Early Cherry Blossom in Japan: Where to See Sakura as Early as February

Early Cherry Blossom in Japan: 10 Sakura Spots That Bloom as Early as February

For that perfect pink Instagram photo!

The arrival of spring signifies the emergence of new life and Japanese cherry blossoms evoke a feeling of vibrancy and liveliness. A springtime trip to Japan without experiencing the iconic Japanese cherry blossoms would not be complete. This is surely on every traveller’s bucket list! Who doesn’t want a photo opp that looks straight out of a travel magazine? 

Usually, cherry blossoms flourish around late March and early April. But if you’ve already booked a flight and are worried that you might be too early to catch peak cherry blossom season — don’t worry! There are lots of places that have early-blooming sakura. Keep on reading to know where to go and when to visit each place for the best early cherry blossom experience in Japan!

Also read: Japan Cherry Blossom 2024 Forecast: When & Where to See Sakura

Picture-perfect sakura spots that bloom early in Japan

1. Kawazu

Early cherry blossom Japan

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One of the most popular places to visit for early cherry blossoms in Japan is the town of Kawazu in Shizuoka Prefecture. Most notably, the town is home to the pretty Kawazu zakura cherry blossom, a variety that starts to bloom in early February and flourishes in full bloom later in the month till mid-March. Make your way to the Kawazu River, adorned with approximately 850 cherry blossom trees that create a breathtaking backdrop to the tranquil charm of the historic town.

If you’re here to see the town in pretty hues of pink, don’t miss the Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival from 1–29 Feb 2024. During the festival, you can find different food stalls, exciting activities, and illuminated cherry blossom trees at night along the river.

Another plus: Kawazu is only 2.5 hours away from Tokyo if you plan on taking the Super View Odoriko JR limited express. It’s the ultimate early sakura Tokyo experience!

When to see cherry blossoms in Kawazu: Early February to early March

2. Komatsugaike Park

Early cherry blossom Japan

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Just 15 minutes from Miura Kaigan Station, Komatsugaike Park delights travellers with rows of more than a thousand cherry blossom trees. Known for the annual Miura Kaigan Cherry Blossom Festival running from early February to early March, the town is filled with locals and tourists who enjoy the view of early cherry blossoms along with delicious food and local goods. The area lights up around 5pm — this is when you can take the best photos for your feed!

Komatsugaike Park offers a serene environment for unwinding amidst nature or engaging in activities such as birdwatching. The stunning sight of yellow rapeseed flowers beneath the sakura trees adds to the park’s magnificent allure.

When to see cherry blossoms at Komatsugaike Park: Middle to late February

3. Mt. Matsuda Herb Garden

Early cherry blossom Japan

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Visiting Mt. Matsuda Herb Garden is like hitting two birds with one stone: Not only will you get a majestic view of Mt. Fuji, but it will also give you a chance to bask in an early cherry blossom experience in Japan. Mt. Fuji is often capped with snow, creating a picturesque backdrop during cherry blossom season.

Here, celebrate the Matsuda Cherry Blossom Festival, running from 3 Feb–3 Mar 2024, featuring all sorts of Japanese delicacies and products. Enjoy a short ride around the park via the Furusato train for a fantastic view of the Northern Alps!

When to see cherry blossoms in Mt. Masuda: Mid-February to mid-March

 Also read: 18 Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms Outside Japan & South Korea

4. Minami Izu Town

Early cherry blossom Japan

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Another gem in Shizuoka, Minami Izu Town is known for Shimogamo Onsen. Inside the hot spring resort, you’ll find sakura trees that stretch for about 2km on each side of the river. Just imagine enjoying a nice hot bath surrounded by cherry blossoms — doesn’t that feel surreal?

The riverbank is adorned with flourishing yellow rapeseed flowers, forming a stunning contrast alongside the pink cherry blossoms. While Kawazu Town’s cherry blossom festival is renowned throughout the country, Minami Izu Town lets you relish the beauty of cherry blossoms and the peacefulness of the surrounding nature with fewer people.

When to see cherry blossoms: Early to late February

5. Kaminoseki

Early cherry blossom Japan

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A quiet and peaceful town situated in Yamaguchi, Kaminoseki is popularly known for its calm weather and warm climate. The Kaminoseki Shiroyama Historical Park was built on the site of Kaminoseki Castle which has an overlooking view of the Seto Inland Sea. Definitely worth adding to the early cherry blossom Japan experience!

In early spring, you can find Kaminoseki Shiroyama Historical Park covered with a blanket of yellow narcissuses and pink cherry blossoms, creating a stunning contrast against the backdrop of the blue ocean. It’s the best place to whip out your camera and capture the picture-perfect view!

When to see cherry blossoms: Late February to mid-March

6. Senganen

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Another one to add to our list of places to see the early cherry blossom in Japan is Senganen. A Japanese garden that stands out as one of Kagoshima‘s top tourist destinations, it provides magnificent vistas of Kinko Bay and Sakurajima, a massive active volcano cherished as an emblem of Kagoshima. 

Every year the town holds a Senganen Spring Festival where you can enjoy sakura flowers in a variety of hues, such as yellow and dark pink. Here, you will also find a unique-looking cherry blossom variety called Kanhizakura which is a deep plum colour. 

Featuring a splendid Japanese-style garden and structures dating back to the 17th century, Senganen boasts a timeless allure. To spice up your photos, try the Samurai Armour and Kimono Experience where you can rent traditional Japanese outfits. Truly, this is a great spot if you are looking to experience an early cherry blossom season in Japan!

When to see cherry blossoms: Mid-February to late April

7. Mt. Yae

Mt. Yae Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual celebration in Mt. Yae where people gather for fun events and yummy Japanese delicacies under the canopy of pretty cherry blossom trees. This hanami spot became widely popular because the sakura trees bloom in Mt. Yae as early as January — the earliest in all of Japan! You might notice that the hue of cherry blossoms in Okinawa is a shade deeper than those on the mainland of Japan, but trust us when we say it’s just as beautiful.

As you drive through the 4.5km road ascending to the mountain’s summit, you’ll be greeted by around 7,000 cherry blossom trees, forming a mesmerising pink spectacle. It truly is a feast for the eyes!

When to see cherry blossoms: Middle to late January

8. Sakuma Dam

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Sakuma Dam is a man-made reservoir surrounded by a picturesque park featuring over 2,000 cherry blossom trees, alongside other popular seasonal blooms in Japan like narcissus and palm blossoms. It is known for having a warmer climate which helps plants grow faster. This is one of the best locations for spotting early blooming sakura in Japan.

The Sakuma Dam Festival is celebrated twice here — the first one around mid-February to mid-March and the other from mid-March to mid-April. So, you’ll have plenty of time to plan your itinerary around those dates! Moreover, the park is an ideal weekend retreat to bring your family, providing a tranquil space for relaxation and allowing children to play amid refreshing natural surroundings.

When to see cherry blossoms: Mid-February to mid-April

9. Youra Peninsula

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Not only is Youra Peninsula known for its numerous hot springs but they also take pride in being one of the largest sakura viewing spots in Oita. More than 5,000 sakura trees are planted and taken care of by the locals — talk about a sea of pink!

When the weather is good, the vibrant blue hues of the sea complement the pink blossoms of the Kawazu cherry trees along the road, enhancing the overall beauty of the scenery. You will definitely find a spot for the perfect Instagram picture.

When to see cherry blossoms: Early to late February

10. Youra PeninsulaKamigori Sakura Garden

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Finally, the last but definitely not the least spot to complete your early cherry blossom Japan experience is Kamigori Sakura Garden! It’s a 30-minute walk from JR Kamigori Station. What makes this garden unique is that they have 10 varieties of sakura trees that bloom at different times of the year. Some might bloom from mid-March, while others won’t bloom until mid to late April.

Given that Kamigori is in the countryside of Japan, there usually are not a lot of tourists around — which makes it the perfect place to take photos without anyone photobombing you! If you’re looking to relax, Kamigori has a rural and natural setting, enveloped by stunning landscapes.

Also read: Discover Cherry Blossoms in Autumn in This Japan Destination

The dreamy landscapes painted by cherry blossoms usually unfold in late March to early April, a period that defines the peak of this natural spectacle. Don’t worry if your travel plans put you in town before this timeframe! From the early sakura Tokyo experience to countryside cherry blossom encounters, we’ve got you covered. So, are you ready to discover the wonders of early-blooming sakura varieties across different locations in Japan? Happy hanami!

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About Author

Anne Mercado
Anne Mercado

Anne is your go-to girl if you want to talk about all things beauty, fashion and adventure. Her creative expression would be through writing and curating photos. Exploring different places and immersing herself in diverse cultures is her idea of fun. If you ask her to describe what her perfect day is, her answer would be by the beach with a book on her hand enjoying a nice margarita.