People in Japan cast their vote for their favourite hanami spot and the places where they most want to see sakura before they die.

Every year, as Japan’s cherry blossom season approaches, people around the country turn their thoughts towards hanami flower-viewing picnics and the dream places where they’d like to see the sakura in bloom.

This year, Japanese travel site Airtrip asked 772 people, ranging in age from their teens to their 70s, to answer two pressing cherry blossom questions. Firstly, they asked respondents to reveal the best hanami spots they’ve been to so far, and these were the top 10 responses.

10. Goryōkkaku (Hokkaido)

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After a couple of memorable days in Aomori it’s time to head a little further north for the last of this year’s sakura in Hokkaido. The Goryokaku Star Fort in Hakodate was built in 1855 by the Tokugawa shogunate to protect the Tsugaru Strait against a possible invasion by the Russian fleet and today it’s a stunning spot to view the cherry blossoms 🌸 . . . . . . . #japan #hokkaido #sakura #cherryblossom #japan_of_insta #nightview #flowers #flowerstagram #potd #gaijinpotsakura #hakodate #goryokaku #instagood #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #visitjapanau #visitjapanjp #japantrip #iamatraveler #wanderlust #team_jp_ #iphonex #lovejapan

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The Goryokaku Star Fort in Hakodate was built in 1855 by the Tokugawa shogunate to protect the Tsugaru Strait against a possible invasion by the Russian fleet and today it’s a stunning spot to view the cherry blossoms.

9. Osaka Mint Bureau (Osaka)

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. 桜めぐり⑮大阪編/造幣局 ・ この春、 桜めぐりの最後に訪れたのは 大阪造幣局「桜の通り抜け」。 造幣局は南門から北門にかけての 約560mに134種349本の桜があり 毎年訪れているのに 見飽きることがありません。 大ぶりで派手な桜は フィナーレを飾るのに 相応しい華がありました。 17日火曜日まで開催されています。 ・ 今年も色んな場所で 色んな桜を見た。 年を経るごとに 桜が好きになったような気がする。 咲き始めの桜から 春の息吹を感じ〜 満開の桜から 生命の賛歌を感じ〜 散った桜から 生と死の象徴を感じる。 そして誰にも見られていないのに 緑の葉を茂らす桜から 連綿と続く命の連鎖を 感じるようになった。 日本人は桜とともに 生きているのかも知れません。 また来年の春も 僕たちの目と心を 楽しませて欲しいね。 おしまい。 ・ location_Osaka mint bureau / Osaka,Japan photo in_2018/4/12 title_ Cherry blossoms are falling. ・ #大阪造幣局 #造幣局桜の通り抜け #桜の通り抜け #zekkeijapan #lovers_nippon #tokyocameraclub #photo_shorttrip #instgramjapan #japan_of_insta #ig_japan #igersjp #bestphoto_japan #japan_daytime_view #ptk_japan #bestjapanpics #広がり同盟 #icu_japan #retrip_nippon #けしからん風景 #team_jp_西 #phos_japan #whim_life #art_of_japan_ #photo_jpn #ExploreJPN #histrip_japan #jaran_travel #deaf_bestshot_japan

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The Osaka Mint Bureau is the head office of Japan Mint, a governmental agency that supplies coins to the Japanese market. While the Mint Museum is open to the public year-round, for one week in April the Mint Bureau opens their cherry garden to the public, with crowds of people coming to view more than 300 cherry blossom trees, which are mostly the later-blooming yae-zakura variety.

8. Shinjuku Gyoen (Tokyo)

Shinjuku Gyoen is an expansive park in the middle of downtown Tokyo with over a thousand sakura trees, and more than a dozen different varieties. The spacious lawns and early and late blooming sakura varieties make Shinjuku Gyoen a great spot for a hanami picnic throughout the blossoming season.

7. Meguro River (Tokyo)

Despite being a concrete canal, Meguro River is an incredibly popular sakura spot, with over 800 cherry blossom trees lining the length of the river for several hundred metres. The festival stalls and evening light-up gives this area a lively hanami atmosphere.

6. Takato-Joshi Koen (Nagano)

Takato-Joshi Koen (Takato Castle Ruins Park) in Ina City, Nagano, is famous for being known as one of the three best locations to see cherry blossoms in Japan. With 1,500 sakura trees and nighttime illuminations, this is one of the most beautiful – and most crowded – spots to enjoy a hanami picnic in the country.

5. Ueno Park (Tokyo)

Ueno Park is a popular place to sit under the trees in the middle of Tokyo, with more than a thousand trees in the park and along the street leading to Shinobazu Pond, where you can enjoy a boat ride amongst the blossoms.

4. Kawazu (Shizuoka)

Kawazu kicks off the country’s cherry blossom festivities every February with an early-blooming variety that was first discovered in Kawazu in the 1950s. Accessible on a day trip from Tokyo, the festival draws a crowd of approximately two million every year, who come to see the pink-coloured blossoms in a peaceful riverside setting.

3. Mount Yoshino (Nara)

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今日から本格的に桜撮影始動🌸 過去picですが吉野の千本桜✨ここの見頃は来週くらいかな(o^^o)ほんま丘一面に桜ボーボーな場所とか、なかなかないで😎 #奈良 #吉野 #千本桜 #wp_桜2017 #日本の絶景 #jalan_asobi #吉野千本桜 #ダレカニミセタイケシ #吉野山 #世界遺産 #ソメイヨシノ

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Mount Yoshino has been a famous cherry blossom viewing spot for centuries. With the first trees said to be planted here more than 1,300 years ago, the mountain is now covered with approximately 30,000 cherry trees of many different varieties.

2. Hirosaki Park (Aomori)

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Words cannot describe the stunning beauty of the night sakura at Hirosaki Park! Considered one of the top 3 spots in Japan to see the cherry blossoms at night, there are many beautiful sights around the park but the view from the arched bridge is absolutely breathtaking. Looking at the scene from here is like looking at a dragon eating its tail, and the reflections of the sakura look like branches of coral underneath the water. Simply amazing 💕🌸💕🌸💕 . . . . . . . #japan #travel #sakura #cherryblossom #yozakura #nightview #night #japan_night_view #japan_of_insta #team_jp_ #travelgram #instatravel #flowers #flowerstagram #amazingaomori #gaijinpotsakura #potd #instagood #nightphotography #bestjapanpics #visitjapanau #visitjapanjp #wanderlust #iphonex #japantrip

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Considered one of the top three spots in Japan to see the cherry blossoms at night, there are many beautiful sights around the park but the view from the arched bridge is absolutely breathtaking. Looking at the scene from here is like looking at a dragon eating its tail, and the reflections of the sakura look like branches of coral underneath the water.

1.  Chidorigafuchi (Tokyo)

Tokyo’s Chidorigafuchi moat was constructed around the Imperial Palace centuries ago, in the early Edo period (1603-1868) when the Tokugawa Shogunate ruled Japan. Today it’s one of the most picturesque places in Tokyo to view the sakura cherry blossoms, either from the banks of the moat or from inside it on a rowboat or pedal-boat.

Now that we’ve heard from the respondents about their top ten hanami spots, it’s time to press them for another top ten, and this time it’s: The hanami spot I most want to visit before I die.

10. Usuzumi Zakura (Gifu)

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. 淡墨桜 : ライトアップ終了ギリギリに着いてあれこれ構図迷ってるうちに終わってしまった…中の一枚 : この日 日本三巨桜の二本を拝めました🙏✨ : 📷31-Mar-2018 : : #淡墨桜 #根尾谷淡墨桜 #岐阜 #桜 #夜桜 #風景 #風景写真 #けしからん風景 #日本の風景 #旅 #写真好きな人と繋がりたい #写真撮ってる人と繋がりたい #広がり同盟 #東京カメラ部 #富士フイルム #fujifilm #fujifilmxt2 #xt2 #fujinon #art_of_japan_ #lovers_nippon #japan_night_view #japan_of_insta #bestjapanpics #japantravelphoto #daily_photo_japan

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Usuzumi Zakura is one of Japan’s oldest cherry blossom trees, located not far from the city of Gifu, in Neodani Valley in Neo Village, Motosu. Said to be approximately 1,500 years old, this sakura tree is said to have been planted by Emperor Keitai in the sixth century.

9. Kakunodate (Akita)

Kakunodate is famous for its weeping sakura, which cascade over traditional residences in the old samurai town.

8. Osaka Mint Bureau (Osaka) 

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八重桜テロ🌸🌸🌸 毎年桜の見納めはここ! 咲くのが遅い八重桜がたーくさんある造幣局🌸 桜を見ると癒されるね #桜#🌸#造幣局#桜の通り抜け#八重桜#八重咲き#満開#桜吹雪#いろんな種類の #桜づくし#桜まみれ#見ごろ#お花見#大大阪の桜の名所#大阪造幣局#サクラスタグラム#桜スタグラム#花スタグラム#ハナスタグラム#インスタ映え#観光名所#ばえ

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Making another appearance in the survey is the Osaka Mint Bureau, with its short week-only viewing period making it a sought-after destination.

7. Takato-Joshi Koen (Nagano) 

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・ 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 ・ 昨日は信州に桜を見に行ってきました✨😃 ・ 北の方のしだれ桜はまだでしたが楽しめました🌸 ・ 帰りに高遠城址公園 に寄りましたがここは満開で女子力高過ぎました😂😂😂 ・ 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 ・ #高遠城址公園 #桜 #cherryblossom #landscape #はなまっぷ #はなまっぷ桜2018 #art_of_japan_ #bestjapanpics #lovers_nippon #lovers_nippon_2018桜 #japan_night_view #japan_of_insta #tokyocameraclub #team_jp_ #team_jp_春色2018 #igersjp #ig_japan #instagramjapan #土曜日の小旅行 #kf_gallery #ig_phos #photo_jpn #s_shot #wu_japan #wp_flower #visitjapanjp #wp_flower桜2018 #bestjapanpics_桜2018一部 #東京カメラ部 #photo_shorttrip

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Takato-Joshi Koen also makes another appearance, and with photos this stunning, it’s easy to see why.

6. Miharu Takizakura (Fukushima)

Miharu Takizakura, which literally translates to “waterfall cherry tree of Miharu”, is an ancient sakura tree in Miharu that’s more than 1,000 years old. The weeping tree is classified as one of the five great cherry trees of Japan, and one of the three giant cherry trees of Japan. Designated a national treasure in 1922, the tree blooms with light pink flowers spreading out in all directions, like a waterfall.

5. Goryōkaku (Hokkaido)

Goryokaku once again proves to be popular, and with good reason. The unusual raised fort construction provides walkways on different levels, creating an all-encompassing view that makes you feel like you’re walking on clouds of cherry blossoms.

4. Kyoto

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#京都産寧坂#三年坂#向日神社 . ▪1枚目 向日神社 photo by @tatikoma1984 . 全国お花見1000景にも選ばれるお花見スポット。 . ▪2枚目 京都産寧坂(三年坂) photo by @giuliettar2 . 京都の情緒溢れる風景に馴染む桜。しだれ桜も見もの。 . #kyotostyle #kyoto #京都 #桜ライトアップ #桜 #京都桜 #花見 #cherryblossom #kyotojapan #さくら #サクラ #夜桜 #kyototrip #kyotojapan #京都旅行 #京都旅 #満開 #cherryblossoms #ゴープロのある生活 #そうだ京都行こう #桜とる人おけいはん

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Surprisingly, no one spot in Kyoto is specified in this response; instead people dream of viewing the blossoms against the ancient city’s backdrop of traditional shrines, temples and tenement houses. And they probably dream of enjoying it without the hordes of tourists too.

3. Washington D.C. (U.S.A)

Another surprising entry on the list shows people have an interest in viewing the cherry blossoms outside of Japan, in Washington, where the cherry blossoms bloom around the Tidal Basin, the Washington Monument, and in East Potomac Park. In 1912, over 3,000 sakura were sent to the United States as a gift of friendship from the people of Japan, so a visit to see these special trees in bloom is a top dream destination for a number of Japanese people.

2. Mount Yoshino (Nara)

Once again, Mount Yoshino is popular, with people dreaming of ascending the slopes under a sea of cherry blossoms.

1. Hirosaki Park (Aomori)

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I’ve seen flurries of falling sakura petals many times before but never have they been as glorious as this! At Hirosaki Park they were constant, and when the wind picked up it was like being in a snowstorm, with petals coming at you with such force you had to close your eyes to avoid being hit by them! Seriously one of the most stunning things I’ve ever experienced 💕💕💕 . . . . . . . #japan #sakura #cherryblossom #flowers #flowerstagram #petals #slomo #hirosaki #travel #travelgram #videos #pink #nature #naturelovers #wanderlust #traveling #japantrip #lovejapan #gaijinpotsakura #aomori #natureporn #naturephotography #spring #amazingaomori #instatravel #visitjapanjp #visitjapanau

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Hirosaki Park takes top place on this list, and it’s well deserved. The expansive grounds provide you with a number of picturesque hanami spots, which come with a beautiful castle backdrop and moats that fill with fallen sakura petals, creating gorgeous cherry blossom carpets that draw crowds of visitors to Aomori year after year.

So there you have it – the top 10 best hanami spots in Japan and the top 10 hanami spots people wish to visit before they die. How many have you been to on the list? Let us know in the comments below, and if you’re looking for more recommended cherry blossom destinations, head on over here to view 45 more spots around Japan, from Hokkaido all the way down to Kyushu!

Featured image: © SoraNews24  
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