How to Maximise Your Chances of Seeing Cherry Blossoms in Japan


Though the pastel pink and white blooms of cherry trees blossom throughout all parts of the world, easily one of the best places to view them is in Japan. They appear in the most beautiful of settings in the cities, towns and villages of the Land of the Rising Sun.

The cherry blossom — or sakura, as it’s called in Japan — holds a special meaning in Japanese culture. The blossoms represent renewal and optimism and are symbolic of a new beginning. The blooming season marks the end of the chilling winter months and signifies the start of spring, which comes alongside longer days and warmer weather.

Cherry blossoms in Japan
Image: Unsplash

Where to See Cherry Blossoms in Japan? 

Generally, Japan’s cherry blossom season stretches over a few months in spring. In the southern, subtropical islands of Okinawa, cherry blossoms begin to bloom as early as January, while on the northern island of Hokkaido flowering occurs closer to May.

In most of the major tourist cities that include Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, though, it’s a safer bet you’ll spot them in early April, and when the buds open and display their delicate petals, the whole place and its people come alive.

Some of the top cherry blossom viewing locations in Japan are:


Nishi Park in the north of the city is home to around 1,300 cherry blossom trees making it a top location to view the blooms. First opened in 1875, this historic park with views of the city, Hakata Bay, and its islands is a popular spot for picnics in spring and you’ll find abundant stalls selling food and drink during the flowering season.


Hiroshima Castle is surrounded by as many as 450 cherry blossom trees, making it the perfect location to appreciate the beauty of Japan’s unique flora and historic architecture. Here, you’ll see the pink hue of cherry blossoms all around the grounds and lining the castle’s moat.


Mt Yoshino has been a top viewing spot for centuries with its vast area home to 30,000 cherry blossom trees of different varieties. The cherry blossoms are easily visible from the many walking trails as well as the ropeway up the mountainside.


There are over 1000 trees in Tokyo’s Ueno Park, most of them lining the pathway between Keisei Ueno Station and the Tokyo National Museum. The branches from either side are so long that they reach out overhead, creating a tunnel-like effect. Chidorigafuchi Park is another great spot for viewing the cherry blossoms in Tokyo, especially if you decide to hire a paddle boat to see the colourful branches cascading down the banks of the river and reflecting in the water.

Tohoku Region

Mostly made up of rural communities, sprawling national parks, and hot spring resorts, Tohoku covers six of Honshu’s prefectures. Hirosaki Park in Aomori Prefecture is one of the region’s best cherry blossom viewing locations with around 2,300 trees and 50 different varieties, some of which are over 300 years old. Walk along the Sakura Tunnel on the West Moat, admire Hirosaki Castle among the blooms, or visit the park at night to see a spectacular display of illuminated colourful blooms.

Ibaraki Prefecture

Often overlooked by international travellers, Ibaraki is well worth visiting during cherry blossom season because many of its trees are the double-flowering variety. As the name suggests, this variety has twice as many petals as the typical cherry blossom tree. Around 2,300 of these trees can be found blooming Shizumine Park in Nakashi City.


Hokkaido is the last area of Japan to experience the cherry blossom bloom. Visit Hokkaido Shrine next to Maruyama Park in Sapporo to see around 1,400 trees in full bloom around the shrine. The location is unique to many other viewing spots around Japan because Hokkaido’s climate sees both cherry blossoms and white and red plum blossoms flourish at the same time.

When to See the Cherry Blossoms in Japan? 

The flowering season is short with blossoms lasting on trees for only a week or so before the petals fall to the ground, and because of this, the flowers are known in Japan to represent the transient nature of life.

Japan’s cherry blossom season is firmly in the hands of the weather, which is why you’ll always see earlier blooms in Japan’s warmer southern prefectures compared to in the north, and the exact onset of the seasons will vary everywhere from year to year.

cherry trees

Here’s how the bloom forecast is shaping up around Japan:

Location (Prefecture) 2024 Forecasted flowering date Average date
Fukuoka City (Fukuoka) 19 March 22 March
Kochi City (Kochi) 19 March 22 March
Chiyoda (Tokyo) 20 March 24 March
Hiroshima City (Hiroshima) 21 March 25 March
Osaka (Osaka) 22 March 27 March
Kanazawa (Ishikawa) 27 March 3 April
Niigata City (Niigata) 2 April 8 April
Nagano City (Nagano) 6 April 11 April
Aomori City (Aomori) 19 April 22 April
Sapporo (Hokkaido) 27 April 1 May
Kushiro (Hokkaido) 12 May 16 May

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