So here we find ourselves again at the cusp of that most Japanese of seasons, hanami (花見); the act of sitting under, or as near as possible to, cherry blossom trees whilst getting imbibed and chowing down on some B-grade grub. In our post about hanami in Japan for last season we already stated that this is ground that has been about as well covered as any conceivable ground space at Ueno Park peak season. To that effect we attempted to bring you the voice of the locals, and what they see as the best places to enjoy the cherry blossom. So, we're doing the same for hanami in Japan 2017!! Again, the people over at Walker+ have compiled lists of the most popular hanami spots up and down Japan, which we attempt to translate and bring to you here.
We start this breakdown of cherry blossom spots in the North, Hokkaido, working our way south as far as Kyushu. We were honest in our intentions to list some hanami spots in Okinawa, but it turns out they didn't make any of the top 10s. For each region we list the spot name, the prefecture, and the estimated dates of blooming. Lists are ordered in 'popularity' rank. You'll perhaps notice the gaping absence of Tokyo is this piece. We wrote a separate on about hanami spots in the capital, which you can read here: The best places for cherry blossom & 'hanami' in and around Tokyo .
The latest of the cherry blossom bloomers. Things don't get going in Hokkaido until the end of April, so you've plenty of time to go yet. The hanami in this part of Japan can continue into late May.
|Goryōkaku Kōen||Hakodate-shi||end of April - early May|
|Shizunai Nijukken Road||Hidaka District||early to mid May|
|Masaki Kōen||Masaki District||April 28 - May 20|
|Noboribetsu Onsen Sakura Flower Tunnel||Noboribetsu-shi||May 10 - end of May|
|Shibazakura Takinoue Kōen||Monbetsu District||mid May - early June|
|Hokkaido Ritsu Makomanai Park||Sapporo-shi||end of April - end of May|
|Bibai-shi Tōmei Kōen||Bibai-shi||early - mid May|
|Moerenuma Kōen||Sapporo-shi||early - mid May|
|Tentozan Sakura Kōen||Abashiri-shi||mid - late May|
|Oniushi Kōen||Kayabe District||early - late May|
Petals will start falling around the end of April in this, the most northern region of Honshu. While most spots don't get going until the middle of April, there are a couple to look out for during the early days of the month.
|Nichu Line Bicycle/Walking Path||Fukushima-ken||mid April - early May|
|Shiraishi River Dike (View of 1000 Cherry Trees)||Miyagi-ken||mid - end April|
|Miharu Taki Sakura||Fukushima-ken||mid - end April|
|Hanamiyama Kōen||Fukushima-ken||early - end April|
|Tsuruga Castle Kōen||Fukushima-ken||April 20 - May 5|
|Funaoka Jōshi Kōen||Miyagi-ken||early - mid April|
|Hokujōten Scenic Spot||Iwate-ken||mid - end April|
|Hirosaki Park (Yoshino Cherry Tree)||Aomori-ken||end April - early May|
|Kakunodate Samurai District||Akita-ken||mid - end April|
|Kannonji River||Fukushima-ken||end April - early May|
The Kōshinetsu region of Japan kind of dissects the island of Honshu, spreading as it does from Yamanashi through to Niigata. Given the inclusion of Yamanashi, this is one of the regions where hanami enthusiasts might be able to get themselves a shot of the pink stuff with Mt. Fuji photo bombing the background. (If it can be bothered to come out of the clouds, that is!) Things will kick off here from the end of March.
|Takada Kōen||Niigata-ken||mid April|
|Minobusan Kuon-ji||Yamanashi-ken||end March - early April|
|Mt. Kōbō Kofun (ancient tomb)||Nagano-ken||early April|
|Takato Jōshi Park||Nagano-ken||early April - end May|
|Yamataka Kumashiro Sakura||Yamanashi-ken||early April|
|Kawaguchi Lake (North Bank)||Yamanashi-ken||mid April|
|Garyō Park||Nagano-ken||mid - end April|
|Daihōshi Park||Yamanashi-ken||end March - early April|
|Sakura Onsen Street||Yamanashi-ken||end March - early April|
|Matsumoto Castle||Nagano-ken||April 10 - April 15|
Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, and Mie make up the Tōkai region (although there appears to be some debate about this). Shizuoka could be another place from which to get your Mt. Fuji / cherry blossom shots. In fact, Shizuoka can also boast of having one of the earliest 'blossom' spots in the land; Kawazu-zakura. That already got going at the end of February and could be gone by, well, just about now! Still, other spots in the region haven't yet warmed up and will likely be sticking around until early April.
|Okazaki Kōen||Aichi-ken||end March - early April|
|Sana River banks||Aichi-ken||end March - mid April|
|Izukōgen Sakura Namiki||Shizuoka-ken||end March - early April|
|Hamamatsu Castle Kōen||Shizuoka-ken||end March - April 10|
|Nagoya Castle||Aichi-ken||end March - early April|
|Okuyamada Weeping Sakura||Aichi-ken||mid March - early April|
|Shinsakai River banks||Gifu-ken||end March - early April|
|Awa Boku Kōen||Gifu-ken||early - mid April|
|Kawazu-zakura||Shizuoka-ken||end Feb - early March|
|Tsurumai Kōen||Aichi-ken||end March - early April|
The Hokuriku region faces the Sea of Japan and covers Toyama, Niigata, Fukui, and Ishikawa prefectures. In the Noto Peninsula the region can perhaps boast at having one of the more remote hanami spots in all of Honshu, but this is an area that thoroughly rewards the effort of reaching it. Early to mid April is pretty much the season for cherry blossom across the whole region.
|Tokubetsu Meishō Kenrokuen||Ishikawa-ken||early - mid April|
|Asuwa River Sakura Namiki||Fukui-ken||early - mid April|
|Matsukawa (river) Kōen||Toyama-ken||early - mid April|
|Noto Sakura Station||Ishikawa-ken||mid - late April|
|Takaoka Kojō Kōen||Toyama-ken||early - mid April|
|Maruoka Castle||Fukui-ken||early - mid April|
|Kanasaki Miya (Kanegasaki Park)||Fukui-ken||early - mid April|
|Asuwayama Kōen||Fukui-ken||early - mid April|
|Tsune Nishi Yōsui Promenade Kōen||Toyama-ken||early - mid April|
|Ashi Castle Kōen||Ishikawa-ken||early - mid April|
Kansai must surely be home to some of Japan's most iconic hanami spots, with the temples/shrines of Kyoto and Nara amongst its ranks, as well as Osaka Castle. Things will start to get going here towards the end of March.
|Daigoji||Kyoto-fu||end March - early April|
|Osaka Castle Kōen||Osaka fu||end March - end April|
|Yoshinoyama (Chusenhon)||Nara-ken||early - mid April|
|Yodogawa Kasen Koen (Riverside Park) "Sewaritei" area||Kyoto-fu||early April|
|Kaizu Osaki||Shiga-ken||~ 10 - 15 April|
|Bampaku-kinen Kōen||Osaka-fu||end March - early April|
|Cherry Blossom Tunnel Road (Japan Mint)||Osaka-fu||mid April|
|Yawaragi no michi (along the Nanatani River)||Kyoto-fu||end March - early April|
|Shukugawa Kōen||Hyōgo-ken||end March - early April|
|Kema Sakuranomiya Kōen||Osaka fu||end March - mid April|
The Chūgoku region spreads east from Osaka to reach up to Hiroshima and the last bastions of Honshu. The region includes Miyajima, the island off of Hiroshima, which must make for one of the more unique and rewarding cherry blossom experiences in Japan.
|Tsu Yamashiro (Tsuruyama Kōen)||Okayama-ken||early - mid April|
|(Around) Kintaikyō||Yamaguchi-ken||end March - early April|
|Sera Kōzan Fureai No Sato||Hiroshima-ken||mid - end April|
|Miyajima||Hiroshima-ken||end March - early April|
|Okayama Kōrakuen||Okayama-ken||end March - early April|
|Daigo Sakura||Okayama-ken||early - mid April|
|Sakazu Kōen||Okayama-ken||end March - mid April|
|Senjōgahara Kōen||Yamaguchi-ken||early April|
|Miyasumi Kōen||Okayama-ken||early - mid April|
|Takebe no Mori Kōen||Okayama-ken||early - end April|
Most of Shikoku's hanami parties will likely get going around the end of March. In Dōgo Kōen, Shikoku can boast of a cherry blossom spot which could also afford a soak in one of Japan's oldest hot spring 'resorts', Dōgo Onsen.
|Shiundeyama||Kagawa-ken||end March - mid April|
|Kaisan Kōen||Ehime-ken||early - mid April|
|Hyōtan Sakura Kōen||Kōchi-ken||end March - early April|
|Tokubetsu Meishō Ritsurin Kōen||Kagawa-ken||end March - early April|
|Matsuyama Castle (Shiroyama Kōen)||Ehime-ken||end March - early April|
|Asahiyama Shinrin Kōen||Kagawa-ken||end March - mid April|
|Dōgo Kōen||Ehime-ken||end March - early April|
|Ōyake Fuchi Shinrin Kōen||Kagawa-ken||~ March 25 - April 15|
|Nakagoshike Weeping Sakura||Kōchi-ken||end March - early April|
|Kōchi Kōen||Kōchi-ken||end March - early April|
Much like Shikoku, expect hanami festivities on Kyushu to start getting into their stride at the end of March, with many of the most popular places being in Fukuoka-ken.
|Isshin Yuki No Dai Sakura||Kumamoto-ken||end March - early April|
|Maizuru Kōen||Fukuoka-ken||end March - early April|
|Asai No (One Tree) Sakura||Fukuoka-ken||early April|
|Shiranoe Botanical Gardens||Fukuoka-ken||mid Feb - early April|
|Nishi Kōen||Fukuoka-ken||end March - early April|
|Kumamoto Castle||Kumamoto-ken||end March - early April|
|Yu no Cherry Run||Kumamoto-ken||end March - early April|
|Katsuyama Kōen (Ogura Castle)||Fukuoka-ken||end March - early April|
|Ogi Kōen||Saga-ken||end March - early April|
|Tadashimoto Kōen||Kagoshima-ken||end March - early April|
While this post may have attempted to detail the most popular hanami spots in Japan for 2017, by no means does it make them the best. On top of which, by definition, the locations above will likely be the most crowded.
If you've got some hanami spots that you'd like to share, we'd love to read about them on City-Cost.
See the Japan Meteorological Corporation for updates on this year's cherry blossom forecasts.
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