Hanami (flower viewing) has been a traditional custom in Japan for centuries and is mostly done from the end of March to the beginning of May, depending on the weather. If you are planning on doing hanami with your friends and family during spring, then make your way to one of these 7 celestial spots:
Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) is a huge park located in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The park consists of up to 1,500 sakura trees with at least a dozen varieties. It is spacious enough to be able to find a good, quiet spot to set your picnic up. Shinjuku Gyoen is a great location for families, especially if you want peace and quiet away from partying, as alcoholic drinks are prohibited here.
If you miss the cherry blossom season, not to worry! This park contains early and late blooming trees. So if you’re not in Tokyo at the right time, try to visit this spot.
Of course, Ueno Park (上野公園) is one of the most well-known parks in Tokyo where you can view many sakura trees. If you are looking to throw a big hanami party, then this is the place to go. This park is usually crowded and also has a wild side.
Ueno Park mostly contains 1,000 sakura trees along the street leading to the Tokyo National Museum, and also around the Shinobazu Pond (不忍池). At night, the sakura trees are lit by beautiful lanterns.
Moreover, Ueno Park has a must-visit matsuri or festival in spring, around the end of March or early April.
Hirosaki Castle (弘前城) is located in Aomori Prefecture (青森県). The castle was built by the Tsugaru family (津軽氏) that once ruled the area. The park consists of up to 2,600 sakura trees with at least 50 different varieties which are located around the castle. One of its popular features is the 120-year-old Somei Yoshino tree which is said to be the oldest in Japan.
Hirosaki Castle is a romantic destination for lovers and also a great place to view the surrounding nature. They also hold a matsuri (traditional Japanese festival) every year from the end of April to the beginning of May.
The Osaka Castle Park (大阪城公園) covers up to 106.7 hectares. The castle is surrounded by 600 sakura trees including Somei Yoshino at the Nishinomaru Garden (西の丸庭園). The sakura trees are not restricted to the castle grounds alone because the large park contains at least 4,000 sakura trees in total.
You can also visit Osaka Castle in other seasons. The scenery changes each season and attracts many visitors.
The Goryokaku Fort (五稜郭) is located in Hakodate (函館), Hokkaido, the northernmost part of Japan. It is a unique star-shaped fort built by the Tokugawa shogunate (徳川将軍). The fort is now a park full of plum and sakura trees that blossom at the same time. Over a thousand sakura trees are planted along its moats, making it one of the best hanami spots to go to.
If ever you visit the Goryokaku Fort, try to go up the Goryokaku Tower. It is a well-known place for its bird’s-eye view of the fortress.
If you are in Kyoto, then The Philosopher’s Walk (哲学の道) is a must-see hanami spot. It is a 2-km (1.24 miles) path that runs along the canal in Kyoto’s Higashiyama district (東山区). It is lined with hundreds of sakura trees at both sides of the river path. The Philosopher’s Path runs between the Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) and Nanzenji Temple (南禅寺). It was named after Kitaro Nishida (西田幾多郎), a famous Japanese philosopher that is said to have walked the route daily going to Kyoto University.
Take note that this path is narrow, and bicycles and vehicles are prohibited from entering. It is the perfect place to take romantic walks while viewing the beautiful scenery along the path, especially during spring with all the cherry blossoms.
Of course, who can forget about the breathtaking scenery of Mt. Fuji? The Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko; 富士五湖) are located at the northern base of Mt. Fuji. These five lakes are some of the prime spots to view Mt. Fuji while enjoying the bloom of sakura trees.
Additionally, there are numerous activities that you can do here like camping, fishing, skiing, and other outdoor things.
Spring is the time when flowers, mostly sakura, start to bloom and you get to enjoy viewing their beauty, so don’t miss this chance and start planning where to go in advance. Relax and enjoy the refreshing and beautiful sceneries of the hanami season all over Japan!
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