Cherry blossom season or sakura season as it’s called in Japanese is one of the best times to visit Japan. The astounding beauty of pink blooming flowers lining streets in metropolises like Tokyo and Osaka and dotting landscapes and adorning temples in less-traveled towns and prefectures is something everyone should see once in their life. 

In Japan, the flowers are a metaphor for the fleeting nature of beauty and youth itself and part of the charm of the sakura season is that it only lasts a week or two at most. Luckily for travelers, bloom times are different all across Japan, so you can choose a spot that aligns best with your itinerary or make a whole trip out of chasing the bloom! 

Leave the planning for your next hanami (or flower viewing party as it’s called in Japanese) to Lively Hotels. Our curators have selected the best spots with great access from our hotels, so you can spend your travel time enjoying Japan’s most beautiful season:

Bloom Forecast and Recommended Cherry Blossom VIewing Locations by date:

OKINAWA (End of January ~ Early February)

There are many cherry blossoms viewing festivals in Okinawa spanning from the Nago Sakura Matsuri and Motobu Yaedake Sakura Matsuri in the north to the Nakjin Sakura Matsuri in the south, but our curators recommend Yogi Park located right in the heart of Naha with easy access from Naha Airport and Estinate Hotel Naha by Monorail.

11 minutes by taxi or 20 minutes by bus from Estinate Hotel Naha

FUKUOKA (End of March ~ Early April)

Located on top of a hill near the port of Fukuoka, Nishi Park is considered one of Japan’s 100 most famous spots to enjoy sakura. With over 1300 trees and incredible views of Fukuoka bay, Shika Island and downtown Fukuoka, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a hanami flower viewing party with friends and family.

Just 15 minutes by taxi, or 18 minutes by bus from The Lively Fukuoka Hakata

TOKYO (End of March ~ Early April)

Our Tokyo curators’ number one pick for the entire would have to be Chidorigafuchi Greenway. Chidorigafuchi Greenway is a 700-meter path encircling the Imperial Palace and without a doubt Tokyo’s most famous cherry blossom viewing spot. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you can even rent a boat and enjoy the cherry blossoms from the water!

Easily accessible by train from The Lively Tokyo Azabujuban, Hotel Graphy Nezu and The Millennials Shibuya. 

However, Tokyo has a near inexhaustible list of famous spots to enjoy cherry blossoms so feel free to see our more in-depth article here for a comprehensive list of our favorite spots in Tokyo here:

KAWASAKI (End of March ~ Early April)

Mitsuike Park is our curator’s pick for the best flower viewing spot near Kawasaki. The enormous park is ranked as one of Japan’s 100 most famous cherry blossom viewing spots, has over 1600 types of cherry blossoms, a walking course, three ponds and a traditional Korean style garden.

18 minutes by taxi or 32 minutes by bus from /slash Kawasaki

OSAKA (End of March ~ Beginning of April)

It’s no wonder that Osaka Castle Park and the surrounding Nishi No Maru Teien Garden is one of Japan’s top 100 cherry blossom viewing spots with over 3,000 cherry blossom trees, incredible views of Osaka castle and gorgeous night illuminations.

10 minutes by taxi or 19 minutes by train from The Lively Honmachi Osaka

KYOTO (Early April ~ Early May)

Blessed with lush nature and beautiful temples, there are few places as beautiful as Kyoto l to enjoy the sakura season. Travelers will have more options than in other locations since viewing spots at higher elevations tend to bloom a little later than in central Kyoto. There are numerous spots that our Kyoto curators recommend, but if they had to choose just one spot, that would be the Philosopher’s Path, a 2-kilometer-long walk along a stream starting at the gorgeous Kinkakuji Temple.

13 minutes by taxi or 21 minutes by bus from The Millennials Kyoto

SAPPORO (Late April ~ Early May)

While nearby Hakodate is renowned country-wide for its beautiful cherry blossom viewing spots, Sapporo is no slouch either and is blessed with a handful of top-class viewing spots. Maruyama Park is a unique entry in our list since it allows barbequing, meaning the possibilities for great hanami (flower viewing parties) are near endless!

14 minutes by taxi or 26 minutes by bus from Unwind Hotel & Bar Sapporo

OTARU (Late April ~ Early May)

Temiya Park is situated on a mountain with views overlooking the port and city of Otaru are outstanding. It only gets better when you are surrounded by pink petals fluttering in the wind.

6 minutes by taxi or 33 minutes on foot from Unwind Hotel & Bar Otaru