There are numerous places to see Japan’s cherry blossoms throughout the country. Here are my highlights of where to view the cherry blossoms in several of Japan’s most scenic cities.
Kyoto’s Path of Philosophy © kimon
Japan’s cherry blossom season usually runs from late March to mid-April on the main island of Honshu. The season can begin earlier or later if you’re in the far south or north of the country, but for the major sightseeing cities of Kyoto, Tokyo and Osaka, late March to mid-April is the usual cherry blossom season. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict exactly when the cherry blossoms will appear each year, and so timing a trip to coincide with their appearance is tricky.
It’s also important to remember that the cherry blossoms are a huge tourist draw for the Japanese themselves, meaning that you need to book accommodation well in advance to make sure you get something reasonably priced – don’t leave it to the last minute!
If all the stars align and you get to see the cherry blossoms, it’s truly magical. Here are my guides about the some of the best places to view Japan’s cherry blossoms across the country’s different cities.
image © Jeffrey Friedl
You can see cherry blossoms in bloom all over Kyoto during sakura season but there’s are several particular places which provide stunning cherry blossom panoramas. Here’s my guide to the best spots including detail on off the beaten track spots and ideas for avoiding the crowds.
Cherry blossoms at Todai-ji Temple © fortherock
Nara is a fantastic place to enjoy Japan’s famous cherry blossoms. The parks, gardens, temples and shrines of the city are studded with cherry trees. Here is my guide on timing and a list of the best spots.
Tokyo cherry blossoms © hwat
Here is my list of the best spots in Tokyo for cherry blossoms. I’ve also included a list of tips for enjoying hanami (cherry blossom viewing). Read the guide here.
Kanazawa Castle Park with cherry blossoms © norio-nakayama
Kanazawa, with its fantastic gardens and green spaces, is a great place to enjoy Japan’s famous cherry blossoms. Here are the best spots and information on when the cherries bloom.
Osaka Castle with cherry blossoms © mssdotnet
Osaka is a surprisingly good place to check out Japan’s famous cherry blossoms. The trees are beautiful and the locals are always up for a party. Here is my guide to the best spots and average blooming dates.
Takayama canal with sakura in full bloom © xiffy
Takayama is a good place to enjoy Japan’s famous cherry blossoms. They bloom a bit later here than in Kyoto or Tokyo, so it’s good if you arrive late in Japan. Here is my guide to timing and a list of the best spots.
Hanami party near Hiroshima Peace Park © 16782093@N03
Hiroshima and the nearby island of Miyajima are fantastic places to enjoy Japan’s famous cherry blossoms. Here is my guide to timing and a list of the best spots.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy - here's how.
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)