Disclaimer: This piece was researched and written before the non-essential outing ban and State of Emergency implemented in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Cherry blossom viewing or Hanami in Japanese is one of the most spectacular events of the year in Japan! Osaka is an ideal city to see the beautiful and iconic Japanese cherry blossoms as Osaka is filled with large parks, avenues and impressive emblematic historical sites. There are plenty of places to celebrate the beautiful cherry blossoms. Hanami in Japan is usually done by having a picnic under the cherry trees with food, alcohol and sometimes even portable Karaoke. Also, during this time when the weather is not too hot nor too cold, just being outside to enjoy beautiful nature and weather is something special!
The cherry blossom blooming in Osaka is around the last week of March until the first week of April. In fact, the Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC) has already published its cherry blossom forecast for 2020. It estimates that in Osaka, cherry trees will begin to bloom this year from March 21. Full bloom would be between March 27 and April 4. Of course, everything depends on the weather and these dates may change. But it serves to have a rough idea of when to get ready for this great event.
Here is a list of 7 spectacular places in Osaka where you can see the cherry blossoms and contemplate the incredible views they offer. This list guides you to the most iconic places in Osaka for cherry blossom viewing.
CHERRY BLOSSOMS AT OSAKA CASTLE
Osaka Castle park is one of the best destinations to see cherry blossoms in Osaka as it has more than 3000 cherry trees. Among these cherry trees, there is one special tree that serves as an “official declaration” of the beginning of blooming period. Sakura meisho hyaku-sen (“Selection of the 100 best places during sakura”) is where they have this tree. This place has wonderful cherry blossom scenery, especially in Nishinomaru Garden. To enter, we need to pay a special fee to access this garden. But its nearly 300 cherry trees and the beautiful night illumination make this garden really worth it.
Moreover, you can visit Osaka Castle at any time during the cherry blossom period. Its rich repertoire of cherry trees include both trees that bloom early and those that bloom late. The late blooming yaezakura cherry trees planted next to the Tamatsukuriguchi entrance ensure a lasting floral show.
Also, at this iconic castle you can walk through and experience more than 400 years of Japanese history. Erected in 1598 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Osaka Castle was destroyed by a fire during the Siege of Osaka in 1615. The Tokugawa Shogunate almost completely destroyed the original castle. Despite this, the tower visible today is a reconstruction made in 1931. Both the Ōtemon portal, as well as the watchtowers and stone walls, are from the Tokugawa period (1603-1868).
HOW TO GET THERE
To visit Osaka Castle you must get off at Ōsaka-jō kōen or Morinomiya station on the Osaka Kanjō line (JR line). If you are thinking about using the Osaka Metro, it is better to get off at the Morinomiya station of the Chūō line. Another option, is to walk about 10 minutes from Tanimachi Yonchōme station that is on the Chūō and Tanimachi subway lines.
During the illumination time, adults and high school students can enter the Nishinomaru Garden for 350 yen. For the rest of the day, it costs only 200 yen.
KEMA SAKURANOMIYA PARK CHERRY BLOSSOMS
This park offers a beautiful cherry blossom show on the riverside of the Ogawa River. Kema Sakuranomiya Park extends four kilometers along the riverside that is full of cherry trees that come together to give you a dreamlike view. Since it is close to a river, the weather is calm and cooler. It makes it an ideal place to do hanami or to go for a peaceful walk.
The best views you can enjoy on this walk is from the exit of Sakuranomiya station to Osaka Castle. The walk lasts about 40 minutes. Although it may seem long, you can get the most of visiting two of the best cherry blossom viewing locations in one day. Sakuranomiya Park and Osaka Castle. During your visit, why not take several breaks along the way to relax and enjoy the view?
HOW TO GET THERE
Visitors can access Kema Sakuranomiya Park by train. When using the Keihan Railway and Tanimachi Line, you can get off at Temmabashi station. Another way to access is from the Osakajo-kitazume station on the JR Tozai Line. Also, you can access by Sakuranomiya station on the JR Osaka Loop Line. Since it is a public park, admission is free.
CHERRY BLOSSOM VIEWING AT BANPAKU PARK
Banpaku Park is located in Suita city, in northern Osaka. This park was the venue for the 1970 Japan World Exposition. It hosts more than 5,000 cherry trees, one of the highest number of cherry blossoms in particular place in Osaka. Cherry trees color each pathway through the park, allowing visitors to walk along paths full of pink petals.
Considering the enormous extension and numerous facilities, Banpaku Park is for sure a fabulous place to spend the whole day. But during the hanami season, it shows all of its splendor. Moreover, it is very close to various shops and restaurants, so you can eat delicious food, go shopping and enjoy the cherry blossom viewing all on the same day. Great for families and couples.
Also, at Banpaku Park there is an annual Cherry Blossom Festival. A huge festival that is very popular because of its night views and amazing illuminations of the cherry blossoms. The combination of lights and shadows with the cherry blossom viewing brings an amazing experience that no one should miss!
HOW TO GET THERE
Due to the large extension of the park, the nearest station will depend on the park access area. In general, Banpaku Kinen-koen or Koen Higashi-guchi stations on the Osaka Monorail Main Line are the closest stations to the park. Therefore, in order to get to Banpaku Park, take the Midosuji subway like to Senrichuo station. Once you arrive, change to Osaka Monorail and ride until Banpaku Kinen-koen station. If you want to go to the garden area, it is a 15-minute walk from Koen Higashi-guchi station. Another way to access is a 20-minute walk from Banpaku Kinen-Koen station.
Fees for the Natural & Cultural Garden and the Japanese Garden are 250 yen per adult. 70 yen for children aged 7-15 and free for children under 7 years old. As for the Expo ‘70 Pavilion, it costs 200 yen for adults and is free for children under 15.
CHERRY BLOSSOM FILLED SHITENNOJI TEMPLE
Shitennoji Temple is the oldest temples in Japan. Prince Shotoku Taishi (574-622) built this temple in 593 to introduce Buddhism into the country. The Chinese style of the Asuka period (538-710) was an inspiration for the architecture of the main building, as well as its conference room. The current temple is not the original, as it suffered several fires over the centuries. Therefore, it has been rebuilt respecting the original design.
Shitennoji Temple is a beautiful place to enjoy cherry blossoms in Osaka and famous for its beautiful garden. The gokurakujodo no niwa, the garden of paradise. The garden is adjacent to the temple, owning about 50 cherry trees. You can experience the viewing cherry blossom in a purely traditional Japanese atmosphere. At the heart of the city, it is also close from the lively area of Shinsekai.
Further more, near Shitennoji temple, you can find Isshinji Temple, which also has some fantastic cherry trees. The temples here allows you to immerse yourself into the past times of the history of Japan.
HOW TO GET THERE
Visitors can get to Shitennoji Temple on the Osaka Loop Line from Osaka station and getting off at Tennoji station. Once you arrive at the station, you only have to walk about 11 minutes until you arrive at the temple.
The fee to access the temple is 300 yen, and the garden access also costs 300 yen.
MINT MUSEUM CHERRY BLOSSOMS
The Osaka Mint Bureau opens its doors for visitors each year during a week of April. It is one of the most famous places to see the cherry blossoms. This walk dates from 1883, therefore has more than 100 years of history. Composed of 400 cherry trees the path is approximately 560 meters .
Yaezakura mentioned above is the main gallery among all the different types of cherry trees that can be found in this place. Yaezakura is a type of cherry tree special for its late flowering and multi-petal flowers. You can enjoy the cherry blossom viewing in Osaka before the end of hanami season too! At sunset, paper lanterns light the cherry tree path and form a beautiful night landscape.
However, remember that this space only opens one week a year. Please keep in mind that during those days almost a million visitors come to this location. Therefore, it might be extremely crowded especially on the weekends. It is more recommended to visit on weekdays.
Also, these gardens are only for walking through them, not for doing a hanami picnic. It is forbidden to eat or drink under the trees, as well as smoking, walking against the path direction or picking flowers. All these rules may seem a bit strict, but it is so that the tranquil atmosphere of the location is not disturbed.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are many train and subway stations near the Mint Museum. The closest stations are: Temmabashi, on the Tanimachi and Keihan subway line, and Osakajo kitazume and Tenmagu mae, on the JR Tozai line. From any of these stations you have to walk 15 minutes to arrive at the Mint Museum.
TSURUMI RYOKUCHI CHERRY BLOSSOM PARK
This large public park served as a space for a flowers exhibition in 1990. It has hundreds of beautiful cherry trees, as well as many attractive areas for walking and picnicking. It is also full of beautiful sculptures and fountains that provide a tranquil place with fresh air within the crowded city.
Apart from the cherry trees, its botanical garden is fascinating as it includes many plants from all over the world! The outside area has an exciting variety of 50 small gardens. They have the most representative types of flowers from other countries in the world. It is the perfect place to enjoy with family or with your significant other. Great for cycling as well! Its famous mill located near the flower area is also a very nice place to take beautiful pictures.
HOW TO GET THERE
Visitors can access the park by train. From Osaka/Umeda station, take the Midosuji line and get off at Shinsaibashi station. Then, transfer to the Nagahiro Tsurumi-ryokuchi line and get off at Tsurumi-ryokuchi station. The exit leads directly to the park, and admission is free.
NAGAI PARK CHERRY BLOSSOMS
Nagai Park is a large urban park that has many large paths full of cherry trees! The park also contains numerous establishments, such as the Nagai Botanical Garden and the Nagai Station. This is where they hold the Osaka International Ladies Marathon every winter. There is also a Natural History museum, several restaurants and even a parking area. Other facilities of this park are swimming pools, tennis courts, and a sports center for disabled. There are also various spaces for cycling, playing and exercising.
The botanical garden gathers about 1,000 species of trees and flowers. It is a preserved area of a local forest, and a greenery consultation center. Therefore, it is a recommended place to relax and enjoy a beautiful walk surrounded by nature. Besides, it is perfect for a picnic and to practice outdoor sports in the city.
HOW TO GET THERE
You can reach the park both by subway and by train. Taking the Midosuji line, get off at Nagai station. On the JR Hanwa Line, the park is 5 minutes from Tsurugaoka or Nagai station. The entrance price is free and additional fees are only charged depending on the facilities.
The cherry blossom viewing period in Japan is a beautiful time to walk quietly and explore around Osaka to see a one-in-a-year view. The beauty of cherry blossoms in Osaka combines its rich history to create a feeling of serenity that is difficult to experience in other places.
Also, keep in mind that since cherry blossoms in Osaka last for a short time and absolutely nobody wants to miss it, you will surely find very crowded places almost everywhere. If this isn't ideal, we recommend you to see the cherry blossoms on weekdays and to avoid weekends.
Even so, it is a wonderful time of the year to visit Japan! Osaka is even great, with its great avenues and amazing historical places bathed in pink color.