Here are the best places for cherry blossom viewing, also known as ‘hanami’, in Japan:
A huge park with seemingly hundreds of cherry blossom trees. Very, very busy, but great atmosphere.
The cherry blossom season is the best time to take this walking route. There are cherry blossoms all along the way, plus a few attractions, such as small shrines surrounded by blossom trees, along the way. Hostel/hotels get booked up very early.
Hachiman shrine (Kamakura)
The road up to this huge shrine is lined with loads of cherry blossom trees. It’s well worth taking a side trip from Tokyo just to see this.
Matsumoto Castle is not just one of the best castles in Japan, it also becomes unbelievably beautiful during the cherry blossom season. Expect big crowds, but amazing photos to take home.
There are many cherry blossom trees all over the island, particularly in the main tourist spots.
It’s not just the deer that make this park great, the cherry blossoms steal the show in spring! There is lots of space as well, so bring some drinks and a picnic/bento.
Yasaka Shrine and Maruyama Park (Kyoto)
This shrine and the surrounding cherry blossoms trees make for a nice, relaxing stroll. Maruyama Park is right next to Yasaka Shrine.
Sumida Park (Asakusa)
Near Asakusa, this park has a nice selection of cherry blossoms going along the river.
Meguro River (Tokyo)
A long river lined with perfect cherry blossoms, cheap stalls selling food and a great, casual atmosphere.