Enjoy the best of the cherry blossom viewing season with this list of the top spots to see sakura around the country.

Now that the cherry blossoms are officially in bloom, it’s time for people to start heading out to enjoy the best sakura spots the country has to offer. To help point us in the right direction, Japanese site Weathernews has just unveiled some of the most popular cherry blossom viewing spots, according to site rankings which reveal the most searched-for locations out of its 700 sakura listings nationwide.

So if you’re looking for a scenic spot to enjoy the blossoms in Japan, come with us as we take you on a whirlwind tour around the country, all the way from Hokkaido in the north down to Kyushu in the south. Strap yourself in because we’ve got a lot of ground to cover!

Hokkaido Area

Hakodate City – Goryokaku Park
Goryokaku Park turns into a stunning pink wonderland in spring, with its star-shaped fort and surrounding parkland covered in blossoming cherry trees.

Tohoku Area

Aomori Prefecture – Hirosaki Park
Here you can enjoy the sakura with a castle backdrop, and a river of pink petals at the ends of the viewing season.

Iwate Prefecture – Kitakami Tenshochi 
Visitors here can enjoy pleasure boat cruising, horse-driven carriage rides, and a vivid display of carp-shaped streamers in the air alongside the cherry blossoms above the Kitakami River.

Miyagi Prefecture – One Thousand Cherry Trees at a Glance of Shiroishi River
This stunning site lives up to its beautifully poetic-sounding name with a tunnel of sakura lining the embankment for a distance of 8 kilometres (5 miles).

Akita Prefecture – Kakunodate Weeping Cherry
Go back in time in the old samurai district, where you can walk beneath beautiful rows of weeping cherry blossom trees.

Yamagata Prefecture – Kajo Park
Approximately 1,500 cherry blossom trees bloom here on the former site of Yamagata Castle.

Fukushima Prefecture – Miharu Takizakura
The Miharu Takizakura, a weeping higan cherry that’s over 1,000 years old, becomes a popular site in spring, drawing thousands of visitors every year.

Kanto Area

Ibaraki Prefecture – Fukuoka Dam Row of Sakura Trees
This row of 600 trees is known for the beautiful reflection it creates on the surface of the water.

Tochigi Prefecture – Ohirasan Prefectural Nature Park
Approximately 4,000 cherry blossom trees bloom here, creating a stunning tunnel of pink for visitors to walk through.

Gunma Prefecture – Akagi Nanmen Senbonzakura
Located at the foot of the south face of Mt. Akagi, this collection of senbonzakura (“1,000 sakura”) can be enjoyed alongside fields of shibazakura (also known as moss phlox).

Saitama Prefecture – Gongendo Park
The Satte Sakura Festival is held here every year, with visitors enjoying the spectacle of pink cherry blossom trees against fields of bright yellow rapeseed.

Chiba Prefecture – Chiba Park
A convenient spot to enjoy the blossoms, a stroll around the pond here is best enjoyed with a sakura ice cream during the flower-viewing season.

Tokyo Prefecture – Ueno Park
As one of the city’s most well-known sakura spots, this park is absolutely crowded with people enjoying hanami picnics here year after year.

Kanagawa Prefecture – Odawara Castle Park
The combination of sakura trees, castle buildings, and a surrounding moat that catches the falling blossoms makes this a truly memorable spot for flower viewing.

Chubu Area

Yamanashi Prefecture – Yamataka Jindai Sakura
At 2,000 years old, The Yamataka Jindai Sakura is Japan’s oldest cherry tree.

Niigata Prefecture – Takada Park
4,000 cherry blossom trees bloom here, on grounds that feature a castle turret and a stunning backdrop of snow-capped mountain scenery.

Toyama Prefecture – Matsukawaberi
The Matsukawaberi garden area is located along the Matsukawa river, which flows behind a castle, creating a beautiful spot to enjoy the cherry blossom season.

Ishikawa Prefecture – Kenrokuen
As one of Japan’s “three most beautiful landscape gardens”, the sakura here can be enjoyed in a manicured yet traditional setting.

Fukui Prefecture – Asuwa River
The cherry blossom trees along the riverbank here form a beautiful tunnel of pink for visitors to walk under, with pathways lit by paper lanterns.

Nagano Prefecture – Takato Castle Park
Often cited as one of the three best locations to see cherry blossoms in Japan (along with Hirosaki Park and Mount Yoshino), this is a great place to view more than 1,500 trees in bloom.

Gifu Prefecture – Usuzumi Sakura
As one of Japan’s oldest cherry blossom trees, the Usuzumi Sakura is said to be over 1,500 years old. Its name translates to “pale black ink sakura,” which refers to the pale ashen colour of the trees’ flowers when they fall.

Shizuoka Prefecture – Izu Kogen Sakura
The Izu Kogen Plateau features roads lined with more than 3,000 gorgeous cherry blossom trees.

Aichi Prefecture – Nagoya Castle
Lovers of Japanese history and tradition can enjoy viewing the blossoms here alongside stunning castle architecture.

Mie Prefecture – Miyagawa Tsutsumi Park
In spring, this park becomes filled with more than 1,000 blossoming sakura, drawing crowds of people who come to enjoy hanami picnics at the riverside location.


Kinki Area

Shiga Prefecture – Kaizu Osaki
Kaizu Osaki is a peninsula in the Biwako Quasi-National Park, offering a beautiful view of cherry blossoms against the scenic backdrop of Lake Biwa.

Kyoto Prefecture – Daigo-ji
The daimyo warrior Hideyoshi Toyotomi held a cherry blossom party here in the 16th century, and people are still enjoying the blooms here centuries later, with the five-storied pagoda adding to the peaceful setting.

Osaka Prefecture – Osaka Castle Park
These expansive grounds are a perfect spot for friends and family to enjoy hanami picnics while enjoying a view of Osaka Castle rising above the surrounding cherry blossom trees.

Hyogo Prefecture – Himeji Castle
Known as one of the best surviving castles in Japan, this world heritage site comes to life in spring with more than a thousand cherry blossom trees.

Nara Prefecture – Mount Yoshino
With more than 30,000 cherry trees of different varieties on its slopes, Mount Yoshino has been called Japan’s most famous cherry blossom viewing spot for centuries.

Wakayama Prefecture – Wakayama Castle
This castle setting is a favourite with locals and tourists who come here to enjoy the annual sakura festival.


Chugoku / Shikoku Area

Tottori Prefecture – Minatoyama Park
Located at the foot of the site of Yonago Castle, the sakura here can be enjoyed by day or at night, when lanterns are lit during the annual cherry blossom festival.

Shimane Prefecture – Matsue Jozan Park
With stage events and a view of the castle, the 190 trees here include: Yoshino cherry, double-flowering cherry, wild cherry, and weeping cherry varieties.

Okayama Prefecture – Korakuen
As one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, Korakuen remains a popular spot to view cherry blossoms in a peaceful, beautifully manicured environment.

Hiroshima Prefecture – Miyajima
With its seaside location, traditional shrine, and free-roaming deer, Miyajima is a stunning place to visit at any time of the year, but in spring, the added beauty of cherry blossoms makes this an incredibly popular tourist destination.

Yamaguchi Prefecture – Kikko Park
After walking over the beautiful wooden arches of the famous Kintai-kyo Bridge, visitors get to enjoy meandering paths, stalls, and lantern-lined rows of sakura trees by the river.

Tokushima Prefecture – Tokushima Central Park
This park surrounding Tokushima Castle blooms with sakura in the spring, inviting hordes of people to enjoy hanami picnics and gatherings under the blossoms.

Kagawa Prefecture – Ritsurin Garden
As one of the most famous historical gardens in Japan, a stroll under the cherry blossoms here comes with added features like a tea house, traditional bridges, and beautiful ponds filled with koi carp.

Ehime Prefecture – Matsuyama Shiroyama Park
About 200 cherry trees bloom here, with a view of the castle tower in the background. The tower is lit up at night, creating a magical atmosphere.

Kochi Prefecture – Kochi Park
Kochi Castle overlooks the city from the park, surrounded by 225 cherry blossom trees in spring.


Kyushu Area

Fukuoka Prefecture – Maizuru Park
Located on the former site of Fukuoka Castle, this park has a number of pleasant areas to enjoy the blossoms among the castle’s ruined citadels.

Saga Prefecture – Ogi Park
Originally built by Motoshige Nabeshima and Naoyoshi Nabeshima, the first and second lords of Ogi Domain, this park has more than 3,000 sakura trees on its grounds.

Nagasaki Prefecture – Omura Park
Here visitors can view the remains of Kushida Castle, along with some 2,000 cherry blossom trees.

Kumamoto Prefecture – Kumamoto Castle
Nearly a thousand cherry trees bloom on the castle grounds, making it one of the best places in the city to enjoy a hanami picnic during the flower-viewing season.

Oita Prefecture – Ohara Weeping Cherry Tree
The Ohara shidare-zakura (“weeping cherry tree”) is over 200 years old. Located by the side of a road, the spectacular tree is lit up at night so visitors can enjoy its night-time beauty.

Kagoshima Prefecture – Kotsuki River
Flowing through the middle of Kagoshima City, Kotsuki River is a convenient spot to enjoy the blossoms in the middle of the city, with roughly 500 sakura trees lining the river.

Whether you’re travelling around the country, or looking to enjoy a hanami flower-viewing picnic amongst the locals, we hope this epic guide to Japan’s sakura spots helps you get the best out of this year’s long-awaited cherry blossom season — no matter if you’re doing your hanami on foot, via roller coaster, or going on a Starbucks sakura pilgrimage.

Source: Weathernews
Related: Sakura Ch.
Featured image: Pakutaso
[ Read in Japanese ]