Osaka may be known as sprawling port city with towering skyscrapers, but it’s also got a much softer side as one of the top cherry blossom destinations in Japan. During the spring season, Osaka will dazzle your senses with its breathtaking pink & white cherry blossoms.
Not how to plan your spring visit to Japan’s second city? Learn when & where to find the best cherry blossoms in Osaka with this complete guide to the top sakura viewing spots…
Table of Contents
- Spring in Osaka: When is cherry blossom season in 2020?
- Where to see cherry blossoms in Osaka: Top spots for hanami
- Where to stay in Osaka: The best hotels for sakura season
Spring in Osaka: When is cherry blossom season in 2020?
Part of the excitement surrounding cherry blossom viewing in Osaka is the short span of time that the bloom lasts. You’ve only got about a week or two to take everything in before the flowers fall.
If you’re checking out the cherry blossoms is high on your agenda, the best time to visit Osaka is usually around the first week of April. Although the official 2020 forecast isn’t yet out, the flowers usually start blossoming during the last week of March with full bloom hitting around April 4th-5th.
Of course, if you want to increase your chances of catching the trees in full bloom, you should check the official Japanese cherry blossom forecast.
Where to see cherry blossoms in Osaka: Top spots for hanami
Osaka is one of the top cities in Japan for cherry blossom viewing. While most people stop at Osaka Castle Park, you’ll find plenty more places to check them out.
It’s hard not to be in a good mood when strolling below the branches of cherry trees in full bloom. If you want to enjoy this sensation for yourself, make sure that you visit a few of these must-see hanami destinations…
Osaka Castle Park
To some, Osaka Castle is not much more than a tourist trap. During sakura viewing season, however, it’s most definitely one of the must-see places in Osaka.
The lawn of the castle is absolutely covered in cherry trees. In fact, there are over 4,000 of them throughout the area.
If you decide to visit Osaka Castle, stop at the Nishinomaru Park in the western citadel of the castle grounds. It offers an amazing view of cherry trees with the castle as a backdrop. Keep in mind, this is also one of the most crowded spots for hanami.
Kema Sakuranomiya Park
Right next to the Osaka River, Kema Sakuranomiya Park is often considered one of the top destinations in Osaka for cherry blossom viewing thanks to its over 5,000 cherry trees. The park is carefully laid out and a favourite local spot for jogging and cycling. On the weekends during the sakura season, it’s perpetually jammed.
Kema Sakuranomiya Park also offers the perfect spot to sit, eat, and view the trees. If you want to see them from a different perspective, you can take an Osaka River cruise and stare at the blooming trees as you float down the river.
Hattori Ryokuchi Park
Located in northern Osaka, Hattori Ryokuchi Park offers a wide selection of plant life to gaze at. Along with cherry trees, the park includes a bamboo forest and an arboretum.
The park is mostly known for its open-air museum, which includes old farmhouses. You can view cherry trees while imagining how people in the region lived nearly a thousand years ago. The park, museum, and arboretum are well-maintained by a dedicated staff. It’s a surprisingly popular getaway for locals—not just tourists.
Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park
If you want to enjoy a picnic near a sea of cherry trees in full blossom, Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park is your destination. This large park houses hundreds of trees with pale pink flowers that come alive in spring.
While cherry trees are the main attraction, Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park contains a number of other plants and flowers. The park doubles as a botanical garden that offers gorgeous foliage year-round. It also has a tulip farm with an old-fashioned windmill that offers a picture-perfect backdrop.
Expo 70 Commemorative Park
Expo 70 Commemorative Park was the site of the World Exhibition in Osaka in 1980. After the exhibition, it became a park and is now home to over 5,000 trees. The trees are carefully arranged along wide paved paths and various garden areas. The park covers over 260,000 square meters and includes a collection of national gardens from around the world.
Expo 70 Commemorative Park is also a great place for viewing cherry blossoms in the evening. The Expo 70 Commemorative Park illuminates the trees each night, creating a truly memorable experience.
If you get tired of the crowded parks in the city, consider spending part of the day in Daisen Park. It’s just 30 minutes from Osaka. The park contains over 400 cherry trees spread across a spacious park containing a tea house, a museum, a water park, and a Japanese garden.
Daisen Park spans over 26,000 square meters. Most of the ponds and gardens within the park are designed and maintained using traditional Japanese gardening techniques. The result is a beautiful, tranquil greenspace that takes you across a gentle stream and through a landscape of seasonal plants.
Osaka Mint Bureau
If you arrive in Osaka too late to catch the cherry trees in full bloom throughout Osaka, you may still have one more chance. The Osaka Mint Bureau has a garden with over 300 trees from more than 100 different varieties of cherry trees. Most of these trees are late bloomers.
Instead of the first week of April, the Osaka Mint Bureau opens its gates in the middle of April. While you’re there, you can also take a tour of the Mint Museum and see how coins and medals are made.
Osaka Castle isn’t the only ancient castle in the region. Kishiwada Castle, about 25 minutes from the centre of Osaka, is conveniently located near the airport, so you can easily make this the last destination of your sakura viewing tour.
Like Osaka Castle, the castle has undergone renovations over the years to help maintain its original architecture. Kishiwada Castle was first erected in 1597 and features a moat and hundreds of cherry trees. The main reason to visit is to avoid the crowds at Osaka Castle.
While Kishiwada Castle is smaller, it’s also a far more laid-back destination.
Where to stay in Osaka: The best hotels for sakura season
With hanami spots spread all around the city, there’s no single place that stands out as the clear-cut winner for the best area to stay in Osaka during cherry blossom season.
As usual, I’d recommend sticking by the most central areas of the city, particularly Namba or Umeda, to get the most out of your stay. Here are a few ideas:
- Red Roof Inn & Suites Osaka Namba Nipponbashi: A stylish & hip new hotel featuring all the modern fixings. The location just a few minutes from the heart of Namba and the exciting Dotonbori area is perfect.
- Cross Hotel Osaka: A cool mid-range hotel located just a block from the chaos of Dotonbori and the boutiques of Shinsaibashi. The bright and comfortable rooms throw in extras like deep soaker tubs and washlet toilet for an extra luxurious stay.
- Swissôtel Nankai Osaka: An incredible 5-star luxury hotel conveniently attached to Namba Station. Less than 10 minutes by foot will get you to Dotonbori, the centre of the action in Osaka’s food & entertainment scene. The rooms here are big & colourful and offer crazy city views through their large picture windows. Push your stay to its fullest by spending some time unwinding at the indoor pool or in the on-site spa.