Between the months of March and May, Japan turns into a wonderland of pretty pink flowers. The cherry blossom season peaks from about mid-March to late April, so we invite you to explore these top spots and many more, with your Japan Rail Pass.
1. Mt Yoshino
When it comes to cherry blossom viewing in Japan, Mt Yoshino has no equal, with around 30,000 cherry trees that have been there for over 1300 years. The cherry trees are bundled in groves in different areas across the mountain range, and visitors can walk across town to visit the various temples and shrines along the way. With a Japan Rail Pass, you can to travel from Kyoto to the Yoshino-guchi station by transfering at Nara, Oji and Takada stations. Once at Yoshino-guchi station, take the limited express Kinetsu Railway train to Yoshino station. Please note Kinestsu Railway is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
2. Hirosaki Park
Hirosaki Park is absolutely splendid during cherry blossom season, as the park has more than 2500 trees and is known for its official Sakura Festival, held every year between the last week of April and the first week of May. The park features romantic cherry blossom tunnels you can walk through. Also, be on the lookout for the impressive Hirosaki Castle, as during cherry blossom season, its moats fill up with petals turning the waterway into a pink river. Hirosaki Park is a 15 minutes bus ride west of the Hirosaki train station.
3. Shinjuku Gyoen
This park is one of the largest in Tokyo and it’s also one of the best places for cherry blossom sightings. The park is well liked because it’s gorgeous, spacious and quiet, making it the perfect place to escape from all the noise and action of Tokyo. Just find a spot to settle, sit on the lawn, relax and enjoy the sight of blooming trees. The park houses more than a dozen different varieties of cherry trees that bloom at different times throughout the season from mid-March to late April. Shinjuku Gyoen is a short walk away from Shinjuku station.
4. Philosopher’s Path
While there are literally hundreds of places to view cherry blossoms in Tokyo, the Philosopher’s Path makes for one of its most charming locations. The paved path is lined by hundreds of cherry trees that bloom in early April, turning the pathway into a lively colorful trail. The Philosopher’s Path is approximately 2 kilometers long and connects to restaurants, cafes and boutiques along with a number of temples and shrines along the way. The path is a few blocks away from the Kyoto station.
5. Kema Sakuranomiya Park
The Kema Sakuranomiya riverside park has close to 5000 cherry blossom trees along the Okawa river bank. You can enjoy the cherry blossoms while on the shore or do so in a fashion that’s special to the prefecture of Osaka, which is touring by water bus. You’ll find frequent departures during the blooming season, which is at its peak between late March and early April. The park is a short walk from Sakuranomiya Station on the JR Osaka Loop Line.
Travel with a Japan Rail Pass and enjoy these great destinations and several more where you can view cherry blossoms in Japan. The pass allows you to travel throughout Japan for 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days.