Things to do in Osaka

Japan’s pink wave: Mapping the Cherry Blossom season

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Cherry blossoms, or Sakura, hold a profound significance in Japanese culture, epitomizing the transience of life due to their fleeting beauty. Embracing this, people across Japan celebrate Hanami, the cherry blossom viewing festival that conjures a spirit of togetherness and joy. During this time, locals and tourists alike partake in picnics under the blossoms. Various tours are also available, offering a curated experience of this seasonal spectacle, ensuring that visitors can fully immerse themselves in the magic of cherry blossoms.

Cherry Blossoms blooming season in Japan

Japan Cherry Blossoms

The bloom begins in the southern island of Okinawa as early as January and slowly makes its way north, reaching Kyoto and Tokyo by the end of March. This wave of sakura zensen, or cherry blossom front, is eagerly anticipated by many, with media providing updates on its progress.

The anticipation of cherry blossom season dates back to the Edo period, with the Yoshino cherry being a favorite for many. Often, catching the full bloom is a serendipitous event, eluding even the most ardent of travelers. The Somei-yoshino trees, predominant in many cherry blossom viewing spots, have seen a decline due to disease. Timing is crucial, as even a week can dramatically change the landscape from a sparse smattering of buds to a breathtaking canopy of pink and white. In 2024 forecasts suggest the blossoms will peak around March 20th and will persist until roughly April 14th.

Cultural importance of Cherry Blossoms in Japan

The cherry blossom is a symbol of transience or mortality. As it only blooms for a month, it is a reminder of the fleeting nature of beauty and life. It is a very famous symbol and icon in Japanese culture, so much so that it is featured on the 100 yen coin. While cherry blossoms grow across the world, it is in Japan that this flower plays an important role. It is featured in songs, poems, art, films, anime and manga, and was even featured in the mascot for the Tokyo 2021 Paralympics, Someity. The practice of hanami involves picnics, festivals, or parties to admire these blooming flowers and eat and drink sakura-flavoured snacks and drinks, and is done annually as soon as cherry blossom season begins.

Japan’s iconic landmarks and attractions such as Fujisan Sengen Shrine, Hakone-en, Komagatake, Lake Ashi, Mount Fuji, and Shiraito Falls are often bustling with visitors. If you plan your tour dates right, you will get to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom in these locations. For instance, the Arakurayama Sengen Park is home to the Arakura Fuji Sengen-jinja Shrine and pagoda, and overlooks Mount Fuji and you can capture some of the best sceneries from here.

The best places to watch Cherry Blossoms

Mt. Fuji

Mt. Fuji is iconic for it’s breathtaking vistas of cherry blossoms framing the iconic mountain at the Fuji Five Lakes, particularly around Lake Kawaguchiko, where the floral panorama and reflection on the water's surface create a stunning double spectacle.


In Tokyo, Ueno Park is famous for its canopy of cherry trees. Shinjuku Gyoen offers a mix of traditional and modern landscapes, creating an oasis within the bustling city. Chidorigafuchi is also a must-see, with boats available to rent for a serene paddle among the blossoms. Yokohama's Sankeien Garden, less visited by tourists, offers a tranquil retreat with historical buildings set amid flowering cherry trees.


In Osaka, Kema Sakuranomiya Park stretches along the Okawa River and features an impressive lineup of over 4,800 cherry trees. The riverside setting offers a tranquil backdrop perfect for leisurely strolls or festive picnics. Another notable site is Osaka Castle Park, where the timeless beauty of the castle towers is highlighted by the delicate cherry blossoms.


Kyoto is a city steeped in history and during cherry blossom season, the historic temples and shrines are adorned with pink hues. The picturesque Philosopher’s Path and Maruyama Park, with its centerpiece weeping cherry tree, are sights not to miss. Hanami at these sites is akin to traveling back in time amidst the pomp of nature's own festival.


In Kagoshima, the Sengan-en Garden provides a historic setting where the Sakurajima volcano acts as a dramatic backdrop to the delicate cherry trees. Amidst the blooms, people can also enjoy traditional tea ceremonies and cultural performances, all while soaking in the spectacular views that blend the power of nature with the finesse of Japanese gardening.


Nagano offers a peaceful cherry blossom experience with locations like Matsumoto Castle, where the striking black and white samurai fortress contrasts with the soft cherry petals, and Takato Joshi Park, known for its over 1,500 cherry trees.

Recommended tickets for viewing Cherry Blossoms on Headout

Cherry Blossoms in Japan