Japan is famed for its cherry blossom trees, and spring is arguably the best season to visit the country. No matter which region you visit, there will be spots recommended for cherry blossom viewing.
In Osaka, no visit during spring will be complete without basking under the beauty and shade of the cherry blossom trees popular during the season. What makes Osaka particularly enchanting compared to other places in Japan is its proximity to different bodies of water. Parks are located next to rivers, ponds and lakes, and locals and visitors are treated with the enchanting sights of lakes and rivers enveloped by pink and white cherry blossom trees.
If you think it’ll be peculiar to spend a day just looking at cherry blossom, you cannot be more wrong. The Japanese has a tradition called hanami that encourages people to spend time during spring to enjoy and marvel in the beauty of the cherry blossoms.
Before visiting, know when and where to visit to witness the cherry trees in full bloom. This Osaka cherry blossom festival guide will show you the best spots for cherry blossom viewing and how the Japanese spring festival is best enjoyed.
What is Hanami?
Directly translated as “flower viewing”, hanami (花見) is the Japanese tradition of welcoming spring by observing and basking in the beauty of the seasonal flowers that blossom during this season, particularly cherry blossoms and plum trees. Often referred to as the Japanese cherry blossom festival, hanami is the celebration of the temporal beauty of nature.
Spring season is a reminder that not all things are permanent, and some of the most beautiful things don’t last forever. Hanami celebrates the poetic beauty of the non-permanence of spring flowers.
The Japanese celebrate hanami by gathering under the shade of cherry blossom trees from morning till night. They enjoy the festival with food, drinks, music, and the natural beauty of the spring flowers. The chosen drinks are sake and tea, which can also be blended with organically grown sakura. The drinks are best accompanied by seasonal food such as the Japanese sweets wagashi. Complete the hanami ritual by using tea ware decorated with patterns of beautiful spring flowers.
Osaka’s Cherry Blossom Forecast for 2019
There’s no fixed date for the cherry blossom festival every year since it depends on when the cherry blossoms will bloom, but it can happen anytime from late March to early May. Since the trees can bloom at different times due to varying weather and climate conditions, cherry blossom forecasts can also vary depending on the locations.
According to the forecast of Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC), it’s estimated that the cherry blossoms in Osaka will start blossoming on March 25 and reach full bloom on April 2 and last till April 10.
Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Osaka
Before making your trip to Osaka, find out the best places to celebrate hanami. Some spots may be the most popular ones, but you can look for one that’s not too crowded and can make your cherry blossom festival experience more fulfilling.
Here are 11 spots in Osaka perfect for viewing cherry blossoms.
1. Osaka Castle Grounds
The Osaka Castle is worth a visit no matter what season, but it transforms into a cherry blossom paradise come spring. With 4,000 cherry blossom trees scattered throughout the castle ground, it’s the most popular hanami spot in Osaka.
Climbing up one of the outer tower walls will reward visitors a stunning view of the Osaka Castle. The Nishinomura Park is the perfect place for cherry blossom viewing, and it can get crowded during the season. For quieter picnics, check out the spots just right outside the castle also dotted with cherry blossom trees.
2. Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park
There around 50 little gardens created by different nations that can be found inside Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park, and this is just one of its charming points. There are hundreds of cherry blossom trees planted outside the recreation center, offering a great place for a good picnic and a good view of the spring flowers.
3. Kema Sakuranomiya Park
With 5,000 cherry blossom trees lining up the Okawa River, the Kema Sakuranomiya Park is a favorite location for the spring festival. For a few kilometers, the trees provide an illusion of never-ending columns of cherry blossoms. Either walk along the riverside promenade or sprawl under the cherry blossom trees, there are numerous ways to experience Hanami at Kema Sakuranomiya Park.
4. Daisen Park
Daisen Park is a popular hanami spot due to its proximity to a body of water. The Dada pond inside Daisen Park is memorizing during spring, when it’s devoured by spring flowers in full bloom, making its surrounding turn pink. There around 400 Oshima and Yoshino cherry trees planted in the park. Be sure to visit when the trees are in full bloom. Tea houses are also found inside the park, perfect for those looking to have tea outside with a good view of nature.
5. Nagai Park
With its 65.7 hectares, Nagai Park is a popular spot among the locals during hanami season. The park offers three large stadiums including the Nagai Stadium, a botanical garden, and a baseball field. The park is lined with hundreds of cherry blossom trees, making it a favorite hanami spot in the Nagai area. There’s also a Natural History Museum for those who’s looking for a more cultural experience.
6. Minami-Temma Park
Another park beside the Ogawa River is the Minami-Temma Park. The park’s cherry blossom promenade is a favorite hanami spot for those in Northern Osaka, with riverside lined with the famed spring trees. It’s also a good place to visit at night as the cherry blossom trees are lit up. Biking along the length of the public urban park will lead you to the Japan Mint Bureau, also a good location for hanami.
7. Osaka Mint Bureau
Every year, the Japan Mint Bureau opens its gardens to visitors. There are around 350 cherry blossom trees of 134 varieties planted in the garden, and tourists and locals from all over Japan flock the bureau for the opportunity to visit the garden. While it can get crowded during the season, it’s still worth a visit just to see the different varieties. There’s also the Mint Museum that’s open to the public all year round.
8. Expo 70 Commemorative Park
Once used as the place for the World Expo of 1970, the Expo 70 Commemorative Park is one of the more well-known parks in Osaka and a popular cherry blossom viewing spot during spring. The area was converted into a park after the world expo, and 5,000 cherry blossom trees can now be found around the park. There are various spring festival celebrations and activities held every year near the recreation center.
9. Satsukiyama Park
Situated at the foot of Mt. Satsuki, Satsukiyama Park is a favorite among the locals due to the seasonal trees and spring blossoms. Aside from cherry blossoms, there are azalea and autumn trees dotting the park. It’s a perfect hiking spot during the spring season due to the seven climbing trails, lined with cherry blossom trees from the entrance of the trails up to the mountain summit.
10. Kishiwada Castle
Though it’s technically outside Osaka, the Kishiwada Castle is just 25 minutes away from Osaka Central. It’s home to the famed Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri, and there are about 130 trees surrounding it. Remains of the original castle can still be found here, and there’s a stone gate that serves to represent the castle’s fortification.
11. Shirokita Park
Located in Osaka’s Yodogawa riverbed, Shirotika Park opened to the public in 1934 and has been offering delight and beauty every year since. It’s popular no matter the season due to the seasonal flowers found in the park. It boasts of beautiful cherry blossoms in spring, water lilies in summer, and bright chrysanthemums in autumn.
Osaka is a great place to visit in any season. But during spring, it transforms into a picturesque pink beauty, with its riverside and lakeside parks being enveloped by different kinds of spring flowers.
Armed with your picnic mats, hot packs, flasks of tea, and a basket of the best seasonal food, fully enjoy the beauty of cherry blossoms with this Osaka hanami guide.