5 Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Osaka and Kyoto

5 Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Osaka and Kyoto

Realise your dreams of being surrounded by cherry blossoms in Japan’s Kansai Region. Here are some of the ‘hanami’ spots to check out!

It’s been two years since I last saw sakura flowers and that was when I was studying abroad in the Kansai region of Japan. Despite the time that has passed, my memories of visiting five unique spots to view the iconic blooms in their full glory are still vivid in my mind. If you plan to pay the Kansai region a visit to catch a glimpse of the cherry blossoms yourself, here’s a taster based on my experience!

1. Osaka Castle

I remember a textbook conversation practice in one of my Japanese lessons, and the characters were having hanami (sakura viewing) at the Osaka Castle. So, when late March rolled by and the sakura flowers started to bloom, I decided to pay the castle a visit.

Although the park was fairly crowded with many who had the same plan in mind, the sight was stunning, to say the least. Several sakura trees lined the outer moat of the castle, allowing for some pretty shots. Climbing up the steps to the top of the outer walls provides a stunning view of the castle against the background of a sea of flowers.

cherry blossom japan

Several spots outside the castle are dotted with clusters of sakura trees, giving ample photo opportunities and also quiet corners for hanami parties.

Walking further out, visitors will enter a garden with several varieties and colours of sakura. There’s also a separate garden nearby for plum blossoms which can be viewed at a different season, in late February to early March

2. Nichijou Castle

My visit to the Nichijou Castle was a unique experience as the castle offered a night-time viewing of sakura – a refreshing take on the iconic blooms! Upon entering the castle, visitors will walk down a path with beautifully-lit sakura trees. Further down, the palace grounds which are bathed in interesting lights will come into view.

At the end of the walk, there’s a small festival ground lined with craft and food stalls, as well as a nearby stage which held performances at timed intervals. The entrance fee for the castle is 400 yen for adults and 200 yen for 7-15 year olds.

3. Shin-en Garden in Heian Jingu Shrine

A weeping willow sakura that was spotted at the Osaka Mint.

This hidden gem is part of the Heian Shrine and I went there specifically to catch a glimpse of the blooms of the weeping willow. The weeping cherry trees are different than most other sakura trees in that the branches droop downwards.

Even though my visit wasn’t at the peak of the sakura season, I still managed to catch the weeping willows in bloom. The garden is a well-kept oasis right in the city and is surprisingly large, making it a good location for a slow stroll amid nature. I walked alongside a small stream and crossed a pond by following a row of stone steps. In Shin-en Garden, one can truly enjoy the tranquillity of nature and feel refreshed. The experience was well worth the entrance fee!

4. Yodogawa Riverside Park

cherry blossom japan

Upon the recommendation of my Japanese language teacher, and further spurred after looking it up online, I decided to visit Yodogawa Riverside Park. This park, while lesser-known to tourists, hosts a spectacular view of sakura and can most definitely fulfil your expectation of walking down a path enveloped by cherry blossoms. That said, the park can get quite congested with locals during the peak of the sakura’s bloom. Thankfully, when I visited the park a little after the peak blooming period, I still managed to get spectacular views minus the crowds.

On top of the stunning sights, a special festival that stretches alongside the Yodo River is held here every year in conjunction with the blooming of around 250 sakura trees.

5. Osaka Mint Bureau

Another recommendation by my teacher, the Osaka Mint Bureau houses a garden filled with over 300 sakura trees of over 100 species. This garden is open to the public once every year for sakura viewing. If you’re a flower lover or just someone who would like some variety in their sakura viewing experience, this is the place to get up close with the blooms.

As this place is also a popular tourist spot, it can get crowded during the sakura season. There would even be security officers present to regulate the crowd of visitors and ensure a one-way traffic that ends at the Temmabashi Station. Despite the crowds, I still had a leisurely stroll through the area.

cherry blossom japan

The sakura blooming season lasts an average of two weeks each year at any given area. The lifespan of the blooms is highly dependent on the temperature and the rainfall – the flowers bloom as the temperature rises, but too much rain causes the flowers to fall off the trees quickly. Given the short viewing period, be sure to time your trip closely with the cherry blossom forecast so you won’t miss the opportunity to experience one of nature’s fleeting wonders.

About Author

Gabriel Oh
Gabriel Oh

A lover of words and their intrinsic value, Gabriel enjoys a good book as much as he does writing a good story. While he dabbles in illustration and photography, he just wishes that they would love him back as much. Gabriel has a deep-rooted interest in Japanese culture and language, eventually venturing to the Land of the Rising Sun for the first time in 2016. Having made many wonderful memories there, he now hopes to share what he has so that others can learn from his stories and eventually make their own.


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