25 Best Places to Enjoy Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom
Find out some of the most beautiful and historic sites in Japan when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
1. Hirosaki Park – Aomori
Hirosaki Park boasts the sole remaining Edo-period castle keep of its kind north of Japan’s Kanto region. The area is now a park, well-loved by the locals.
The park is populated with about 2,600 cherry trees, mostly of the someiyoshino variety. The western moat is especially striking, with trees lining both sides to create an arch-like effect. Visitors can enjoy the cherry blossoms from within the arch by boat.
The park is also home to the oldest someiyoshino trees in all of Japan.
2. Ikegami Honmon Ji – Tokyo
This is the main temple of the Nichiren Buddhism sect and has existed since its founding in 1285, where Nichiren is said to have passed away.
The temple grounds are home to 500 cherry trees, including Yoshino cherry trees and the rare Sasabe cherry trees. The five-story pagoda found here is designated an Important Cultural Property by the government of Japan.
Trees grow on both sides of the surrounding pathway giving the appearance of a cherry blossom tunnel.
3. Miharu Takizakura – Fukushima
A weeping cherry tree (benishidarezakura) estimated to be over a millennium old, and this rare specimen boasts magnificent flowing branches reminiscent of a waterfall (“taki” in Japanese, from which its name derives).
It’s known as one of Japan’s three giant cherry trees, with branches spanning a whopping 18 meters north to south, 22 meters east to west, and a root circumference of 11 meters.
Its descendants flourish not only in Japan but places as distant as Taiwan, Bhutan, and Hungary. The tree was designated a national monument in 1922.
4. Kitakami Tenshochi – Iwate
This area is known for its 2 kilometers of cherry trees lining the river Kitakamigawa. Tree-planting efforts dating back to 1920 have produced no less than 10,000 trees in the space of 293 hectares — truly a spectacular sight.
Over 150 species populate the area and bloom in turns throughout the season, starting with the someiyoshino and ending with the kasumizakura in early May.
The name “Tenshochi” roughly means “exquisite scenery.” Visit, and you’ll understand.
5. Taizoin – Kyoto
The weeping cherry tree by the back gate welcomes you to Taizoin Temple.
The Yokoen pond garden has blooming crimson weeping cherry trees are especially extravagant in the springtime with their pink colors decorating the garden.
6. The Japan Mint – Osaka
Established in 1871, this independent administrative institution (IAI) features a 560-meter path lined with 350 cherry trees. They span no fewer than 130 species, including the rare variety benitemari.
During the short week that the trees are in bloom, the area is opened to the public, an ongoing tradition since 1883. It’s a one-way stroll only, though, starting at the mint’s southern gate.
7. Jiunji Temple -Yamanashi
Soseki Muso, known for designing several breathtaking gardens, founded this Zen temple in 1340. Inside is a 330-year-old weeping cherry variant with slender branches that extend in all directions, not unlike flowing thread — and from this image comes its name, “Itozakura” (with “ito” meaning thread).
It dwarfs even the temple’s main hall in size. When the tree is in bloom, special lighting enhances its elegant beauty at night.
8. Usuzumi Park – Gifu
This park features an outdoor stage and a sprawling field spanning 4,500 square meters. In the heart of the park stands the Usuzumizakura, an ancient edohigan cherry tree over 1,500 years old.
Its blossoms are pale pink when budding and turn a striking white at full bloom. They eventually exhibit a gray hue reminiscent of calligraphy ink, from which the name “Usuzumi” (literally “pale ink”) derives.
The tree is known as one of the three giant cherry trees of Japan.
9. Funaoka Castle Site Park – Miyagi
Funaoka Castle once sat atop a hill, 135 meters above sea level. Its remains have been converted into a park ornamented with approximately 1,000 cherry trees, primarily of the someiyoshino variety.
A monorail threads its way up through the trees to the summit. At the top, a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist deity of mercy, stands amidst the ruins of the inner citadel.
The hill overlooks the town of Funaoka, through which flows the Shiroishigawa. From this vantage point, you can gaze upon a breathtaking sea of cherry trees lining the riverbank.
10. Ninnaji Temple – Kyoto
Established by Emperor Uda, this is the head temple of the Omuro school of Shingon Buddhism. Someiyoshino cherry trees are situated in front of the main hall, with weeping cherry trees near the belfry.
Many more trees grace the temple grounds, but none compare to the Omurozakura — a grove of 200 satozakura trees that stand only 2 meters tall and bear white flowers. It’s said that the tradition of planting the Omurozakura at Ninnaji began in the Heian era. They were designated a national monument in 1924.
11. Mibudera Temple – Kyoto
It’s said that this temple of the Ritsu school of Buddhism was erected in 991 and later became a base of operations for the Shinsengumi (a shogunate police force) in the twilight years of the Tokugawa shogunate.
In addition to weeping cherry trees, Myojozakura (edohigan variety) flourish here. The original Myojozakura (literally “morning star cherries”) was lost in a 1962 fire that also claimed the temple’s main hall.
However, descendants of these trees just happened to be planted in Imari, Saga Prefecture, 900 years ago. Some were brought back and planted at Mibudera in honor of the temple’s millennial anniversary.
12. Daigoji Temple – Kyoto
Daigoji Temple is best known for being where 16th-century figure Hideyoshi Toyotomi lived in extravagance in cherry blossom viewing.
The Kenshirin Garden is home to Kawazu, weeping, Yoshino, mountain, and Yae cherry trees that bloom at different times over a three-week period.
The final cherry trees to blossom are the crimson weeping cherry tree near Sanboin and the big mountain cherry tree by the main temple, signifying the end cherry blossom season.
13. Fukujuji Temple – Fukushima
The family temple of the Tamura clan, said to be the descendants of Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, a general from Japan’s Heian period.
In addition to someiyoshino cherry trees, the temple grounds feature two particularly well-loved weeping cherry trees called the “Fukujujizakura.” They’re estimated to be 250 and 370 years old, respectively, and are said to descend from the Miharu Takizakura. Incidentally, the temple’s chief priest is Sokyu Genyu, novelist, and winner of the Akutagawa Prize.
14. University Habikino Campus – Osaka
The path from the bus stop to the school’s gates is known as Sakura-dori or “cherry blossom street.” Lined with cherry trees on both sides, it erupts into a brilliantly colorful display when spring rolls around.
You’ll find more than just students here as it’s a popular spot for flower-viewers.
15. Toji Temple – Kyoto
The temple grounds are vast, and numerous cherry trees are found in this newly famous Kyoto spot. With the world’s tallest pagoda in the background, Yoshino, mountain, and weeping cherry trees are found.
The Yae crimson cherry tree is an impressive sight to behold when seen in person.
16. Yoyogi Park – Tokyo
Yoyogi Park is the fifth largest park in the 23 wards of Tokyo. Although it a part of the big city, it is rich with greenery and a popular spot for people to come and relax.
The park features 500 cherry trees primarily of the Yoshino variety, but visitors will find Kawazu and mountain cherry trees as well. It’s a great place to come to just sit down on the grass and view the cherry blossoms.
17. Ryoanji Temple – Kyoto
In the precincts to the west side of the temple, you’ll find the cherry blossom garden and Kyoyochi Pond, both of which are only open to the public during cherry blossom season.
Yoshino and weeping cherry trees can be found in this relatively hidden spot. During the season, the gorgeous weeping cherry trees can be seen over the wall from the famous rock garden.
18. Nagahama Castle Historical Museum – Shiga
Nagahama Castle, built by Hideyoshi Toyotomi during the Azuchi-Momoyama period, was demolished in the early Edo period. In 1983 it was reconstructed as the Nagahama Castle Historical Museum.
The surrounding park is home to some 800 cherry trees, mostly of the someiyoshino variety. The castle’s keep is now an observation gallery open to the public, offering stunning views of the sea of pale pink blossoms below.
19. Keage Incline – Kyoto
A slope fitted with a railway, once used for hauling boats over the last stretch of the Lake Biwa Canal, the Keage Incline ceased operations in 1940, but the rails remain to this day.
The rows of cherry trees running parallel offer an inviting stroll along the old railway.
20. Hirano Shrine – Kyoto
Hirano Shrine is home to about 50 varieties of cherry tree.
The kinugasa, the large-flowered kocho, and the nezame cherry trees are just a handful of the many unique cherry trees that you can view at Hirano Shrine.
21. Bokusenji Temple – Kyoto
Just past the gates of the temple, you’ll see a large Yoshino cherry tree that seemingly colors the sky a bright pink.
The legendary sumizome cherry is a sapling that is the third generation of its kind, and it blossoms into white flowers after all the surrounded trees have fully blossomed.
22. Oharano Shrine – Kyoto
Following a path lined with cherry trees leads to an old weeping cherry tree named Sengan-zakura. It is an elusive cherry tree, said to scatter all its petals in merely three days.
Its name, meaning “the cherry tree of a thousand eyes,” is said to come from its pure white flowers resembling thousands of eyes.
23. Sakura Park – Fukushima
The town of Miharu is renowned for its cherry trees, with 10,000 said to grow there. About 3,200 of them (30 percent) are concentrated in this park, with different species highlighting the changing seasons.
The kanhizakura bloom in winter, while the kawazuzakura and someiyoshino bloom in early spring. Late spring sees the yaezakura and yamazakura, and a variety called jugatsuzakura (literally “October sakura”) blooms in the fall.
24. Bishamondo – Kyoto
The most interesting sight here is the is the hannya cherry tree in front of the shrine.
This drooping cherry is over 100 years old and will cover the entire shrine when it’s in full bloom. Standing in front of the yakui gate will present you with an outstanding photo opportunity.
25. Takamatsu Lake – Iwate
Located inside the park erected on the former site of Morioka Castle, this lake is surrounded by over 1,000 cherry trees. They were planted in 1906, donated to the park by locals to commemorate the country’s victory in the Russo-Japanese War.
The area has since flourished as Morioka’s most scenic spot for cherry trees. The majority are someiyoshino trees, and shidarezakura and yamazakura can be found as well.
During cherry blossom festival season, they’re illuminated by paper lamps, and you can see them reflected faintly in the lake as well.