5 Lesser Known Places to See Sakuras Without the Crowds
These tranquil parks and gardens offer stunning views of pink cherry blossoms (sakura) without the crowds.
The cherry blossom (sakura) season is approaching in Japan, attracting millions of people from around the world every year. After all, nobody does it like Japan — the Land of the Rising Sun turns pink as soon as the season kicks in, with a range of activities to look out for, including hanami (cherry blossom) festivals, cherry blossoms and seasonal menus.
This year, with travel returning stronger than ever, it’s best to avoid the crowds, especially during this beautiful but busy time of year.
Luckily, Japan offers many places to see these famous flowers, with some areas being relatively quieter than others. If you’d rather enjoy these blooms without the crowds, here are some lesser-known spots to check out.
- Riviere Kawazu, Shizuoka
Kawazu cherry blossoms in full bloom
If you want to enjoy early flowering in March, head to Kawazu on the coast of Shizuoka Prefecture’s Izu Peninsula. This quaint town celebrates the blossoming of the kawazu cherry trees as early as February.
Take a stroll along the Kawazu River and admire the seemingly endless rows of beautifully pink cherry trees.
- Lac Toya, Niseko
Sobestu Park is known for the observation deck that offers a great view of Mount Youtei and the plum grove.
Want to catch one last glimpse of cherry blossom season? Continue north to Lake Toya in Niseko, Hokkaido. This lake in Shikotsu Toya National Park is surrounded by Yoshino cherry trees, which bloom from early to mid-May.
At Shikotsu Toya National Park’s Silo Observation Deck, you’ll have a breathtaking view of the lake beautifully lined with cherry blossoms.
- Parc d’Hirosaki, Hirosaki
Blue skies and majestic mountains, bright cherry blossoms… The spring scenery of Hirosaki Park makes you feel like you are in a dream world.
This park near Hirosaki Castle is home to more than 2,500 cherry trees that bloom from late April to early May. Japan’s oldest cherry tree, planted in 1882, also stands here.
Walk along the Western Moat, also known as the Sakura Tunnel, and discover sakura trees on either side of the path, as well as a pink sakura carpet made up of fallen flowers, giving the impression of walking in a cherry blossom paradise .
- Park Nogawa, Tokyo
Escape the busy city and immerse yourself in nature at Nogawa Park, 30 minutes from Shinjuku. Here, over 500 cherry blossom trees bloom alongside yellow nanohana (canola blossoms), resulting in a beautiful mix of pink and yellow petals.
In Tokyo, sakura flowers bloom in late March, so head there in early April to see the blooms in all their glory.
- Jardin Shirotori, Nagoya
Skip the sights of Nagoya and head to the Shirotori Garden to admire the cherry blossoms at leisure. Located away from the city, this garden features a variety of flowers ranging from shidarezakura (cherry trees) to mountain cherries, which bloom from late March to early April.
Also try the kimono photo service, where you can pose among the flowers in the garden while donning a traditional Japanese kimono.