“In the cherry blossom’s shade, there’s no such thing as a stranger” ~ Kobayashi Issa.

The new year is upon us and the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms will be here before we know it!

As I’ve written about on my Japan blog, any month of year is the best time to visit Japan as each season is beautifully different to the next — but the window of time where cherry blossoms (sakura さくら in Japanese) dominate the country with their incredible show is a truly special treat.

The Best Time to Visit Japan for Cherry Blossoms | The Invisible Tourist

It’s no surprise that visitor numbers to Japan during this season rapidly increased from around 900,000 visitors in 2013 to 2.9 MILLION in 2019 — and is already gearing up to surpass this in 2024! Cherry blossoms are one of the many things Japan is known for around the globe, after all.

I’ve visited Japan in spring early in the season twice and have been fortunate to see some early-blooming flowers. So, I’ve reached out to travel bloggers who were fortunate enough to visit during peak Japan blossom season and put together a list of places they recommend for viewing, as well as revealing the best times to visit each. Read on for more!

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When is the Best Time to Visit Japan for Cherry Blossoms | The Invisible Tourist
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Ok Japan cherry blossom seekers, let’s find when is the best time to see Japanese cherry blossoms!

When is the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms 2024?

The best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms is the last week of March through to early May. This is towards the end of winter to mid-spring for the majority of the country.

The Japan cherry blossom season is lengthy, but there are a number of environmental factors that influence exactly when the blooming will take place each year such as temperature, rain and winds.

Typically, the blossoms come alive in Japan’s south first as the climate is milder, before gradually creeping up north towards major cities such as Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo. The north island of Hokkaido can expect their blossoms to flourish around late April – early May.

TIP: If you’re interested in learning how to avoid the crowds during this busy season, my detailed guide to visiting Japan in spring covers even more places to go, what to pack and how to avoid crowds!

Although the blossoms begin coming to life in the country’s south and inch northwards, for the purpose of this article I’m going to divide the destinations up into their regions based on popularity. Let’s begin with the the Kanto region.


Considering it’s one of Japan’s smaller regions by size, the Kanto region sure packs a big punch! Of course, the country’s buzzing capital of Tokyo is a major attraction with many great spots to view cherry blossoms. Kanto is also home to Japan’s second largest city after Tokyo, Yokohama.

TIP: Generally speaking, the best time to see cherry blossoms in the Kanto region is early April.

The best places to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo

Japan’s massive capital city is a huge draw card for visitors with many different places to experience the Japan sakura. Here, travel bloggers reveal the best places to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo, and include a few tips for making the most of your encounter. If you’re after some inspiration for early blossoms, take a look at my guide to hidden gems in Tokyo:

Meguro River, Ebisu District

Best time to visit: Early April

Contributed by: Cindy, Free Two Roam
Our favourite cherry blossom experience was in Naka-Meguro near Ebisu in Tokyo. Around eight hundred cherry trees line the Meguro River and stretches for 3.8 kilometres. It’s an amazing sight and one of the most popular spots for cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo. 

The best part, they have a Sakura Festival every year where the many cafés and restaurants bordering the river serve delicious street food and Champagne with strawberries for the occasion. The locals are all out drinking and having a good time under the pale pink canopy of the blossoms. So why not join them? Even though it can be very busy, it has an incredible atmosphere.

TIP: Don’t forget to visit again in the evening as during the festival, the trees are all lit up at night and it looks dreamy! 

Nakameguro by Cindy, Free Two Roam

Ueno Park, Taito District

Best time to visit: Early April

Contributed by: Wendy, Pint Size Gourmets
When my family and I got to Tokyo at the beginning of March, we were on the look out of cherry blossoms but discovered that we were there too early. Depending on a number of varying factors every year, the main variety of sakura bloom in Japan anywhere from mid-March to the beginning of April. Thankfully we had scheduled a ski trip to Hokkaido and returned to Tokyo two weeks later, to see 75% of the cherry blossoms in bloom.

While you can see cherry blossom trees all throughout the city (the street we were staying on was covered overhead by sakura flowers in bloom), our favourite location to view them was Ueno Park. If it’s your first time viewing the cherry blossoms – known as hanami in Japanese – then Ueno Park is the place to go with hundreds of hanami picnics or parties happening under more than 1,000 cherry blossom trees that exist all throughout the park.

TIP: While walking the main park pathway is a wonderful way to see the blossoms, we especially enjoyed the section of trees that runs right through Shinobazu pond.

Ueno Park by Wendy, Pint Sized Gourmets

Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku-ku

Best time to visit: Early April

Contributed by: Matilda, The Travel Sisters
One of best places in Japan to enjoy the famous cherry blossoms is the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo.  Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in Tokyo and it consists of three different types of gardens: Japanese traditional, French formal and English landscape.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is home to a large number of cherry trees, including early and late blooming cherry trees, which extends the cherry blossom viewing season. It a relaxing oasis in the middle of a busy city and a great place to spend a few hours exploring the gardens or enjoying a picnic.

TIP: Although it is one of the most popular spots in Tokyo to view the cherry blossoms, it was not as crowded as other cherry blossom viewing locations I visited in Tokyo because there is an admission fee for entry (JPY 500).

Shinjuku Gyoen by Matilda, The Travel Sisters

Tokyo Imperial Palace Gardens, Chiyoda Ward

Best time to visit: Early April

Contributed by: Sylvia, Wapiti Travel
The gates of the Imperial Palace remain closed to visitors for the most part of the year.  Only on very special occasions do visitors get to catch a glimpse of the pretty extended gardens and the royal buildings that hide behind the towering walls and fortified gates.

There used to be only 2 occasions on which ordinary mortals like ourselves were allowed to enter the premises. The first is the New Year’s Greeting Event, the second is the Emperor’s birthday.  Since 2014 two more were added.  One is the colourful fall foliage of the cherry trees and lastly the sakura season which drives all Japanese crazy. Even the Imperial Family takes part in this yearly celebration as you can see by this special opening.

Tokyo counts many splendid places to see the cherry blossoms but the exclusivity to walk along Inui Street, one of the main streets on the Imperial grounds, makes this one thing to add on your bucket list of your upcoming Japan trip.

The street is lined with 103 cherry streets of 31 varieties and is opened for 5 consecutive days in late March or early April.  The exact dates vary depending on the blossoms and are announced on the official website of the Imperial Palace Household agency. A visit to the Imperial Palace is a unique experience where you can see both the buildings of the Imperial Family and the beautiful colourful cherry blossoms.


Where to stay in Tokyo     

When it comes to sakura season in Japan, it’s never too early to book your accommodation to avoid disappointment! If you’re looking for accommodation in Tokyo, I highly recommend Dormy Inn Premium, Shibuya.
You can read my review of Dormy Inn and 8 other hotels in greater Tokyo I have personally enjoyed in my guide to where to stay in Tokyo for first time and repeat travellers.


Day Trips to See Flowers from Tokyo     

Love getting off the beaten path and have some extra time for a day trip from Tokyo?
These blossom-related day trips from Tokyo may be for you:

Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture

Best time to visit: Late March

Contributed by: Paula, Truly Expat
We all know and love Tokyo for the numerous spots that you can view the infamous Cherry Blossoms. I will not deny these areas of Tokyo are just amazing (I lived 1 street away from Meguro River). The problem is everyone in Tokyo seems to agree; trying to get a photo is almost impossible. Photos need to be taken at just the right time with just the right angle to ensure that unwanted faces are not caught in your camera frame.

What we forget here is Yokohama is only a hop skip and jump away from its famous cousin Tokyo. And (and that is a big AND) much less crowded so if you have the chance head down to Yokohama for some cherry blossom viewing. We were lucky enough to head to Japan in March and spent 2 full days viewing sakura during the cherry blossom season.

Minato Mirai is an excellent place to start, with sakura spotted in and around this beautiful area. Whether you choose to view them at night (lit up by the lights that are strategically placed in significant viewing areas) or head over by day (where they look stunning in the natural light of day) you will not be disappointed. This area has an added bonus of the Noodle cup museum and the Yokohama Cozmo World.

There are other places, such as Yamashita Park and Kamonyama Park, where you can wander around aimlessly taking endless photos of these beautiful flowers without the distraction of thousands of people to duck and dive.


Where to stay in Yokohama     

 Read reviews and compare prices for accommodation in Yokohama here.



Centrally located on Japan’s main island of Honshu, we come to one of my personal favourite areas of Japan: the Chubu region. Boasting seaside towns in the south and alpine scenery, mountainous tracks and a more rural atmosphere in the north makes it a perfect off-the-beaten path destination to view cherry blossoms in the country.

TIP: Generally speaking, the best time to visit the Chubu region for cherry blossoms is early March to mid-April.

Kawazu City, Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture

Best time to visit: Early March

Contributed by: Nicole, Travelgal Nicole
Kawazu is one of the best places to see the cherry blossoms in spring. Every year in February and March, the Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival is held in Kawazu City.  

Kawazu is one of the first places in Japan to see the cherry blossoms.  The cherry trees have a unique blossoming time that is different than other cherry trees found around Japan. After living in Japan, Kawazu is my favourite place to see the cherry blossoms.  The blossoms are extra large and a very deep shad of pink in Kawazu.  

There are cherry trees throughout the city but one of the best places to see them is along the river.  The cherry trees follow the river for four kilometres and lead to the Seven Waterfalls of Kawazu which is another site to see in Kawazu.

The Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival attracts over two million visitors a year.  The cherry trees here are known as Kawazuzakura whereas others are known as sakura. Kawazu Cherry trees blossom for longer so you have an extra month to see them. Kawazu is located four hours south of Tokyo (or a two and a half hour train ride) in the Izu Peninsula.


Where to stay in Kawazu     

Read reviews and compare prices for accommodation in Kawazu here.


Matsumoto Castle, Nagano Prefecture

Best time to visit: Mid-April

Contributed by: Jennifer P., aka Dr. J, Sidewalk Safari
Tokyo to Matsumoto in mid-April is an ideal journey to see cherry blossoms. The trip to Matsumoto from Tokyo takes less than 3 hours by high-speed train. In particular, Matsumoto Castle is simply magical. The six-storey keep dates back to the 16th century and is listed as a National Treasure of Japan.

There is nothing better than the views from Matsumoto Castle when the cherry blossoms are at peak bloom. Climb steep flights of stairs at Matsumoto Castle and delight in amazing views of Matsumoto City and the surrounding countryside awash in delicate white and pink flowers. Observe how the view changes at each different level as you peek out the open windows which offer up vistas in all four directions.

The “stairs” are actually ladders in a couple places and there are no shoes allowed in Matsumoto Castle so you’ll be ascending in your socks or barefoot. If you suffer from vertigo or simply don’t like heights skip the tower and walk around the moat lined with cherry trees for beautiful views of the castle and the scent of the flowers.

I also love Matsumoto Castle because it’s open after dark for Matsumoto-jo Sakura Matsuri, a cherry blossom festival that occurs for a week when the sakura open. Spotlights on the cherry trees and the castle add a touch of romance and glamour.

TIP: Just make sure to bring a jacket. The temperature plummets in Matsumoto in April after the sun sets.

Best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms: Matsumoto Castle in mid-April


Where to stay in Matsumoto     

I personally loved my stay at the amazing Matsumoto Hotel Kagestu!
Read reviews and compare prices for all accommodation in Matsumoto here.




The Kansai region is an insanely popular place to see cherry blossoms in Japan. And with good reason! Huge drawcards cities such as Kyoto, Osaka Castle, Nara, and Himeji offer countless spots for hanami (blossom viewing) with iconic temples, shrines and castles as a backdrop.

TIP: Generally speaking, the best time to see cherry blossoms in the Kansai region ranges from late March to mid-April, and on occasion late-April depending on the altitude of the spot.

The best places to see cherry blossoms in Kyoto

Kyoto has dozens upon dozens of incredible places to view cherry blossoms! Here’s a small selection of travel blogger’s favourite spots:

Yoshida Hill, Sakyo Ward

Best time to visit: Early April

Contributed by: Erin, Never Ending Voyage
There are many beautiful places to see the cherry blossoms in Kyoto, but most of them get so crowded that it’s hard to relax and really appreciate the beauty of the flowers.

To escape the crowds, head to Yoshida Hill in northeastern Kyoto where you’ll find a number of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines (all with free entry) and very few visitors. There’s no train station nearby so it’s best visited on foot—it’s about a 2 km (1.2 mile) walk from the Ginkakuji-ji end of the Philosopher’s Path (a popular sakura spot).

We visited on 31st March and while some cherry trees were in full bloom, the area would have been at its best a week later. We started at Takenaka Inari Shrine where a row of red torii gates are framed with white cherry blossoms—such a classic Japanese image. On the other side of the hill is Yoshida-jinja, a peaceful shrine surrounded by forest with a cherry tree next to the large entrance torii gate.

Shinnyodo Temple is a 10-minute walk away and is even better for sakura viewing. The large temple complex features a huge wooden hondo (main hall), a pond, and many cherry trees throughout.

TIP: Konkai-Komyoji Temple, also known as Kurodani Temple, is another peaceful complex of wooden buildings. There’s a grand entrance gate and the stairs up to the complex are lined with cherry trees.

Sannenzaka, Gion, Higashiyama Ward

Best time to visit: Early April

Contributed by: Fae, FaeCelinee
We visited Kyoto in the last week of March. The cherry blossoms were just starting to bloom in other places such as Arashiyama and Kiyomizu-Dera Temple. However, it was also the perfect time to see the cherry blossoms in Sannenzaka Slope. It was in full bloom when we visited and it is also just a walking distance from the Kiyomizu-Dera Temple. Sannenzaka Slope is also one of the top cherry blossom spots in Kyoto so expect a lot of crowds especially during peak hours.

Sannenzaka slope is one of my favourite cherry blossom spots in Kyoto. I’ve seen several beautiful photos of Sannenzaka Slope in the past and now, I feel so happy that I was able to visit this iconic and magical cherry blossom spot in Kyoto. The slopes are also lined with shops selling some traditional sweets and handicrafts.

If you are visiting Kyoto during the cherry blossom season, I highly recommend stopping by Sannenzaka Slope. It is a must-visit cherry blossom spot in Kyoto.

TIP: If you want to avoid the crowds, my tip is to come early in the morning, around 6am. You’ll have the whole place to yourself and you can take beautiful and magical photos since there are no crowds. 

Best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms: Sannenzaka, Kyoto in early April

Philosopher’s Path, Sakyo Ward

Best time to visit: Mid-April

Contributed by: Annie, Off Goes Annie
A stroll along Kyoto’s Philosopher’s Path has to be my highlight of visiting Japan in the beautiful cherry blossom season. Located close to the centre of Kyoto, this short walk along the sakura lined canal is totally unmissable.

Named the Philosopher’s Path after the great Kyoto University professor Nishida Kitaro reportedly used the walk for daily meditation back in the 1900s, the whole area promises stunning blossom and pure tranquillity. Along the journey, you’ll find several temples and shrines, aiding you to find your inner peace.  

When visiting Kyoto in Spring, many of the beautiful cherry blossom viewing spots can get very busy. However, the Philosopher’s Path remains comparatively quiet due to its large area. Stand on the small bridges to fully appreciate the full length of the walk, fully encapsulated by the stunning sakura.

The best time to visit the Philopher’s Walk is in mid-April, when many of the rose-pink petals have started to drop. At this time, the blossom still provides the stunning pastel colours in the trees, whilst the falling of the snowflake like petals creates an even more magical atmosphere.

TIP: Although it’d be possible to walk the full length in just 30 minutes, allow at least an hour and a half to fully appreciate the beauty of this very special place. 

Best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms: Philosopher's Path, Kyoto in mid-April

Arashiyama, Ukyō Ward

Best time to visit: Late April

Contributed by: Smita, Smita Bhattacharya
To me personally, the last stage of the cherry blossoms is the most poetic, when the flowers turn white and shed slowly, falling gently to the ground, carried by the wind. While Tenryuji temple, located in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district, is not specifically a cherry blossom viewing spot, I came across the lush blossoms in the temple’s gardens, at the end of April 2019 and left mesmerized.

Tenryuji is already quite beautiful, ranked among the country’s best Zen temples, and registered as a world heritage site but its grounds make for interesting strolls, with surprises in every nook and corner.

Its garden houses a central pond, surrounded by manicured bushes, impressive rock formations, pine trees and the lush Arashiyama Mountains. In spring, the weeping cherry trees almost touch the ground, laden with stunning pink blossoms. With the temple in the background, they look even more majestic than they are already. 


Where to stay in Kyoto     

I loved my stay at Kyoto Hana Hotel, in the heart of Gion, but my absolute favourite was Kyoto Granbell Hotel also in Gion!
Read more in my complete 4 Days in Kyoto Itinerary, or

Read reviews and compare prices for
all accommodation in Kyoto here.



Best places to see cherry blossoms in greater Kansai

As mentioned earlier, there are many great spots to view cherry blossoms around the Kansai region, such as Nara, Osaka and Koyasan!

Osaka-jō, Chūō Ward, Osaka Prefecture

Best time to visit: Late March – Early April

Contributed by: Alexander, Destinavo
Osaka Castle is one of the best places to take part in the annual Hanami and view the cherry blossoms in Osaka. The castle park has more than 4000 varieties of cherry trees planted within its premises. Strolling around the park will allow you to see many different types of cherry blossom, and they are all lovely when in full bloom.

It’s free to enter the castle park, and the only admission fee is if you want to go up into the Osaka castle. From there you can get a nice overlook of the park with all the cherry trees, which is quite spectacular to see from above. Nearby, you also have the Osaka Mint Bureau, which is another popular place to view the cherry blossom in Osaka with more than 300 different varieties and lots of cherry trees.

The cherry blossom season starts around 21 March in Osaka, and enter full bloom around 1 April, which is also when I visited the city for Cherry blossom. I arrived a few days before 1 April and got to experience the city in full bloom.

TIP: It’s recommended to book your accommodation well ahead, the sooner the better as this is the most popular time of the year to visit.  

Best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms: Osaka Castle in early April


Where to stay in Osaka     

I highly recommend Cross Hotel Osaka in a perfect location near Dotonbori and Namba Station!
Read more in my 3 Days in Osaka Itinerary + Nara Day Trip guide, or
Read reviews and compare prices for all Osaka accommodation here.


Mt Koya (Koyasan), Wakayama Prefecture

Best time to visit: Late March – Early April

Contributed by: Bistra, The Magic of Traveling
We first heard of Koya Mountain and the town of Koyasan from some heavy illustrated books about Japan. The town was created when the monk Kōbō-Daishi, also known as Kūkai, deemed the place fit for a temple and his Buddhist lifestyle. This was the beginning of one of the most sacred places on Earth – the heart of Shingon Buddhism.

Nowadays there are many temples here that attract plenty of tourists, not only because they are beautiful pieces of art, but also because monks still inhabit them. One can even sleep in the traditional rooms in the temples themselves and take part in the morning prayers. Welcome to Koyasan!

When we got on the cable car for our last leg of travels to Koyasan, we noticed hundreds of cherry trees in blossom. We haven’t realized until then that Koysan can also be one of the top places to watch sakura in Japan. Unfortunately, we were a bit late – at the end of April, so half of the trees had passed the blossom. And still, so many different colors of blossom, the magical aroma, the peaceful atmosphere – the place quickly became our favorite to view the sakura.

TIP: We highly recommend Koyasan for enjoying cherry tree blossoms – it has fresh mountain air, beautiful temples, and many hikes. You can combine sakura with staying at a temple and you’ll have a memorable experience!


Where to stay in Koyasan (Mt Koya)     

Read reviews and compare prices for all accommodation in Koyasan here.


Nara, Nara Prefecture

Best time to visit: Early April

Contributed by: Jennifer, The Rainbow Route
My wife and I were so excited for our first trip to Japan. It was something we had been dreaming about for years. It was tough to decide when to visit, but ultimately we chose cherry blossom season for its beauty.

Unfortunately, even though we arrived in Tokyo at peak blossom time, we were met with five days of straight rain. We headed to Kyoto hoping for better weather and were greeted by the sun on our visit to Nara.

We got lucky with the cherry blossoms again, which were out in full force. Even on their own, cherry blossoms are beautiful and convey a sense a magic. However, when you have an ancient temple as a background at the Todaiji Temple, this effect is even stronger. A gentle breeze carries petals peacefully by you as though they were floating, pink snowflakes.

TIP: If that’s not enough, having a picnic in Nara Park, full of blossoming cherry trees while tame deer frolic around you, really puts the icing on the cake.

Best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms: Nara in late March


Where to stay in Nara     

Read reviews and compare prices for all accommodation in Nara here.



Suzuka Flower Park, Mie Prefecture

Best time to visit: Early – Mid April

Contributed by: Thais, World Trip Diaries
One of the best things about going to smaller towns to do your hanami is that there are often enormous parks with plenty of sakura but none of the crowds of the big cities.

In Suzuka-shi there’s this park called Flower Park. It’s a monster of a park with… flowers, and they have sakura trees all over. Even when they’re in full bloom, it’s easy to find a tree to sit under and have a picnic. My favourite spot was around the playground, but a little ways apart so it wasn’t full of people. Don’t worry, you just walk to the playground and them keep walking a little further. You’ll find lots of spots then.

There are many more great spots for sakura viewing, like one of the shrines or temples, school grounds (though some don’t allow strangers in the grounds), the Suzuka Circuit theme park (Motopia) and other smaller parks, and streets, but the Flower Park is, by far, the best option. The sakura trees in Suzuka usually flower in early to mid-April.

TIP: Bring a mat, a bento box, and a thermos filled with tea for a full experience. During spring, there are many other beautiful flowers around the park too, and they’re also worth a stop.


Where to stay in Suzuka     

Read reviews and compare prices for all accommodation in Suzuka here.


Himeji-jō, Hyōgo Prefecture

Best time to visit: Mid-April

Contributed by: Jodie, Alajode
Himeji Castle is one of the most beautiful scenes you’ll see during your time in Japan, and it only looks even more impressive during cherry blossom season. Himeji Castle’s other name, White Heron Castle, comes from its brilliant white exterior. During cherry blossom season, the white castle is contrasted by both the bright blue sky from above and the pastel pinks that surround it from the ground. The combination makes for beautiful photos that will look like they came straight from a postcard.

I visited Himeji Castle in mid-April and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom during my stay. The trees line the moat around the castle as well as filling the grounds in front of it, so there is no shortage of cherry blossoms to enjoy. You can also climb up to the top of the castle – something that takes time but is well worth doing – and look out at all of the cherry blossoms around. 

Himeji castle is a short walk from Himeji station, which is served by the Japan Rail bullet trains. It’s an easy day trip if you’re staying in Osaka or Kyoto, taking just 1.5 hours by train from either.

TIP: You’ll need at least a few hours to explore the castle (if you plan on going inside), but may want to set aside an entire day if you have time. Himeji town is fun to wander around, explore and shop in.

Best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms: Himeji Castle in early April


Where to stay in Himeji     

Read reviews and compare prices for all accommodation in Himeji here.



The Chugoku region lies within the country’s west, neighbouring the popular Kansai region to its east. Encompassing cities such as Hiroshima, Miyajima and Okayama, it’s still quite a busy area of Japan for tourists. In saying that, there are some lovely hidden gems to be found if you know where to look!

TIP: Generally speaking, the best time to visit the Chugoku region for cherry blossoms is late March to early April.

Kintai Bridge, Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture

Best time to visit: Late March – Early April

Contributed by: Kenny, Knycx Journeying
Within the Chugoku region, the Sanyo region is an area in the south of Honshu covering cities like Hiroshima, Okayama, and Miyajima. The area could a little bit off the beaten track, but I had wonderful experience with the cherry blossoms during late March – from the historic Himeji Castle, iconic Korakuen Garden, to world-famous Itsukushima Shrine.

Everywhere I went, the scenic spots were filled with blooming sakura – and the best part was, many of the lesser-known destinations were less crowded than places like Kyoto or Tokyo!

I recommend spending at least half a day to go to the Kintaikyo (Bridge); the bridge is located in Iwakuni, a small city that’s about an hour away from Hiroshima by the JR. The bridge is a unique wooden arch bridge that was built in 1673, connecting the Iwakuni Castle with the outside world. The bridge consists of 5 arches that straddle across the Nishiki River.

Honestly, I didn’t expect the bridge to be so big that I was very impressed by the shape and the size of the architecture. It’s truly one-of-a-kind. The view of the bridge is even better framed by the blossoming cherries. There was a cherry festival on both sides of the bridge.

TIP: Check out the many food stalls and game booths, enjoy a bento box and have a picnic on the riverside, the beauty and tranquility of the surrounding will make your day!

Best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms: Kintai Bridge in late March

READ MORE: Meaningful & Fun Things to Do in Hiroshima to Add to Your Itinerary


The Kyushu region is the southernmost island of mainland Japan. It’s a very off-the-beaten-track destination, making it a wonderful place to visit to avoid the crowds!

TIP: Generally speaking, the best time to visit the Kyushu region for cherry blossoms is late March to early April.

Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture

Best time to visit: Late March – Early April

Contributed by: Candiss, Lost Not Found
Kumamoto Castle located in the city of Kumamoto on the southern island of Kyushu is a great place to take in the beautiful Sakura during their short season. The centrally located and impressive castle is a key landmark and attraction in Kumamoto.

While there has been damage to parts of the complex from the 2016 earthquake in this region you can still see the beautiful blossoms around the castle and enjoy a picnic in one of the nearby parks. There are many trees right at the castle itself, surrounding grounds, and the smaller near by parks.

TIP: If you plan to visit mid-day the crowd tends to be more visitors and young people enjoying the blossoms and young romance after school lets out. The older locals generally come to participate in Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in the evening after work and set up impressive picnic spreads in the typical fashion to enjoy each other’s company and the beautiful blossoms.


Where to stay in Kumamoto     

Read reviews and compare prices for all accommodation in Kumamoto here.


Other top spots to see cherry blossoms in Japan

When figuring out the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms, to ensure you catch them at some point during your trip it’s a great idea to spend at least 2 weeks in Japan. You may wish to add these wonderful locations to your itinerary depending on where you’ll be during the blooming periods:

When is the Best Time to Visit Japan for Cherry Blossoms | The Invisible Tourist

Tips for visiting Japan during the cherry blossom season

Now you know the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms, you’ll need some insider tips to avoid making mistakes during your planning and trip:

1. Book accommodation WELL in advance

As a few of my contributors have mentioned, the cherry blossom season in Japan is one of the busiest times of year for tourism, with both locals and international visitors flocking to see the clustered pink hues around the country. As I pointed out earlier, visitor numbers to Japan almost tripled in the short timeframe from 2013 to 2019 and likely to surpass these numbers in 2024.

Don’t expect it to be possible to leave booking your accommodation to the last minute or rock up hoping you’ll be able to find somewhere to stay – you’re sure to be disappointed if you’re turned away.

TIP: The earlier you can book, the better. Even 6-12 months in advance would be best to avoid missing out on your first choice of accommodation.

2. Be Invisible

There’s something about this wonderful natural phenomena that seemingly unites us all as a community – locals and tourists alike enjoying the same thing, together. After all, that’s what I believe is such an important part of travelling abroad and what being an invisible tourist is about!

Prepare an itinerary to ensure you can visit all the places you want (or use my 2 weeks in Japan and 3 weeks in Japan itineraries to get you started). Get chatting to locals, blend in where possible and…

3. Enjoy!

Be sure to stop for moment and take in the atmosphere surrounding you! It’s easy to get caught up in taking hundreds of photos and video footage to later share on social media that sometimes we forget to stop, take a breath and just be in the moment.

Be sure to avoid doing these things that are contributing to overtourism in Japan to have the most enjoyable trip.

Concluding the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms

Judging from these shots and stories from my fellow travel bloggers, the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms is from late March to mid April, although this can vary depending on environmental factors and the destinations you wish to see. I hope this round-up of locations helps you to determine when will be the best time for you to tailor your trip and enjoy this breathtaking bucket list experience! 

Need more inspiration for Japan? You can find my full Japan archive here, including videos and itineraries detailing how travelling The Invisible Tourist way at all destinations is the most efficient option to make use of your precious travel time.

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Until next time,

The Invisible Tourist

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When is the Best Time to Visit Japan for Cherry Blossoms | The Invisible Tourist

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Note: The times to visit are based on recommendations featured on www.japan-guide.com. Actual times may vary depending on environmental factors so be sure to take this into account when planning your visit. This guide to the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms contains affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase and if you do, thanks for your support! This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. As always, I only recommend a product or service that I genuinely love and use myself! 

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  1. Thanks for the advice! My sister is getting her teaching degree and is moving to Japan to teach English. Now I know the perfect time to visit her!

  2. Really helpful post. Visiting Japan whilst they have cherry blossoms is a bucket list item for me. As a photographer it would be a dream to capture some photographs during this time. Especially of Mount Fuji with the temple and blossoms in the foreground! Thanks for sharing and all the location suggestions too.

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Mike! So glad you found this helpful 🙂 I hope you get to check to cross this off your bucket list soon. It really would be a photographer’s dream come true!

  3. I live in Japan and can’t wait for cherry blossom season again this year! Thanks for this post. Making me very excited! I haven’t been to a lot of these places. So awesome!

    1. You’re making me jealous, Viola! Not long to go for you to experience this again, hopefully you’ll get to visit some of the places mentioned here 🙂

  4. Stunning photos! This looks like an amazing time to visit. I love your itinerary options and suggestions for visiting.

  5. I was in Japan once but it was early October so the completely wrong time to see cherry blossoms. 🙁 They’re so pretty so I know I’m going to have to get back again and now I know where to go. 🙂 Thanks.

    1. Ahh October would have been so lovely anyway, Melissa! All those autumn colours starting to show 🙂 I visited during August/September so it was super hot, I’d love to go back in some cooler weather!

  6. What beautiful photos! Like the cherry blossoms in DC, this is something I’ll have to enjoy from photos only – I pretty much avoid crowds at all costs and try to travel in the off season whenever possible!

    1. I am much the same as you for wanting to avoid crowds, Leigh! But I think on some occasions such as this, it would still be a very worthwhile experience 🙂 I’d rather pay the entrance fee into places like Shinjuku Gyoen as there are fewer crowds there!

  7. Super useful info. I know Japan is not cheap, so planning ahead for sure will help. I really want to see Japan during this amazing time. Love the photos. Absolutely spectacular.

    1. A lot of people say that Japan is not cheap (well, not in comparison to its south-east Asian neighbours) but I really believe the “expensive” reputation is undeserved! For me, the costs of things weren’t much different to what I’d pay back home (actually things such as food and clothing were much cheaper!) Thanks for your comment, Ana 🙂

  8. The cherry blossom is just divine! I would love to visit one day, I can imagine that the perfume of so much blossom is truly intoxicating! Thank you for sharing it with us

    1. They really are, Nicky! From what I have heard, the blossoms don’t actually have much of a fragrance (how unfortunate is that!). If they did, the air certainly would smell incredible!

  9. I would LOVE to see the cherry blossoms in Japan one day! I love finding them in Central Park and can only imagine how beautiful they are in Japan! Also, I clicked over to your post on how to be an invisible tourist and I LOVED it–all SO true 🙂

    1. They’re so intriguing aren’t they, Alex? It’s great you have them in Central Park at least 🙂 And thank you so much, glad you enjoyed it! ?

  10. Wow! Pictures are so gorgeous.. Japan was never on my bucket list. But now my mindset is different because I am gonna visit Japan soon for cherry blossoms.

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