The best places to see cherry blossoms in Japan

If you're thinking about travelling to Japan in late March or early April, hanami (cherry blossom viewing) is simply a must do. The blooms start in the south of the country in March and gradually advances northwards, blanketing parks and forests in a sea of pale pink. Here we look at some of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Japan.

Top places to view cherry blossoms in Japan

Yoshino, Kansai

Yoshino is the top cherry blossom location for Japanese tourists. The mountain is covered with around 30,000 cherry trees which create a floral carpet up the hillsides. During hanami season accommodation is usually booked out far in advance, but it's possible to make a day trip from Kyoto (around an hour and a half one way by train).

Himeji Castle, Hyogo

The impressive castle keep is a beautiful backdrop to the thousands of blossoming cherries in its surrounds. The Himeji Castle cherry blossom viewing fair features traditional music performances. Entry to the outer grounds is free but there is a modest fee for entering the inner castle grounds.

Ueno Hill, Tokyo

Ueno Hill is Tokyo's best spot for cherry blossom viewing. It's also the city's most crowded hanami destination in early April, but the 1,000 sakura trees still make the park a must-see. It's also a good spot to visit early in the season as the trees here always seem to bloom a few days before the others.

Imperial Palace Park, Kyoto

The sprawling grounds of the Imperial Palace are strewn with flowering trees, providing a great location for a picnic or afternoon stroll. At the southern end of the park is a beautiful pond filled with carp.

Takada Park, Niigata

Takada Park in Joetsu city is one of the most famous night time viewing destinations for cherry blossoms in Japan. The grounds of Takada Castle are lit up by thousands of lanterns hanging from many of the 4,000 cherry trees. The moat reflects the scene and creates an almost mystical atmosphere.

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