Cherry Blossom Viewing
On this page we have a brief list of some of the most popular spots across the country where you can enjoy hanami.
Sakura in full bloom in Ueno Park, Tokyo
Hanami bloom in front of Himeji Castle
Sakura line the moat of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo
Here are some of the most popular hanami spots around the country:
- Ueno Park - One of Tokyo's biggest parks, it features more than 1,000 cherry trees as well as the National Museum and Ueno Zoo. Entrance is free.
- Shinjuku Gyoen - A large park with over 1,000 cherry trees of many different varieties. The park has Western and Japanese style gardens. There is an entrance fee of ¥200, and the park closes in the late afternoon.
- Imperial Palace - This hanami spot has the added appeal of boating in the moat of the Imperial Palace, located right in the center of Tokyo.
- Aoyama Bochi - This is a cemetery but not as morbid as it sounds! Hundreds of cherry trees line the straight roads that run through the cemetery. It also has a foreigners' section if you don't make it out! There is no entrance fee.
- Chidorigafuchi/Yasukuni Jinja - Cherry trees line the moats around the Imperial Palace. The nearby Yasukuni Jinja shrine has over 1,000 trees (and is dedicated to Japan's war dead). There is no entrance fee.
- Sumida Park - Near the tourist spot of Asakusa, the park lines the Sumida River, the location of Japan's biggest firework display every summer. There is no entrance fee.
- Inokashira Park - In the western Tokyo suburb of Kichijoji, this popular public park is built around a large pond. There are often musicians and other street performers. There is no entrance fee.
- Maruyama Park - Kyoto's most popular public park for hanami. There is no entrance fee.
- Philosopher's Walk - A tree-lined trail that runs alongside a canal between Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) temple and the Nanzenji temple area of the vicinity of Nanzenji. Beautiful at any time of year. There is no entrance fee.
- Heian Shrine - The garden behind the main shrine building contains many shidarezakura (weeping cherry trees). Entrance to the garden is ¥600.
- Kakunodate - This city is famous for its samurai district, which is full of shidarezakura (weeping cherry trees). They also line the nearby river.
- Hirosaki-jo castle - The grounds of this castle has over 2,000 cherry trees. There is no entrance fee.
- Kamonyama Park - A small public park close to the futuristic waterfront development of Minato Mirai 21. There is no entrance fee.
- Sankeien - A beautiful Japanese landscape garden in the south of the city, which contains several historic buildings. There is an entrance fee of ¥300.
- Dankazura - The approach to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrineis lined by cherry trees. There is no entrance fee.
- Nagoya-jo castle - The castle provides a dramtic backdrop to the surrounding park, which has many cherry trees. The entrance fee to the castle includes the park and is ¥500.
- Himeji-jo castle - Japan's most beautiful castle, known as the "white egret," forms the perfect backdrop for the hundreds of cherry trees in the surrounding park. Entrance to the outer castle grounds is free. Entrance to the inner grounds and the castle is ¥600.
The Best Time for Hanami
Below are the expected peak dates for the 2017 hanami season, along with the actual equivalent dates for 2016, based on data from the Japan Meteorological Agency for the someiyoshino type of cherry blossom, though blossoms can often open a few days earlier or later. The "sakura front" is usually a regular feature on news programs around this time of year and the best way to get the most up-to-date information. The earliest recorded date for sakura to bloom in Tokyo was March 16, in 2002.
The dates usually range from as early as January in Okinawa, mid-to-late March in southern Japan, the end of March across western and central Japan (including Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo), right through April as you move north from Tokyo into Tohoku, all the way to early May in Hokkaido.
The cherry blossom forecast for 2017
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