Cherry blossom viewing season, or “hanami”, is the best time to visit public parks, castle grounds, and temples in Japan. It is also the best way to savor the spiritual and calm atmosphere in the country. It is at this time when cherry blossoms display their utmost beauty, which is only seen for a few weeks a year.
Being able to see the cherry blossoms is one of the highlights of visiting or living in Japan. Although there are many places where you can enjoy hanami, the ancient city of Kamakura (鎌倉) is well worth a visit to observe these beautiful flowers. Enjoy hanami season’s beauty in these four hanami spots!
There is so much to see in Kamakura during spring! One of these places is a Buddhist temple called Kenchoji, which was built in the 13th century. Besides being a place of worship, the temple is also used as a Zen training monastery in Japan, making it a highly respected Zen temple.
It has an enchanting, serene atmosphere which is highlighted by the surrounding mountains. If you visit this place during springtime, you will be greeted with many cherry blossom trees on the temple grounds.
This is a typical kind of Buddhist temple owing to the fact that it has no cemetery. Instead, you will find a large Buddha statue named Daibutsu (大仏), which is often seen in Japanese guidebooks. It is an iconic landmark located next to sakura trees.
These provide a warm welcome to locals and tourists alike. Around fifty sakura trees have been planted on the grounds and they bloom from late March to early April. The place is open every day of the year, so you can drop by any day you like. It is open from 8:00am to 5:30pm during April to September, and closes earlier during the winter season.
Pink cherry blossoms can be seen blooming in the incredibly beautiful temple of Komyoji during spring. The place is very airy and alive with both local and foreign tourists coming in. You can enjoy having your hanami party here with your friends, especially during the weekend.
Komyoji Temple is inhabited by a number of cats, so don’t be surprised if you see them. You can even take photos of them as they are quite friendly.
Sakura viewing events can be found in the temple’s octagonal mini temple called Taiseikaku (大聖閣). This is a beautiful place even outside the cherry blossom season as it is also surrounded by water lilies.
This temple is popular for its large white bodhisattva Kannon statue which can be seen from afar. This statue was constructed in 1929 and is 25 meters tall and weighs 1,900 tons. Though the statue isn’t that big compared to other statues in Japan, it is still worth the visit due to the beautiful cherry blossom trees lining the area during spring. It makes the statue appear even more attractive and is a great time to take photographs.
If you visit Ofuna Kannonji Temple between 5:00pm and 8:00pm during hanami season, you can see it being illuminated. This gives the area a mystical atmosphere.
The calm atmosphere in these four spots provides a better way for you to view the blossoming cherry trees. Being just an hour away from Tokyo, Kamakura is the best place for savoring the spring season be it a day trip or night trip.