Top 5 Places in Japan to Witness Cherry Blossoms

In just a few weeks, Japan will be bursting with the beauty of cherry blossoms, marking the start of hanami season. It’s such a big deal that the weather experts even predict when the blossoms will appear! Families and friends eagerly await this time to gather under the blooming trees for picnics and saké. If you’re keen to join the festivities, this blog will guide you on where to go and when to expect the blossoms.

Cherry Blossom Season in Japan – Time

Each year brings its own unique timing. The cherry blossoms vary across Japan. There are different types of cherry blossoms, each blooming at slightly different times and sticking around for about two weeks. The earliest blooms typically show up in warm Okinawa as early as January. The cherry blossoms on the northern island of Hokkaido wait until early May. Aim for the best pink explosion in popular tourist areas from late March to early April.

Cherry Blossom Festival

The Motobu Yaedake Cherry Blossom Festival in Okinawa usually kicks off the cherry blossom season around mid-January to early February. Most other festivals happen between March and May. While it’s tricky to pinpoint the exact dates, a good tip is to check the dates from the past five years and go for an average. You can look forward to picnics and barbecues, live music, tasty food stalls, crafts, and serene tea ceremonies under the blossoming trees whenever these festivals happen.

Probable Full Bloom dates for Cherry Blossom in Japan in 2024

  • March 30: Tokyo
  •  March 27: Kumamoto Castle, Kumamoto prefecture
  • April 1: Kyoto, Kyoto prefecture
  • April 3: Himeji Castle, Hyogo Prefecture
  •  April 6: Yoshino, Nara prefecture
  •  April 13: Fuji Five Lakes, Yamanashi Prefecture
  • April 19: Miharu, Fukushima prefecture
  •  April 29: Hirosaki Castle, Aomori Prefecture
  • May 9: Matsumae Park, Hokkaido prefecture

Why is Cherry Blossom Special to Japan?

The brief two-week blooming season of cherry blossoms holds immense significance in Japan. It’s not just about their beauty; it’s about the fleeting nature they symbolize. Known as “mono no aware,” this appreciation for impermanence has deep roots in Japanese culture. Understanding that the blooms last only briefly emphasizes the importance of living in the present and cherishing each moment.

Top 5 Best Places To See Cherry Blossoms in Japan

1. Koishikawa Botanical Garden, Tokyo 

Tokyo University’s Koishikawa Botanical Garden is a special place. It’s part of Japan’s top university and is a hub for studying plants and trees. It covers 40 acres, like a mini forest with rare plants from all over Japan. 

One highlight is the same Yoshino cherry blossom trees, which are unique to Japan. Unlike crowded spots like Ueno Park, it’s a hidden gem, perfect for a relaxed hanami experience. Take advantage of the serene Japanese landscape garden on your way out!

Many locals visit the park on the weekends. You can see it on weekdays for a quieter hanami moment. There is a small entrance fee. Mondays are closed for maintenance. Koishikawa Botanical Garden sits between Tokyo’s academic and Shitamachi districts, once bustling downtowns in Old Edo. 

Today, they’re brimming with history and charm. Staying in either area means a short 30-minute trip to the park.

2. Egawa River, Yokohama

This place is extraordinary. Here, you can witness cherry blossoms and vibrant tulips blooming side by side. At their peak, the cherry trees create a beautiful canopy over the pathway, forming an endless tunnel of flowers. 

It’s a magical sight, made even rarer by combining cherry blossoms and tulips. Remember to watch for Japanese egrets near the stream, especially in the mornings.

Similar to Tokyo, cherry blossoms in Yokohama bloom from late March to early April. However, for fully bloomed tulips, it’s best to visit a bit later. This timing lets you catch the cherry blossoms past their peak, with petals falling from the trees, creating an enchanting scene. 

So, make sure you choose the Japan tour packages that include this place in their itinerary.

3. Kazue-machi, Kanazawa

Kazue-machi, tucked away on the south side of Kanazawa’s Asano River, is a charming district with hidden Geiko stables, traditional tea houses, and a unique architectural style called senbongoshi (a thousand lattices). Along the riverside, cherry blossom trees add to the picturesque scene, with Edo-style wooden buildings in the background.

Strolling through feels like stepping back to old-world Japanese charm, with narrow alleys and cozy cafés and bars. Keep an eye out for Kuragari-zaka’s entrance, marked by a towering cherry tree, where you might even hear geisha practicing their songs at twilight.

In Kanazawa, cherry blossoms typically bloom about a week later than in Tokyo. The first blossoms appear in early April and last until the end of the second week of the month.

4. The Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto

In Kyoto, cherry blossoms usually peak between late March and early April. Target the first week of April for the best chance to see the full splendor. The Philosopher’s Path, known as Tetsagaku no Michi, is a serene 2km walk between Ginkaku-ji Temple and Nanzen-ji Temple. It boasts over 400 cherry trees, creating breathtaking views. It is found in the northern part of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district.

The Philosopher’s Path, tracing the Meiji-era Lake Biwa Canal, is named after philosopher Nishida Kitaro, who supposedly meditated while walking here. It’s a top spot in Kyoto for cherry blossom viewing, with trees draping over the path and canal, creating a picturesque scene. 

Arrive early to beat the crowds and capture the magical sight of blossoms in the soft morning light. Enjoy the tranquility as the day begins.

5. Miharu, Fukushima Prefecture

For a unique experience away from the crowds, venture to Miharu, a two-and-a-half-hour train ride north of the capital. The city offers stunning displays of cherry, peach, and plum blossoms until the end of April, earning it the nickname “Three Springs.” Don’t miss the awe-inspiring Takizakura, a 1,000-year-old “waterfall cherry tree” that calls Miharu home.


This is a guide to the top 5 cherry blossom locations in Japan. During the cherry blossom season, you will find more places to capture the beauty and essence of this festival. Enjoy this festival with love and warmth, maintaining its essence.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
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