Best Cherry Blossom Festivals in Japan 2023
Japan’s cherry blossom festivals, or what we call “hanami,” is a quintessential celebration here that has been known around the world.
Held during the spring months — specifically from March to April, cherry blossom festivals attract millions of tourists, both locals and foreign, to commemorate the ancient tradition of adoring sakura and ume (plum blossoms). Cherry blossom festivals may happen in parks, gardens, temples, shrines, mountains, river banks, highways, canals, or wherever there is an abundance of cherry trees for people to enjoy.
Will there be a cherry blossom festival in 2023?
Yes, Japan will be celebrating cherry blossom festivals in 2023. Unlike in the previous 2 years when there were strict restrictions, tourists and locals will be able to have a picnic, roam around freely, and join the celebration in the 2023 cherry blossom festivals. Of course, there will still be restrictions but the public is urged to take precautionary measures to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19.
The 2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan is scheduled to take place from March 22 to April 26 per the 2023 sakura forecast. This schedule highly depends on location and forecast changes.
For the complete and most updated Japan sakura forecast 2023, check out the Japan Cherry Blossoms Forecast 2023!
Best of Japan’s Cherry Blossom Festivals 2023
Looking for the best cherry blossom festivals in Japan? Here are some picks you need to check out:
1. Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival (Tokyo)
For over 70 years, Ueno Park in Taito City has been one of the best hanami spots in Tokyo that locals and tourists have loved. It’s been around since the Kanei Period (1624-1644) now with over 1,000 cherry trees lining the park’s central pathway. Visitors of the Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival get to experience the Daikoku-mai and Kotobuki-jishi folk dances, the Aozora Antique Market, as well as a flower market. Ueno Park is also home to the Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, National Science Museum, and National Museum of Western Art as well as Ueno Zoo, the first zoological garden in Japan.
Opening hours: 5:00 am - 11:00 pm
Nearest station: Ueno Station
Location: Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo
2. Osaka Castle Park Cherry Blossom Festival (Osaka)
Osaka Castle holds an annual cherry blossom festival, and it’s one of the best cherry blossom spots in Osaka. Around 3,000 cherry trees decorate Nishinomaru Garden and illuminate them at night, giving park visitors a stunning night view of cherry blossoms with the castle in the background.
Admission: 200 JYP (~1.5 USD) (garden only)
Opening hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka
Nearest station: Osakajokoen Station (JR Osaka Loop Line)
3. Odawara Cherry Blossom Festival (Kanagawa)
Around 300 Somei-Yoshino cherry trees planted over 60 years ago can be seen at Odawara Castle Park. From the park grounds, you will see these cherry trees shine in broad daylight superimposing on the castle keep’s higher three stories. Although Odawara Castle is popular for the cherry blossom festival, it’s also home to a variety of beautiful flowers like plum blossoms, lotus blossoms, wisteria, azalea, iris, and hydrangea. Visitors may also enjoy the Ninja Museum and Samurai Museum.
Admission: 610 JYP (~4.7 USD)
Opening hours: 24 hours
Location: 6-1, Jonai, Odawara-shi, Kanagawa
Nearest station: Odawara Station
4. Hikone Castle Cherry Blossom Festival (Shiga)
Nearly 1,100 cherry trees bloom around Hikone Castle premises, making it one of the best cherry blossoms festivals in Japan. From the river to the clearing in front of the castle keep, Hikone Castle is a sight to behold in springtime. And at night, the castle grounds lit up, giving visitors an incredible view of the place.
Admission: 500 JYP (~4 USD)
Opening hours: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Location: 1-1, Konkicho, Hikone-shi, Shiga
Nearest station: Hikone Station
Also Read: Osaka Food Guide: Best Eats in Osaka, Japan
5. Goryokaku Cherry Blossom Festival (Hokkaido)
Goryokaku Park in Hakodate has one of the grandest cherry blossom festivals in Japan with nearly 30,000 wild cherry blossoms dotting the park’s unique star shape. In the sakura season, cherry trees at the parks of Nakasenbon, Shimosenbon, and Kamisenbon light up at night. You can climb up the observation tower for a fee to see the entirety of Goryokaku Park.
Admission: 900 JYP (~7 USD)
Opening hours: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Location: 44-3 Goryokaku-cho, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaido
Nearest station: Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station