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When and where to see cherry blossoms in Osaka this sakura season

Dreaming of cherry blossoms in Osaka this spring? Pack your bags and jet off to Osaka for a petal-filled vacation! Picnic on the grounds of a historic castle, explore ancient canals lined with cherry trees and see the rarest blooms in the Osaka Mint. Let us show you when and where to enjoy cherry blossoms in Osaka this sakura season.

When is the best time to see sakura in Osaka?

The cherry blossom season spreads northwards through the Japanese islands towards Osaka. The first bloom in Osaka is predicted to take place on 23 March, and the estimated full bloom date is 31 March. If you’re planning a sakura viewing holiday this year, book your trip around these dates for the best sakura experience in Osaka. However, take note that the exact dates may change depending on the weather patterns, so keep an eye on the latest forecast for 2020.

Where are the best places to see sakura in Osaka?

1. Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is one of Osaka’s most popular spots to enjoy the blooming sakura with crowds of picnickers heading to the lawns of Nishinomaru Garden below the castle, where you can relax in a teahouse or sprawl on your picnic mat and enjoy the views. The castle and trees are beautifully lit up after dark and you can enjoy a memorable boat cruise along the moat surrounding the castle.

Admission fee: Entrance to Nishinomaru Garden is S$2.50 (JPY 200)

How to get there: Walk from Osakajokoen Station

2. Kema Sakuranomiya Park

This beautiful riverside park is home to around 5,000 cherry trees that turn it into a riot of colour during sakura season. The park stretches for a couple of kilometres along a riverbank lined with endless rows of blooming cherry trees. Enjoy a stroll along the trails, hanami on the lawns, hop on a boat for a peaceful river cruise or head here after dark during full bloom to enjoy the illuminations.

How to get there: Walk from Sakuranomiya Station

3. Osaka Mint

The gates to the gardens of the Osaka Mint are flung open to the public for one week every year so join the locals and enjoy the spectacular sakura walk-through, which features a staggering 128 different varieties of cherry tree including some of the rarest and most esteemed breeds such as ohtemari and benitamari. Visitors are not allowed to have a picnic here, but you won’t starve as there are food stalls serving up local treats just outside the entrance. While you are here, why not pop into the Mint Museum and learn about the evolution of Japanese coins? Best of all, entrance to the museum is free!

When to go: Opening dates will be announced on this website in mid-March

How to get there: Walk from Temmabashi Station

4. Expo 70 Commemorative Park

This huge park stands on the site of the 1970 World Expo and has paths and lawn areas dotted with over 5,000 cherry trees which are lit up after dark. You can also enjoy some of the park’s excellent attractions which include the Japan Folk Crafts Museum and Japanese Garden. For junior anthropologists, the exhibits at the National Museum of Ethnology will be a highlight.

How to get there: Walk from Banpaku Kinen Koen Station

5. Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park

This spacious park is dotted with hundreds of cherry trees and has lots of space to enjoy a picnic. The park also has over 50 small gardens, each one representing a different region of the world, so if you are a budding gardener or have green fingers, this is the place to go and get some inspiration!

How to get there: Walk from Tsurumi Ryokuchi Station

Where are the best places to see sakura on a day trip from Osaka?

1. Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto

Take a day trip to historic Kyoto and head to the Philosopher’s Path. This narrow stone canal lined with hundreds of cherry trees turn into a blaze of colour during blooming season, firmly cementing the path’s reputation as the finest hanami spot in all Kyoto. Enjoy the stroll along the canal banks from Ginkakuji and explore the numerous galleries, cafes and temples along the way before ending in the historic district of Nanzenji, famed for its ancient Zen temples.

How to get there: Rapid trains can zip you from Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto in 25 minutes for S$7 (JPY 570). In Kyoto, take the train to Demachi-yanagi Station and walk to the Philosopher’s Path.

When to see Sakura in Kyoto: Estimated first bloom on 20 March 2020 and estimated full bloom on 29 March 2020.

2. Nara Park, Nara

The huge Nara Park is packed full with some of the city’s best attractions such as the Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine, so you can combine sightseeing and sakura on your day trip from Osaka. The park is perhaps best known for its furry residents: hundreds of freely roaming deer that are considered a national treasure and are surprisingly friendly – sometimes overly so! Grab a bag of deer crackers from vendors around the park and enjoy feeding the animals under the hundreds of beautiful blooming cherry trees.

How to get there: Take the JR Yamatoji Line from Osaka Station and arrive in JR Nara Station in 55 minutes for S$10 (JPY 810). The park is a 20-minute walk from Nara Station.

When to see Sakura in Nara: Estimated first bloom on 24 March 2020 and estimated full bloom on 5 April 2020.

Where to stay in Osaka?

Sakura season is Japan’s peak travel season so you’ll need to book well in advance to secure reasonably priced accommodation. Consider staying in central neighbourhoods like Namba or Umeda so you can be close to prime sakura spotting sights and have short journeys to key railway stations for day trips out of the city, as well as access to some of Osaka’s tourist highlights including the trendy districts of Amerikamura and Dotonbori.

First published in March 2017 and last updated in February 2020. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.