The best places to witness Japan’s cherry blossom season

Mount fuji at Lake kawaguchiko with cherry blossom in Yamanashi near Tokyo, Japan.
Mount fuji at Lake kawaguchiko with cherry blossom in Yamanashi near Tokyo, Japan.

It’s that time of year again – sakura season. The magnificent display of Japan’s cherry trees in full bloom is something that should be witnessed at least once in your life. Here’s where to see this enchanting floral display in 2024

Everywhere you look, magnificent displays of fluffy pink and white blooms forming a fluffy blanket over Japan’s streets. This is sakura season, and it’s no wonder it draws thousands of visitors to the Land of the Rising Sun each year. A cherished cultural tradition that symbolises renewal, the springtime bloom of the cherry blossoms is a highly anticipated event each year that serves as a reminder of the fleeting nature of life, and to cherish the beauty of the moment. 

The blossoming of the cherry trees marks the arrival of spring across Japan after the frigid winter months. A series of warm days triggers the cherry trees to awaken – a phenomenon known as the ‘ temperature sum’ – but the when exactly this occurs depends on the season that year and which part of Japan you are in. Warmer southern prefectures typically see earlier blooms compared to the cooler northern regions, with the season often beginning in Kyushu, southwestern Japan, in March and progressing northward. 

In 2024 the forecast indicates that the cherry blossoms are expected to make their colorful debut early in many regions across Japan. Tokyo and Kyoto will be among the first cities to witness the natural spectacle in mid-March, with the northernmost Hokkaido Prefecture set to witness the blossoms as late as mid-May. As for how long you can expect to see the actual flowering period, the blossoms usually last about two weeks from the start of their bloom to peak bloom.

Somei-Yoshino trees, known for their pale pink blossoms, and shidare-zakura, or weeping cherry trees, are among the most common and picturesque varieties​​.

Must-visit cherry blossom viewing locations


Shizuoka: Flowering expected around February 5, with full bloom expected by February 29

The Kawazu Cherry Blossoms in Shizuoka are the earliest blooming cherry blossoms in Japan, gaining their blossoms six weeks before any other tree in the country. The Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates these early bloomers, attracting thousands of visitors annually. With fairy lights decorating hundreds of cherry trees that line the riverside, the month-long festival allows visitors to explore local producers selling souvenirs and food stalls while enjoying live entertainment beneath the cherry blossoms.


Nakashi City: Flowering expected around March 20, with full bloom by March 24

Shizumine Park in Nakashi City is known for its double-flowering cherry trees, which have twice as many petals as typical varieties.


Fukuoka: Flowering expected around March 21, with full bloom by March 30

Nishi Park, with its 1,300 cherry blossom trees, offers stunning views of the city, Hakata Bay, and its islands. This historic park, established in 1875, is a popular spot for spring picnics and features numerous food and drink stalls during the blooming season.


Hiroshima: Forecasted to start flowering around March 22, with  full bloom by April 1​

The iconic Hiroshima Castle is surrounded by 450 cherry blossom trees, providing a beautiful backdrop to appreciate Japan’s flora and historic architecture.

Tokyo: Flowering expected around March 23, with full bloom expected by March 30​​

Ueno Park boasts over 1,000 trees, while at Chidorigafuchi Park you can rent boats to view blossoms from the water. Shinjuku Gyoen, Sumida Park along the Sumida River, Yoyogi Park, Meguro River with its stunning pink tunnel of trees, and Inokashira Park in Kichijoji with its sakura-ringed picturesque pond are ideal spots for viewing.

Kyoto: Flowering expected around March 23, with full bloom by April 1​​

The city of Kyoto is renowned for its historical sites and is a popular destination for viewing blooming sakura. 


Osaka: Forecasted to flower on March 25, with full bloom by April 2​​

Mt. Yoshino is a renowned viewing spot with 30,000 cherry blossom trees of various varieties. The blossoms are visible from walking trails and the mountainside ropeway.


Hirosaki: Flowering expected around April 18, reaching full bloom by April 22

Hirosaki Park in Aomori Prefecture boasts 2,300 trees and 50 different varieties, some over 300 years old. The Sakura Tunnel and illuminated night views are particularly breathtaking.


Hokkaido: Flowering expected around May 2, reaching full bloom by May 6​​

As the last region to experience the bloom, Hokkaido Shrine in Sapporo showcases 1,400 trees in full bloom. The location is unique compared to many other viewing spots around Japan because Hokkaido’s climate sees both cherry blossoms and white and red plum blossoms flourish at the same time.

Be sure to check the latest updates on Japan’s cherry blossom season to time your trip for peak bloom.

Share this article