 年に2回咲く桜であって、 ちっとも珍しくもなんともないという事を… * 言えようか、 いや言えない。(反語) * * ここだけのお話、 秋に咲く桜って、 たいていそういう種類ですから。(小声) * * #十月桜#桜#CherryBlossoms #玉ボケ#玉ボケ写真部 #どんつき同盟#広がり同盟 #写真撮ってる人と繋がりたい #OLYMPUS倶楽部 #tokyocameraclub#total_shot #はなまっぷ#ザ花部 #rainbow_petals#team_jp_flower #7flowers_1day#loves_garden#Loves_Nippon#photo_jpn#bestjapanpics#Japan_Daytime_View#japan_of_insta#icu_japan#Lovers_Nippon#bestphoto_japan#wu_japan#ptk_japan

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On the gram

For more fuyuzakura photos and to see the latest posts for updates on the blooms’ timing from year to year, check out the following hashtags on Instagram:

Related Hashtag (in romaji)   (in English)
#冬桜 Fuyuzakura Winter sakura
#桜と紅葉 Sakura-to-koyo Sakura and fall foliage
#四季桜 Shikizakura Four-season sakura

 

And if you travel to one of the spots we’ve mentioned, use #GaijinPotTravel on your Instagram photos for a chance to get featured in our Top 10 Readers’ Photos of the Month!

Trivia

Where To See Cherry Blossoms In Japan

In spring, Japan transforms into a wonderland of pink, with innumerable places to view the fleeting sakura (cherry blossoms). Our guide to each of Japan's regions — including more than 600 iconic viewing spots — ensures travelers can view these magnificent blossoms no matter where they go.

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