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1. Daigo-ji [Kyoto]炸丹丹/Flickr
Daigo-ji is Kyoto’s oldest five-storied pagoda, and the sight of the cherry blossoms with this historical building is so beautiful it was chosen as one of Japan’s best 100 sights for cherry blossoms. Around 1000 trees bloom on the grounds, and it’s said that Toyotomi Hidetoshi, the samurai that united Japan, visited here for hanami (flower viewing) with 1300 people. On the second Sunday of every year, they hold the Toyotaikou Hanami Gyouretsu, a reenactment of Toyotomi visiting the area. About 200 people wearing the clothing of that era parade around and you’ll feel as though you’ve slipped through time.
HP: www.daigoji.or.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 22 Daigohigashioji-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu (Google Map)
2. Kiyomizudera [Kyoto]Sue Ann Simon/Flickr
Kiyomizudera is a popular spot full of people all year round where you can gaze upon all of Kyoto from its deck. In the spring, around 1000 cherry blossom trees bloom beautifully as though they were decorating the temple and wrap it in their gentle fragrance. The deck juts out on the mountain’s surface and it’s perfect for a dynamic shot of all of Kyoto, so many people visit every year. The spring wind makes the falling petals dance around like falling snow and enchants all those who see it.
HP: www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address:1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto (Google Map)
3. Arashiyama [Kyoto]
Arashiyama is a popular sightseeing spot all year round, but it’s especially popular in the spring when the cherry blossoms bloom. About 1500 cherry blossom trees paint the sight of the Togetsukyo Bridge in a gentle pink. The contract between the green mountain, blue sky, and pink flowers is incredibly beautiful so it’s popular as a photo sight. You can leisurely enjoy the sight of Arashiyama and the gentle spring breeze with your lunch and a camera in one hand.
HP: www.arashiyamahoshokai.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: Saga, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto (Google Map)
4. Osaka Castle Park [Osaka]
The grand view of Osaka Castle and the beautiful cherry blossoms work in harmony to create an elegant atmosphere within the gentle scenery that will make you feel like a samurai. On the castle grounds 3000 trees bloom, and when they’re in full bloom it looks like the park is full of falling snow. Osaka Castle Park was chosen as one of Japan’s best 100 spots for cherry blossoms and at night the trees are lit up. You can enjoy a different enchanting sight from what it looks like during the day.
HP: osakacastlepark.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: Osaka-jo, Chuo-ku, Osaka (Google Map)
5. Expo Commemoration Park [Osaka]
The 1970 Expo world’s fair in Japan was held on these grounds in Osaka and now they are a place filled with the thoughts of the Osakan people. The Tower of the Sun is surrounded by 5500 cherry blossom trees, so when the trees are in full bloom the dynamic sight of the flowers will make you forget to breath. It would be good to enjoy the sight while having a picnic.
HP: www.expo70-park.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: Senribanpaku Koen, Suita-shi, Osaka (Google Map)
6. Himeji Castle [Hyogo]
Himeji Castle is often called the White Heron Castle because it is said to resemble a beautiful white bird. This is one of Japan’s most famous castles, and it has about 400 years of history. It also has about 1000 cherry blossom trees and they when they bloom in the spring the beauty of the area increases all at once. The best areas to look at the trees is the line of trees in Sannomaru Plaza and the weeping cherry blossom tree in the center of the cherry blossom wood in the Nishinomaru Gardens. Also, the sight of the trees from the castle towers is wonderful. Starting from April 2nd, from 10 AM to 4 PM, you can enjoy a Japanese spring in Sannomaru Plaza thanks to the live performances using Japanese traditional instruments such as the koto (a stringed instrument) and taiko drums.
HP: www.city.himeji.lg.jp/s60/2851146.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 68 Honmachi, Himeji-shi, Hyogo (Google Map)
7. Mt. Yoshino [Nara]
When you arrive at Yoshinoyama, you’ll see the mountainside covered in colorful cherry blossoms, a sight so beautiful it will make you gasp. The trees on Yoshinoyama were donated by Buddhist laypeople. The area around Yoshino Shrine and the ropeway has 1000 trees, Nyoinriji has 1000 trees, Yoshino Mikumari Shrine has 1000 trees, and the entire area around Okusenbon has another 1000 trees. In total there are around 30,000 trees that bloom over three weeks so you can enjoy a gorgeous spring sight. There are historical shrines and temples, as well as restaurants and shops that have very traditional atmospheres, so please take your time and enjoy the area.
HP: www.town.yoshino.nara.jp/kanko-event/sakura/yoshinoyama/ (Japanese Only)
Address: Yoshinoyama, Yoshino-cho, Nara (Google Map)
8. Nara Park [Nara]
Nara Park is definitely one of the symbols of Nara, and this 502ha land is decorated every spring with 1700 flourishing cherry blossom trees. There are also around 1200 deer in the park, and their slow strolls through the park makes it look like they’re enjoying the trees as well. While the flowers are definitely the draw, you should also check out Ukimidou and Mt. Wakakusa while you’re there.
HP: nara-park.com/index.html (Japanese Only)
Address: Nara, Nara (Google Map)
9. Hikone Castle [Shiga]
Hikone Castle looks over the shores of Lake Biwa. Hikone Castle is a castle designated a national treasure, and it’s famous for the beautiful form of its roof. In the spring about 1200 cherry blossom trees bloom and surround the castle with a lovely fragrance. Pleasure boats float along the moat, so you can enjoy the sight of the trees from there. You can also ride a rickshaw and enjoy an elegant flower viewing party.
HP: www.hikoneshi.com/jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 1-1 Konkicho, Hikone-shi, Shiga (Google Map)
10. Hirano Shrine [Kyoto]othree/Flickr
This shrine has been known as a great place for cherry blossoms since the Edo Period (1603-1867), and ever since then its popularity has continued. Within the grounds, there are 400 trees of about 60 varieties of cherry blossoms that bloom, including some that you can only see in Nagi or Hirano shrine. At night the trees are lit up with an elegant, gentle light that brings forth a majestic atmosphere. From March 26th to April 20th they open a cherry blossom tea house as well so you can enjoy the sight.
HP: www.hiranojinja.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 1 Hirano Miyamotocho, Kita-ku, Kyoto (Google Map)