Travel

Top sakura spots across Japan

Where to see breathtaking cherry blossoms

What is better than welcoming spring in the land of cherry blossoms?

The Japan Meteorological Agency has released the cherry blossom forecast for this year, so it is time to plan your hanami (flower viewing) trip to Japan.

Here are some of the most gorgeous spots to view sakura in Japanese cities, according to travel search engine Kayak.

YOSHINO PARK, KAGOSHIMA

Forecast flowering date: March 20

Forecast full bloom date: March 30

Located in the north of Kagoshima prefecture, the 30ha Yoshina Park is home to more than a dozen cherry cultivars, including the rare local species Kawazu-zakura.

Other sakura hotspots in Kagoshima: Sengan-en, Tadamoto Park

Where to stay: Richmond Hotel Kagoshima Kinseicho

The hotel is a few minutes' walk from Tenmonkan shopping area and a station for the airport bus. The park is just a tram stop from the JR Kagoshima Station, perfect if you want to continue your sakura-hunting journey in Fukuoka, which is only 1 hour and 5 minutes away by train.

MAIZURU PARK, FUKUOKA

Forecast flowering date: March 21

Forecast full bloom date: March 30

Fukuoka is the largest city in Kyushu, Japan's south-westernmost main island.

In Maizuru Park, you can find more than a thousand cherry trees, with the Fukuoka Castle ruins providing a beautiful backdrop. The flowering period is marked by the Fukuoka Castle Sakura Festival, with various activities and food booths to keep you sated and entertained until dark, when the trees are illuminated.

Other sakura hotspots in Kyushu: Nishi Park, Katsuyama Park, Sugi no Baba Street

Where to stay: Nishitetsu Grand Hotel

From Tenjin station, just next to the hotel, it is a 20-minute subway ride to the airport. You can take a nice stroll and reach Maizuru Park or Nishi Park within half an hour.

SENKO-JI TEMPLE, HIROSHIMA

Forecast flowering date: March 23

Forecast full bloom date: April 2

The zen environment of Senko-ji Temple makes for the perfect place to surround yourself with weeping cherry trees, as well as Yaezakura and Yoshino cherry trees. Walk up the hill to the observation deck for a panoramic view of the blossoms and the Seto Inland Sea.

Other sakura hotspots in Hiroshima: Itsukushima Shrine, Ondo-no-seto Park, Japan Mint Hiroshima Branch

Where to stay: Rihga Royal Hotel Hiroshima

The hotel is located near the centre of the city, with attractions such as the Peace Memorial Park and Hiroshima Castle within walking distance. Enjoy stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea from the rooftop hotel restaurant and bar.

JAPAN MINT, OSAKA

Forecast flowering date: March 26

Forecast full open date: April 3

The Japan Mint is the head government office responsible for producing and circulating coins in the country.

The garden on its premises is opened to the public for just seven days a year for sakura lovers to visit during the cherry blossom season.

With different rare varieties of cherry blossoms in shades including white, light green and light pink, the garden is a must-visit for sakura viewing.

Where to stay: City Plaza Osaka

Conveniently located near Nakanoshima Park and Osaka Castle, which are only a few minutes from the hotel. Enjoy the large public bath, onsen and free massage machines on the top floor of the hotel.

GOJO RIVER, NAGOYA

Forecast flowering date: March 20

Forecast full open date: March 30

If you wish to experience theatmosphere of a cherry blossom festival, Iwakura city is the place to be, with its famous handmade Koinobori (carp flags) and traditional cherry blossom festival held near the scenic Gojo River.

Other sakura hotspots in Nagoya: Nagoya Castle, Yamazaki River, Togokusan Fruit Park

Where to stay: Mitsui Garden Hotel Nagoya Premier

Located on a commercial street, this modern hotel features city views and is 2km from Nagoya Castle.

CHIDORIGAFUCHI, TOKYO

Forecast flowering date: March 20

Forecast full open date: March 28

There are many gorgeous sakura-viewing spots in Tokyo. You are likely to find blossoms by wandering the streets or strolling through the parks.

Our favourite spot in the city is Chidorigafuchi. Just imagine the romance of a boat ride under a canopy of cherry trees. This picturesque garden is the ultimate date spot and certainly one of the most Instagrammable sakura spots in town.

Other sakura hotspots in Tokyo: Shinjuku Gyoen, Yasukuni Shrine, Ueno Grace Park

Where to stay: Tokyo Dome Hotel

This hotel is within walking distance of five JR and subway train lines.

20-KEN ROAD OF SHIZUNAI, HOKKAIDO

Forecast flowering date: May 3

Forecast full open date: May 6

Considered one of Japan's 100 best cherry blossom spots and 100 best roads, 20-Ken Road of Shizunai is undoubtedly a stunning sakura-viewing spot in Hokkaido. The 7km-long road in Shinhidaka is lined with more than 3,000 cherry trees.

Other sakura hotspots in Hokkaido: Goryokaku Park, Maruyama Park, Matsumae Park

Where to stay: Premier Hotel Nakajima Park Sapporo

This hotel is right next to Nakajima Park and near the city centre.

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