The ephemeral cherry blossom season is fast approaching. The pink petals brighten urban and rural landscapes across Japan for a mere week or two, at most. During the famous "Sakura Matsuri" or cherry blossom festivals, locals and visitors dot the green grass under the vibrant, pastel-colored trees with picnics to celebrate the sacred and beautiful time before the leaves fall. Here are the best places to enjoy cherry blossom season in Osaka.
With over 4,000 cherry blossom trees planted on the grounds of Osaka Castle, this is one of the best places to enjoy the season in Osaka. Scurry up the hillside to the castle early in the day to find a spot to picnic beneath the trees. Head to Nishinomaru Park on the western side of the castle. The park boasts expansive lawns and breathtaking views of the castle tower. The Castle is particularly beautiful in the evening, when delicate lights illuminate the blossoms against the backdrop of the mighty castle.
For one week in the middle of April, the Osaka Mint
opens its doors free of charge to the public to share the beauty of the more than 300 cherry blossom trees that line its garden. The path of trees beckons and delights with over 100 varieties of Japan’s most famous tree. The Mint Museum is fascinating in its own rite and is open year-round. A visit to the Museum is another way to see the scenic garden outside of the select week in April.
Given the festive culture of picnicking under cherry blossoms, parks are often the best place to go to see the petals. Kema Sakuranomiya Park has cherry blossoms in its name for good reason; almost 5,000 cherry line the Okawa River within the Park. Not only are the views some of the best in all of Osaka while the cherry blossoms are in bloom, but the walk on a nice spring day is wonderful, too. If beating – or fighting – the crowds isn’t appealing, another spectacular way to enjoy the blossoms is on a river cruise.
The Osaka Expo Park, the site of the 1970 World Exhibition in Osaka, is now a public park with over 5,000 cherry trees, as well. Hanging lanterns light the park at night, creating a beautiful, pink-tinted scene in the evening.
Finally, the Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park is a famous location for flowers. The quaint, charming Park exudes peacefulness. There are hundreds of cherry trees in the park; it’s a favorite picnic spot during cherry blossom season among locals.