Yozakura: 3 Best Places to View the Breathtaking Night Sakura Illuminations Across Japan

  • SPOT
  • Have you seen the famous sakura or cherry blossoms in Japan? Have you experienced attending a hanami (flower viewing) party or festival? The flower’s beauty is just simply captivating, right? If you are awed by the beauty of these flowers during the daytime, imagine how more fascinating it would be to see them at night.

    Hanami celebrations are not only held during the day; there are a lot of places in Japan that offers a night viewing and illumination of cherry blossoms. Here are three places in the Kansai region with beautiful, accessible, and affordable sakura night illuminations!

    1. Kobe Oji Zoo, Hyogo Prefecture

    Author’s photo

    Kobe Oji Zoo is a popular Japanese zoo known for the giant panda bear, koala bear, and snow leopard that it houses. During the spring season, there is a period in which the zoo opens up its park area for the night luminary show.

    Author’s photo

    The good thing about this is that admission is free! (However, visitors will be asked for a sakura donation of 100 yen at the entrance.) You’ll get to see magnificent illuminated Japanese cherry trees without paying anything at all. Isn’t that great?

    You can also take a picture with the walking panda around the park area. The panda is a bit slimmer than expected, though.

    Kobe Oji Zoo Website

    2. Nijo Castle, Kyoto Prefecture

    Author’s photo

    Kyoto is a very popular destination for travelers whatever season it may be. And just like other spots, the scenery completely changes when the Japanese cherry blossoms come into full bloom. Nijo Castle, a World Heritage Site, is one of the areas in Kyoto that holds a sakura night illumination.

    When it comes to the number of Japanese cherry trees, it is probably not much as that of at Toji Temple or Kiyomizudera. There is also an entrance fee for the sakura illumination.

    Author’s photo

    So why is this one of the best sakura illuminations in the region? Because the crowd is a bit smaller than in other well-known areas of Kyoto. As such, you’ll get to appreciate the romantic and charming sakura illumination more!

    At the end of your viewing, you can also watch a traditional music performance which the castle holds.

    Nijo Castle Website

    3. Nabana no Sato, Mie Prefecture

    Author’s photo

    Nabana no Sato, a flower park with the most spectacular night illumination in Japan, is located in Mie Prefecture. It is actually called “Winter Illumination” because it starts in October and lasts until May of the following year.

    The flower park is huge and a lot of foreign and local visitors alike visit the place to see the grandest light display in the whole of Japan. During spring, it showcases hundreds of Japanese cherry blossoms and is also bursting with different seasonal flowers. The site is so beautiful that it seems as if you are walking in an enchanted park. Almost everything is illuminated!

    Author’s photo

    The theme of the illumination changes every year and there is a light show on the field of hydrangeas. There are also two famous light tunnels that you can walk through at this park.

    Entrance fee to Nabana no Sato costs 2,300 yen, which includes a coupon worth 1,000 yen that you can use to buy meals or souvenirs at the end of your visit.

    Nabana no Sato Website *Japanese only

    Since the blooming of sakura passes by so quickly, it is definitely a must-experience for anyone visiting Japan. If you haven’t seen these gorgeous flowers yet, then you are missing a wonderful experience that could define or change your perspective on what beauty is.

    Related article
    112 Things to Do in Kyoto, a City of Culture, Tradition, and Breathtaking Beauty, in 2018