Best Spots For Hanami In Japan (Cherry Blossom Viewing)

Cherry blossom viewing is one of the most popular spring attractions in Japan for both locals and tourists.

Cherry blossom season is one of the busiest times in Japan’s calendar when it comes to tourism. People travel from all over the world in the spring months to see the different variations of cherry blossoms bloom.

There are many different types of cherry trees and exactly which one you want to see will determine the best time to go. The trees bloom based on their location and overall temperatures that awaken the trees out of dormancy.

Hanami in Tokyo People along the famous Meguro River

In Japan, people go to areas where cherry trees bloom to enjoy the blossoming of sakura or cherry blossoms by having hanami picnics under the trees. These get-togethers might take the form of outings with family, friends, or coworkers. People bring beer, sake, and bento or packaged (bento) meals.

Hanami celebrations under Sakura trees in Spring. This is a common cultural practice across Japan

But, where are the best spots for Hanami, also known as cherry blossom viewing? There are many different spots for viewing the cherry blossoms blooms and the one that is right for you will depend on what you want to get out of the experience.

For example, do you want to see the prettiest blossoms? In which case you will probably be surrounded by larger than average crowds of people. If your visiting small towns in Japan then crowds will obviously be smaller based on the town’s population size.

A quiet spot in Tokyo perfect for an afternoon of hanami (cherry blossom viewing)

Or, would you rather view the flowers in a less well-known location, allowing you to truly appreciate them in peace without the hustle and bustle?

Well, here we’ll list for you a variety of different spots for Hanami across Japan so that you can decide on the best one for you.

cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Hanami is a traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the transitional beauty of flowers

Cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo

When most people arrange a trip to Japan they will almost always look to the city of Tokyo first. So, if you want to view cherry blossoms without going too far out of your way then consider some of these spots in and around Japan’s capital city.

However, typically these can be some of the busiest spots so choose carefully between the options to make sure that you are not overwhelmed with crowds.

Yoyogi Park

Around the expansive Yoyogi Park, over 600 cherry trees have been planted, providing nice hanami and picnic options. There are always few food stalls available selling various Japanese meals and snacks.  One of Tokyo’s most popular parks for cherry blossom viewing and events goes late into the evening.

Yoyogi park with thousands of visitors enjoying the hanami season

Yoyogi Park Location via Google Maps

Shinjuku Gyoen

This park in Tokyo is best enjoyed a short while after the peak of cherry blossom season, in early April. However, this spot is sure not to disappoint.

If you are unsure of which type of cherry blossoms you want to see or you simply want to be seemingly transported into another world then this is the place for you.

There are more than twelve different types of cherry trees on display in Shinjuku Gyoen and over 1000 trees in total. The abundance of beautiful flowers here is sure to put a smile on your face. Despite its beauty, the area is usually more relaxed and there is plenty of room to have a quiet stroll.

Shinjuku Guoen Location via Google Maps

 Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Sumida park

If you truly want to appreciate the cherry blossoms in and amongst nature then Sumida park is perfect. Here the park runs for only a couple of hundred meters alongside the river. The park really does paint the perfect spring image.

If you would rather you can also view these cherry blossoms from the river as there are boats that cruise past the park and, if you really want to take in all that cherry blossom season has to offer then take the cruise at night when the cherry blossom trees are lit up. 

Sumida Park Location via Google Maps

 Visitors enjoy cherry blossom sakura in Sumida Park, Tokyo

Ueno park

If you would rather be amongst the hustle and bustle of the lively city of Tokyo then plan a trip to Ueno Park. Here is one of the busiest spots in all of Tokyo to view the cherry blossoms.

The cherry trees here usually bloom just ever so slightly before the rest in the city, making it one of the first places that people usually visit.

Ueno Park Location via Google Maps

Sakura Blooming in Ueno Park

There are over 1000 different cherry trees here in the park, lining the path that leads to the National Museum. So, if you are also looking for a cultural day out then this can be the perfect addition to your trip.

If you want to sit and relax and take in the view of the cherry trees then head to Shinobazu Pond.

 Tokyo Crowds enjoying Cherry blossoms festival in Ueno Park

Cherry blossom viewing at Fuji Five Lakes

If you are after the perfect Japanese cherry blossom viewing experience there is nothing that can top looking at the cherry blossoms with Mount Fuji in the background.

These spots are particularly popular with photographers, both professional and amateur, as they provide some of the most mesmerizing photos.

Fuji Five Lakes Location via Google Maps

The Northern Shores of Kawaguchiko

When walking around the northern side of Lake Kawaguchiko you are sure to be in awe. This side of the lake is lined with cherry trees that create the perfect outline for the image of Mount Fuji in the distance beyond the lake.

If are looking for the perfect picture spot or the best place to have a picnic then this is certainly it.

Mount Fuji and cherry blossoms which are viewed from lake Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi, Japan

There are two main spots on the northern shore to look out for: the music forest and the Ubuyagasaki peninsula. These will give you the best view of both the trees and the mountain. It is also worth keeping in mind that the visibility of the mountain is best in the early hours.

Lakes Kawaguchiko Location via Google Maps

Chureito Pagoda

Another great choice for a truly unique and memorable Japanese experience of the cherry trees is at the Chureito Pagoda. Here you can appreciate both the natural beauty of the flowers and the marvel that is the pagoda.

This spot is particularly popular with photographers who, when timed right in the season, can capture the pagoda appearing to float gently on a sea of cherry blossoms.

Chureito Pagoda Location via Google Maps

Chureito Pagoda

Cherry blossom viewing in Gunma

If you want to go slightly out of the way and have a much more peaceful experience then consider traveling out to the Gunma prefecture, known for its onsen and hot springs.

This will help you to avoid the crowded spots in the city and give you a much more relaxing experience. However, make sure to budget enough time into your trip if this is your spot of choice.

Gunma Prefecture Location via Google Maps

Onsen with natural hot spring steam

Akagi Senbonzakura

This spot is best enjoyed during the middle of April when the flowers are in bloom. You will need to arrange transport to visit Akagi Senbonzakura as it is found approximately halfway up Akagi mountain.

There you will find a two-kilometer-long road that is lined with cherry blossoms from over 1000 trees. 

Akagi Senbonzkura Location via Google Maps

These trees, during their peak, will merge together and form a tunnel of cherry blossoms that you can drive down. This experience really will transport you to another world.

However, the experience does not stop there as the mountain is adorned with pink moss and these fields of pink only add to the beauty of the cherry trees.

Final Thoughts

When traveling to Japan to see the cherry blossoms in bloom there are a lot more options than you may think. Choosing the best spot for Hanami will help you to make the most out of your experience and give you a memory that you will cherish forever.

Osaka Castle Cherry Blossoms

How busy you want it to be, how accessible, and which type of cherry blossom you want to see are all things to take into consideration. After all, if you would love to see the cherry blossoms in the mountains, but have only a few days in Tokyo then this may not be the best option for you. 

Consider also when you want to travel as this will dictate the best spots for Hanami in Japan. However, no matter which spot you choose you are bound to enjoy the beauty of the flowers and appreciate their delicate colors.

Virtual Hanami Vist To Ueno Park

My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.