Cherry Blossoms without the Crowds

JNTO

Cherry Blossoms without the Crowds

Cherry Blossoms without the Crowds

It is perhaps the most popular season in Japan: Cherry Blossom Season. Few things are more synonymous with Japan than these delicate pink blooms and its ever growing popularity has become both a blessing and a curse. Luckily, cherry trees are as widespread across Japan as the blossoms are popular meaning that you don’t have to stick to the well-known spots to surround yourself with exquisite pink petals. Here are just a few of the fantastic off-the-beaten-track places to view Japan’s trademark flower.

Takato Castle Site Park, Nagano

Takato Castle Site Park

Takato Castle Site Park in southern Nagano is an enchanting remnant of feudal Japan with an impressive 700 year history. The park’s stunning views of the Japan Alps and over 1,500 cherry trees have made it a favorite cherry blossom viewing spot with locals. The park is located a short distance from Lake Suwa and would make an excellent day trip for visitor’s to Matsumoto City.

Best time to go: early to mid-April
For more information: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/gardens/takato-castle-site-park.html

Matsue Castle, Shimane

Matsue Castle

Listed as one of the 100 Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Japan, Matsue Castle in Shimane is one of only 12 original castles remaining in Japan and one of only 5 to be designated as a National Treasure. Located on the Sea of Japan side, the castle is also flanked by two large lakes which provide stunning vistas. During spring, the castle grounds come to life with not only beautiful cherry blossoms but also camellias, azaleas, and plum blossoms. Visitors can not only stroll the grounds but also venture inside the castle itself to learn about its 400 year history.

Best time to go: late March to early April
For more information: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/castles/matsuejo.html

Kinosaki Onsen, Hyogo

Kinosaki Onsen

Just a short distance from Kyoto, the hot spring town of Kinosaki is a highly favored retreat destination of the Japanese and as yet still unknown to most tourists. Famous for its healing hot springs, Kinosaki boasts an impressive number of traditional Japanese Inns where guests are encouraged to don yukata (or casual kimono) and “hot spring hop” around town. With its cherry tree lined canals, quaint shops and restaurants, and unending hot springs for relaxing, it may be difficult for those who visit this quiet resort to understand how it has kept out of the mainstream.

Best time to go: late March to early April
For more information: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/regional/hyogo/kinosaki.html

Hitome Senbon Zakura, Miyagi

Hitome Senbon Zakura
Hitome Senbon Zakura roughly translates to “1,000 cherry trees at a glance” and is used to describe the magnificent view of the nearly 1,200 cherry trees that line the banks of the Shiroishi River in Miyagi prefecture, just thirty minutes south of Sendai. The snowcapped Zao Mountains in the distance add a majestic element to this striking sight. If you find there is not enough time to stop and take a stroll underneath the blossoms, one can also enjoy this view from onboard the Tohoku bullet train which slows its speed when passing through this area during cherry blossom season so passengers can better enjoy the blooms in all their splendor.

Best time to go: early to mid-April
For more information: http://sendai-travel.jp/activities/hitome-senbonzakura/

Kakuzan Park, Okayama

Kakuzan Park

Kakuzan Park in Okayama is situated on the ruins of Tsuyama Castle which stood there some 400 years ago. Today it has become one of the most popular spots for viewing cherry blossoms in western Japan. The 1,000 or so cherry trees inhabiting the grounds attracts thousands each year to the annual Tsuyama Cherry Blossom Festival where visitors can stroll underneath the blossoms by day and enjoy the festival activities. At night the blooms are illuminated so that no time is wasted enjoying the fleeting blossoms.

Best time to go: early to mid-April
For more information: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/gardens/kakuzan-park.html

Source = Japan National Tourism Organization

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