Osaka is 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…
When is cherry blossom season in Osaka in 2021?
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 checking out the cherry blossoms is high on your agenda, the best time to visit Osaka is around the first week of April. Although the official 2021 forecast isn’t yet out, the flowers usually start blossoming during the last week of March. Full bloom hits in the first few weeks of April.
To increase your chances of catching the trees in full bloom, check the official Japanese cherry blossom forecast.
Where to see cherry blossoms in Osaka & the top hanami spots
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 the sensation for yourself, visit these must-see hanami destinations…
Osaka Castle Park
To some, Osaka Castle isn’t much more than a tourist trap. During sakura viewing season, however, it’s one of the must-see places in Osaka. The lawn of Osaka Castle is 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. It’s located in the western citadel of the castle grounds. Nishinomaru Park offers an amazing view of cherry trees with the castle as a backdrop.
Keep in mind that Osaka Castle and Nishinomaru Park is also one of the most crowded spots for hanami. Prepare to battle with the crowds here.
Kema Sakuranomiya Park
Next to the Osaka River, Kema Sakuranomiya Park is one of the top destinations in Osaka for cherry blossom viewing. The park is home to its over 5,000 cherry trees. Kema Sakuranomiya Park is carefully laid out and is 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, take an Osaka River cruise. 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 its 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.
Tired of the crowded parks in the city? Spend part of the day in Daisen Park. The park is just 30 minutes from Osaka. Daisen Park contains over 400 cherry trees spread across a spacious landscape. The park comprises a tea house, a museum, a water park, and a Japanese garden.
Daisen Park spans over 26,000 square metres. The ponds and gardens are designed and maintained with traditional Japanese gardening techniques. The result is a beautiful, tranquil greenspace that whisks you across a gentle stream and through a landscape of seasonal plants.
Daisen Park is also one of the most popular Osaka autumn destinations.
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. More than 100 different varieties of cherry trees call the park home. 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 Japanese coins and medals are made.
Osaka Castle isn’t the only ancient castle in the region. Kishiwada Castle is about 25 minutes from the centre of Osaka. It’s conveniently located near the airport. You can easily make this the last destination of your sakura viewing tour.
Like Osaka Castle, the castle has undergone renovations over the years. It’s maintained much of 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 in sakura season
The top hanami spots are spread all around the city. No single area stands out as the clear-cut winner for the best area to stay in Osaka during cherry blossom season. You’d do well, though, to stick to central areas like Namba or Umeda to get the most out of your stay.
- Red Roof Inn & Suites Osaka Namba Nipponbashi is 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 is a cool mid-range hotel located a block from 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 is 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. They offer stunning city views through their large picture windows. Push your stay to its fullest by spending some time unwinding at the indoor pool or on-site spa.