Top 5 places in Japan to see cherry blossoms

Japan is a land of many attractions and curiosities for visitors near and far, and cherry blossom viewing – also known as “hanami” – is at the top of the list for many visiting the Land of the Rising Sun. As Japan’s cherry blossom season unfurls, #legend reveals the five top searched destinations in Japan where international travellers are flocking to experience the ephemeral beauty of the ‘sakura’

Photo: Bagus Pangestu

Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Kyoto, and Fujikawaguchiko have emerged as the most sought-after spots, each offering a unique viewing experience of the cherry blossoms at their peak. Travellers from South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and mainland China are checking into Japan in the highest numbers during this period, drawn by the captivating cherry blossoms that symbolise renewal and the fleeting nature of life.

This year’s cherry blossom season invites travellers to witness the stunning blooms and to immerse themselves in the local festivals and cultural experiences that accompany this time of year. From picnicking under the blossoms to exploring historic temples and shrines, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy Japan’s springtime beauty.


The capital of Japan is a fantastic destination for cherry blossom viewing for several reasons:

  1. Abundance of cherry trees: Tokyo is home to numerous parks, gardens, and streets lined with cherry trees. Some popular spots include Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, Chidorigafuchi Moat, and Sumida Park. These areas boast a high concentration of cherry trees, providing ample opportunities for hanami.
  2. Variety of cherry tree species: Tokyo showcases a wide variety of cherry tree species, including the iconic Somei Yoshino cherry trees. These trees produce delicate, pale pink flowers that create stunning landscapes when they bloom en masse. Additionally, other species like the late-flowering yaezakura or the weeping shidarezakura offer unique and beautiful blossoms.
  3. Vibrant urban setting: Tokyo’s urban landscape serves as a striking backdrop for cherry blossoms. The juxtaposition of traditional gardens, modern architecture, and bustling city streets creates a captivating atmosphere during hanami. The sight of cherry blossoms against the Tokyo skyline or adorning historic temples and shrines is truly mesmerising.
  4. Cultural significance: Cherry blossoms hold great cultural significance in Japan, symbolising the transient nature of life and the beauty of impermanence. Tokyo embraces this cultural heritage and celebrates hanami with various events, festivals, and nighttime illuminations. These festivities often attract both locals and tourists, creating a lively and festive atmosphere.
  5. Seasonal festivities: During the cherry blossom season, Tokyo becomes alive with festivities, picnics, and traditional performances. Many people gather under the cherry trees for hanami parties, enjoying food, drinks, and socialising with friends and family. It’s a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and experience the joyous atmosphere.

In Tokyo, cherry blossoms are expected to reach full bloom in late March, with the city’s numerous parks and gardens providing spectacular viewing spots. 


With an international airport a short train ride away, Osaka is often a favoured destination for foreign visitors to hit for cherry blossom viewing. Further reasons to opt for Osaka are:

  1. A wealth of cherry blossom trees: Osaka boasts numerous parks, gardens, and streets lined with cherry blossom trees. Some popular spots include Osaka Castle Park, Kema Sakuranomiya Park, and Expo ’70 Commemorative Park. These locations offer a stunning display of cherry blossoms during the spring season.
  2. Diversity: Osaka features a wide variety of cherry blossom trees, including the iconic somei yoshino, which has delicate, pale pink petals. Additionally, you can find other types like yaezakura, with double-layered blossoms, and shidarezakura, known for its cascading branches.
  3. Festivals and events: Osaka hosts several cherry blossom festivals and events, attracting both locals and tourists. One of the most famous is the Osaka Mint Bureau Cherry Blossom Viewing, where the public can enter the mint’s garden and admire over 300 cherry trees. Other festivals include the Sakuya Konohana Kan Cherry Blossom Festival and the Tenjin Matsuri, which coincides with the cherry blossom season.
  4. Vibrant atmosphere: During cherry blossom season, Osaka comes alive with a festive atmosphere. Many people gather under the cherry trees to have picnics, enjoy food and drinks, and celebrate the arrival of spring. Parks and riversides become vibrant social hubs, creating a lively and enjoyable environment for hanami.
  5. Accessibility: Osaka is easily accessible, both domestically and internationally, making it a popular destination for travelers. The city has a well-developed transportation system, including trains and buses, making it convenient to explore different cherry blossom spots within and around Osaka.

Osaka’s cherry blossoms, known for framing the city’s rich history and culinary scene, are best seen in early April. 


Fukuoka, located in the southern part of Japan, is a great place for cherry blossom viewing. Here are a few reasons why this city is considered a great destination for enjoying cherry blossoms:

  1. Early blooming: Fukuoka’s cherry blossoms typically bloom earlier compared to other regions in Japan. Due to its milder climate, cherry trees in Fukuoka often start blooming in late March or early April, allowing visitors to experience the beauty of sakura earlier in the spring season.
  2. Cherry trees aplenty: Fukuoka City is home to numerous cherry trees, which can be found in parks, temples, along riversides, and even on the streets. The cityscape transforms into a vibrant pink and white spectacle during cherry blossom season, providing ample opportunities for hanami picnics and strolls amidst the blossoms.
  3. Ohori Park: Ohori Park is one of Fukuoka’s most famous hanami spots. It features a large central lake surrounded by cherry trees, creating a picturesque setting for cherry blossom viewing. The park also has spacious lawns where visitors can relax and enjoy picnics under the blooming trees.
  4. Maizuru Park: Located near Fukuoka Castle, Maizuru Park is another popular location for hanami. It offers a stunning cherry blossom tunnel, known as “Sakura no Michi,” where visitors can walk beneath a canopy of blooming cherry trees. The park is also famous for its evening illuminations, which enhance the beauty of the cherry blossoms after dark.
  5. Nishi Park: Nishi Park is a vast public park that spans a hillside overlooking Fukuoka City. It boasts over 1,300 cherry trees of various varieties, including Somei Yoshino, the most common type of cherry tree in Japan. From the park’s elevated vantage point, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Fukuoka while surrounded by blooming cherry blossoms.
  6. Festivals and events: Fukuoka hosts several cherry blossom festivals and events during the season. One notable event is the Fukuoka Castle Cherry Blossom Festival, held at Maizuru Park, featuring traditional performances, food stalls, and nighttime illuminations. These events add a lively and festive atmosphere to the hanami experience.

The combination of early blooming, abundance of cherry trees, beautiful parks, and cultural events make Fukuoka an excellent choice for enjoying the enchanting beauty of sakura. It is expected that the blossom peak for Fukuoka will happen during the final days of March this year.


With the prospect of sighting geishas in the Gion district, Kyoto is also renowned for its cherry blossom viewing, attracting millions of visitors each year. Here are a few reasons why this former imperial capital is considered a great place for cherry blossom viewing:

  1. Rich cultural heritage: Kyoto is home to numerous historic temples, shrines, and gardens, many of which were built during the city’s time as the capital of Japan. These sites are often surrounded by beautiful cherry blossom trees, creating a stunning backdrop for flower-viewing gatherings.
  2. Abundance of cherry blossom trees: Kyoto boasts a significant number of cherry blossom trees throughout the city. The trees can be found in various locations, including parks, gardens, along riverbanks, and even in residential areas. This abundance ensures that visitors have ample opportunities to enjoy the cherry blossoms.
  3. Diverse cherry blossom varieties: The city supports sakura tree species such as the delicate pale-pink somei yoshino, the wild cherry tree yamazakura, and Weeping Cherry Trees (known for their cascading branches). The presence of different cherry blossom types adds to the visual appeal and provides a unique experience for visitors.
  4. Historical significance: Cherry blossoms have been deeply intertwined with Japanese culture for centuries. Kyoto, with its long history and traditional atmosphere, offers a particularly meaningful setting for appreciating the beauty of cherry blossoms. The combination of ancient temples, traditional tea houses, and cherry blossoms creates a captivating ambiance that captures the essence of Japanese aesthetics.
  5. Festivities: Kyoto hosts various cherry blossom festivals and events during the blooming season. The most famous one is the “Hanami Koji Street” event in the Gion district, where lanterns are lit, and traditional geisha performances take place. These celebrations enhance the overall experience of cherry blossom viewing, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere.

Typically, the cherry blossoms in Kyoto start blooming in late March or early April, but it’s always recommended to check the specific forecast for the year you plan to visit.


Fujikawaguchiko is considered a great place for cherry blossom viewing due to its picturesque location and the stunning views it offers. Here are a few reasons why Fujikawaguchiko is particularly attractive for experiencing cherry blossoms:

  1. Scenic setting: Fujikawaguchiko is situated in the Fuji Five Lakes region, near the iconic Mount Fuji in Japan. The combination of cherry blossoms and the majestic mountain creates a breathtaking backdrop, making the cherry blossom viewing experience even more enchanting.
  2. The famous yoshino tree: The area is home to numerous cherry trees, including the famous Yoshino cherry trees. These trees typically bloom in late March to early April, covering the landscape with delicate pink and white blossoms.
  3. Lake Kawaguchi: Fujikawaguchiko is centered around Lake Kawaguchi, one of the Fuji Five Lakes. The cherry trees along the lakeshore offer a beautiful reflection on the water, enhancing the overall visual appeal.
  4. Cherry blossom festivals: During the cherry blossom season, Fujikawaguchiko hosts various festivals and events to celebrate the blooming sakura. These festivals often include food stalls, traditional performances, and illuminated night views, adding to the festive atmosphere.
  5. Outdoor activities: In addition to cherry blossom viewing, Fujikawaguchiko offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and boat rides. You can combine your cherry blossom excursion with exploring the surrounding natural beauty and enjoying the pleasant weather of spring.

It’s important to note that cherry blossom bloom times can vary each year depending on weather conditions, so it’s a good idea to check the local forecasts and updates to plan your visit accordingly. But typically, the flowers are in full bloom at the end of March.

The top five cherry blossom destinations in Japan are compiled by digital travel platform, Agoda.

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