The cherry blossom viewing hanami frenzy is upon us and while the hoards flood to the popular cherry blossom haunts of Osaka Castle Park, The Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto, and Yoshino in Nara, why not travel somewhere off the tourist track for a more serene sakura experience.
Early to mid-April
Admire the great clouds of blossom on the 700-plus cherry trees Someiyoshino cherry trees planted in Ho Park on the site of Nagahama Castle. The best of these Somei Yoshino cherry trees bloom brilliantly around the castle tower. Paper lanterns are lit up after dusk, creating a magical nighttime spring atmosphere.
Access: JR Nagahama Stn, 20-min walk
Address: Koen-cho, Nagahama City, Shiga, Japan
Early to mid-April
The Kaizu-Osaki peninsula is a particularly scenic spot in the Biwako Quasi-National Park. In the spring, a tunnel of around 700 gorgeous Yoshino cherry trees bloom across a 4km area. It is a shore reef area jutting out into Lake Biwa, located in Takashima City, Shiga, and it is one of the eight views of Lake Biwa.
Access: JR Kosei Line, Makino Stn, bus to Kaizu-Osaki Guchi stop
Address: Kaizu, Makino-cho, Takashima City, Shiga, Japan
Late March–Early April
This recreational area in a mountainous region of southern Wakayama is popular during the cherry blossom season with spectacular views. There are roughly 3000 Someiyoshino cherry trees planted over 5km around the lake. Visitors enjoy a spectacular view of the sakura reflecting off the deep blue water of the lake.
Access: Visitors need a car
Address: Sada, Kozagawa-cho, Wakayama, Japan
The cloudy pink reflection off of the terraced rice fields is what makes this site so special. Around 500 yama-zakura (hill cherry) trees line both sides of a 1.5km stretch from the Ise-honkaido road to the approach to Shinpukuin temple. During blossom season, the sakura creates a glorious pink tunnel expanding a picturesque landscape against the background of the adjacent terraced rice fields.
Access: JR Meisho Line, Ise-Okitsu, bus to Mitake
Address: Mitake, Misugi-cho, Tsu City, Mie, Japan
The Miya River flows northwest of Ise Shrine in Ise city, Mie, and the Miyagawa riverbank is home to a row of cherry trees that are perfect for picnicking sightseers and locals. Thousands of cherry trees of different varieties are lined up over 1km on the riverside, making this a glorious place to be during the flowering season.
Access: JR Sangu Line, Yamadakamiguchi Stn, 8-min walk
Address: Miyagawa – Nakajima, Ise City, Mie, Japan