We offer up exactly where to see the 2019 blossoms, including some of the most iconic spots plus ones that are a lot less crowded.

10
Expo ’70 Commemorative Park

Osaka city | Best time March 29 – April 7

This vast park, in 1970, was the home of the first world fair to be held in Asia. Today it is one of Osaka’s top spots for cherry-blossom viewing, especially during the nighttime illumination period, held in the natural and cultural gardens section, and usually accompanied by food stalls. There are around 5,500 cherry trees in the park and many facilities open for daytime exploration, such as a Japanese garden and a footbath, museums and forest nature trails.

  • Closest station: Bampaku Kinen-koen (monorail)
  • Night view:  6 p.m. to 9 p.m., March 20 – April 14 (subject to change)
  • Popularity ranking 4/5 (5 = very crowded)

9
Osaka Mint

Osaka city | Best time April 13-19

The Osaka branch of the national mint annually opens a 560-meter cherry-lined path within its grounds for one week to allow visitors to walk through and enjoy the beauty of around 350 trees in full bloom. The timing is announced mid-March. Most trees here are late-blooming, double-petal varieties and include some rare types hard to find elsewhere. No drinking or eating is allowed and the route is strictly one-way from south to north, but the sight of the puffy blossoms, especially under nightly illumination, makes the regimentation worthwhile.

  • Closest station: Temmabashi
  • Night view: from dusk to 9 p.m.
  • Popularity ranking: 3/5

8
Kema Sakuranomiya Park

Osaka City | Best time March 29 – April 7

Blossoms line both sides of the Okawa River in this park that runs for four kilometers and boasts around 4,800 cherry trees. The riverside promenades are also cherry-lined, making a soft pink tunnel of blossom accessible 24 hours. The flowers will be lit up at night during their peak week, when food stalls will also be on hand. Follow the river downstream and you’ll reach the Osaka mint on the west bank.

  • Closest station: Sakuranomiya
  • Night view: For one week when blossoms at their best on west bank between the Temmabashi and Sakuranomiya–bashi bridges.
  • Popularity Ranking: 2/5

7
Akashi Park

Hyogo | Best time April 1-11

This park is built around the ruins of Akashi Castle, which this year celebrates the 400th anniversary of its construction. The main keep no longer exists, but two turrets remain in a garden associated with the famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Around 1,000 cherry trees bloom here, mainly in the area surrounding Gono Pond. The park also has lots of lawn area, play equipment and rowboats and swan-shaped pedal boats to mess around in.

  • Closest station: Akashi (From Osaka: 1 hr by train)
  • Night view: paper lantern lighting during peak season. Park open 24 hours.
  • Popularity Ranking: 2/5

6
Daisen Park

Osaka | Best time March 31 – April 10

About 400 cherry trees surround the lake in the middle of the park, which includes broad lawn areas, as well as a children’s forest, a Japanese garden and a teahouse. There are almost 1,000 cherry trees throughout the entire park, including weeping cherries that bloom about 10 days earlier than the main somei yoshino type, which is the predominant variety here. Visit the rock garden to take in the sight and smell of an aromatic cherry variety common to Hokkaido, the chishima-zakura. Interestingly, the park is located amid the Mozu cluster of ancient burial mounds, which includes the nation’s largest keyhole-shaped tomb.

  • Closest station: Mozu (From Osaka city: 50 minutes by train)
  • Popularity Ranking: 2/5

5
Himeji Castle

Hyogo | Best time April 1-11

One of Japan’s most beautiful castles offers a breathtaking view of cherry blossoms against its graceful white exterior. Around a thousand cherry trees of the mainstream somei yoshino variety adorn the castle grounds. There are cherry-lined paths in the Sannomaru area, and weeping cherry trees in the Nishinomaru garden are lit up at night during the peak blossoming period, while the castle is illuminated nightly until midnight. For a unique way to enjoy the castle and the blossoms, take a boat ride around the moat.

  • Closest station: Himeji (From Osaka: 1 hour 30 minutes by train/bullet train)
  • Night view: Nishinomaru garden lit up for one week during peak blooming, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Popularity ranking: 5/5 (one of the most popular spots in Japan)

4
Mount Yoshino

Nara | Best time April 5-20

Known throughout the world for its mountain-wide display of cherry blossoms, Mount Yoshino is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site pilgrimage route of the Kii Mountain Range. The springtime spectacle here sees 30,000 cherry trees flower in turn from the base of the mountain upwards through four distinct sections; shimo-senbon, naka-senbon, kami-senbon, oku-senbon. From Yoshino station you can either enjoy a pleasant walk, or take a bus from the station, and then a cable car to the top section. Visit the Hanayagura observation point for the famous panoramic view of the blooming mountain.

  • Closest station: Yoshino (From Osaka: 2 hrs by train)
  • Night view: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. during peak period
  • Popularity Ranking: 5/5

3
Settsukyo Park

Osaka | Best time March 31-April 12

This park, built around a scenic valley, is located midway between the cities of Osaka and Kyoto, and offers great cherry blossom viewing and an escape into nature. At the south side of this broad-ranging park is a cherry blossom garden with about 800 trees, play equipment and lawn areas. Each year the flowers there are illuminated by paper lanterns. There are estimated to be around 3,000 cherry trees throughout the entire park, which includes a woodland hiking course and a hot spring facility.

  • Closest bus stop: Take city bus from JR Takatsuki station to Tsukawaki (About 1 hr from Osaka city)
  • Night view: For one week from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. according to blooming of flowers.
  • Popularity Ranking: 3/5

2
Osaka Castle Park

Osaka city | Best time March 29 – April 7

With about 3,000 cherry trees, an annual light-up event and the stately backdrop of Osaka Castle, this is the place for cherry-viewing parties. Among the vast grounds, Nishinomaru Garden is a must for the roughly 300 cherry trees that are illuminated there. Check out the late-blooming double-petal yaezakura cherry trees to the south of the plum grove, too. The castle is also famous for its plum blossoms, which flower from late January through to March.

  • Closest station: Morinomiya or Osakajokoen
  • Night view: Nishinomaru Garden, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., March 23 – April 14 (subject to change)
  • Popularity Ranking: 5/5

1
Koriyama Castle

Nara | Best time March 29-April 7

About 800 cherry trees line the moat of this pretty little (reconstructed) castle. It is a popular spot for night viewing of the blossoms, which are lit up by around 600 paper lanterns. From an outlook on the ruins of the castle tower you can see the pink clouds of blossom below, but another of the key views here is the contrast between the hard, dark 400-year old stone garden walls and the soft flower petals. To make the most of this, enter via the beautiful Ote gate and take the long route through the grounds.

  • Closest station: Kintetsu-Koriyama (From Osaka: 1hr 10min by train)
  • Night view: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., March 24 to April 7 (subject to change)
  • Popularity Ranking: 4/5

Osaka Blossoms 2019 Travel Tips

  • Castles and parks lead the top spots for cherry-blossom viewing in Osaka and nearby Nara and Hyogo prefectures. Some of these spots are an hour or two from central Osaka city and could be a day trip or overnight trip.
  • In order to avoid the worst of the crowds, visit on weekdays when most Japanese are at work. Alternatively, make the most of it by getting among the throng for some sit-down nighttime hanami (cherry-blossom viewing). Most spots offer a cherry blossom light up at night, so take advantage of it! For a hanami, it is customary to take a tarp or blanket, food and drinks and enjoy blossoms and partying.
  • Recommended viewing periods are approximate based on the latest cherry blossom forecast.

Photo time!

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