There are an overwhelming number of breathtaking cherry blossom spots in Japan, and it can be hard to decide where to visit first!
In 2018, the Japanese arm of TripAdvisor has looked at all comments registered in Japanese and created a one-of-a-kind ranking: the top 100 cherry blossom spots in Japan!
Spring’s soft, warm wind isn’t only known to lift both mood and spirits but also awakens Japan’s cherry trees from their winter slumber, dying their branches in colors ranging from vivid to pale pink. This famous phenomenon starts in late March in the Kanto area and Japan’s west, Tohoku follows in early April, and Hokkaido gets clad in blossoms in late April.
Gradually, a veil of filigree, beautiful, and almost enigmatic blossoms covers the entire country.
There are numerous breathtaking spots to enjoy during this time. Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture is a famous example, where the cherry blossoms provide a wonderful contrast with chalk-white castle towers – incidentally, this scenery takes #1 in TripAdvisor’s ranking. It is followed by Chidorigafuchi on #2 and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden on #3, both in Tokyo.
While we cannot go over all 100 spots, we’ll take a look at some of our favorites so that you can make the most out of Japan’s most beautiful, magical time of the year.
About the Ranking
TripAdvisor created their top 100 cherry blossom ranking by looking at 33 of Japan’s prefectures. In regard to which prefecture has the most spots featured on the list, Kyoto takes first place with 19 spots, followed by Tokyo with 17 spots. Parks and gardens were chosen the most, while a lot of historic sites such as temples, shrines, and castles are plentifully represented as well.
A lot of the top ranks boast the charm of a stark contrast between the flowers and the background, such as the aforementioned Himeji Castle. Cherry blossoms and bridges or cherry blossoms and airplanes have also proven to be popular! The ranking has proven that it is not so much about the number of trees, but rather about the unique beauty of the spot.
About the Evaluation
The top 100 was put together based on Japanese reviews registered on TripAdvisor, posted in the span of 2 years (from March 2016 to February 2018). From these reviews, keywords such as sakura (cherry blossom) or hanami (cherry blossom viewing), alongside comment rating, comment numbers, frequency, and more were used to create a unique algorithm.
Himeji Castle (Hyogo Prefecture) - Ranked #1 in 2018 among best cherry blossom spots in Japan!
Himeji Castle is a world heritage site, representative of Japan’s early Edo period. It boasts about 1,000 individual trees, including somei yoshino (Yoshino Cherry) and shidare-zakura (Weeping Cherry) blooming all around the castle. This makes for a breathtakingly beautiful scenery, with the chalk-white castle in the background.
“The pink flowers and the white castle look so beautiful,” and “There were so many cherry blossoms and the white castle looks stunning in contrast to the flowers. I could look at it forever” are some of the comments.
Kintai Bridge (Yamaguchi Prefecture) - Ranked #13 in 2018 for best cherry blossom spots in Japan!
The Kintai Bridge is a historical wooden arch bridge that is made up of five parts. Numerous trees blossom along the banks of the river that the bridge spans, with a lot of trees being of the somei yoshino variety.
“Of course, the season doesn’t matter much, but the cherry blossom scenery during spring is something that I will never forget,” “Needless to say, this is a famous place of Yamaguchi Prefecture’s beautiful cherry blossoms. The bridge before the blossoming trees is a scenery so beautiful, words fail me” are only some of the comments praising this spot.
Sakuranoyama Park (Chiba Prefecture) - Ranked #14 in 2018 for best places to see cherry blossoms in Japan!
Chiba’s Sakuranoyama Park offers a scenery like no other; the combination of filigree cherry blossoms and planes flying by. The lush, green garden is home to about 350 trees, including somei yoshino and yamazakura (Wild Cherry).
“Even if you’re not an airplane enthusiast, having both a plane and cherry blossoms on a picture is simply amazing,” “There are many international flights, so you’ll see planes with all kinds of flags. In spring, the scenery of blossoms and springs is fantastic,” are two comment examples.
Miho Museum (Shiga Prefecture) - Ranked #49 in 2018 for top cherry blossom places in Japan!
Miho Museum is home to ancient art from both Japan and all around the world. The approach to the museum is a large, stunning tunnel – in front of it stands a row of shidare-zakura and during spring, they dye the tunnel’s interior in soft pink.
“We visited in mid-April. The road is lined with Weeping Cherry trees that were full of flowers. Seen from the tunnel, the scenery looks like a painting,” “The cherry blossoms visible from the other side of the tunnel look somewhat mysterious,” reviewers praise this spot.
TripAdvisor’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan (2018)
#1 Himeji Castle (Hyogo)
#2 Chidorigafuchi (Tokyo)
#3 Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (Tokyo)
#4 Tō-ji Temple (Kyoto)
#5 Shukugawa Park (Hyogo)
#6 Kenroku-en (Ishikawa)
#7 Miharu Takizakura (Fukushima)
#8 Ninna-ji Temple (Kyoto)
#9 Hitome Senbonzakura (Miyagi)
#10 Gongendo Tsutsumi (Saitama)
#11 Hase-dera Temple (Nara)
#12 Yoshimine-dera Temple (Kyoto)
#13 Kintai Bridge (Yamaguchi)
#14 Sakuranoyama Park (Chiba)
#15 Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto)
#16 Hirosaki Park (Aomori)
#17 Arakurayama Sengen Park (Yamanashi)
#18 Matsuyama Castle (Ehime)
#19 Mount Yoshino (Nara)
#20 Matsumoto Castle (Nagano)
#21 Ritsurin Garden (Kagawa)
#22 Yamasaki River (Aichi)
#23 Taizō-in Temple (Kyoto)
#24 Itsukushima (Hiroshima)
#25 Mii-dera Temple (Shiga)
#26 Takato Castle Park (Nagano)
#27 Aono River Cherry Blossoms (Shizuoka)
#28 Yodo Riverside Park Sewaritei District (Kyoto)
#29 Showa Memorial Park (Tokyo)
#30 Hikone Castle (Shiga)
#31 Kyoto Gyoen National Garden (Kyoto)
#32 Sanzen-in (Kyoto)
#33 Jindai Cherry Blossoms at Jisso-ji Temple (Yamanashi)
#34 Matsumae Park (Hokkaido)
#35 Haradanien (Kyoto)
#36 Goryōkaku (Hokkaido)
#37 Expo Commemoration Park (Osaka)
#38 Kobe Ōji Zoo (Hyogo)
#39 Kaizu Osaki (Shiga)
#40 Tenryu-ji Temple (Kyoto)
#41 Fushimi Inari-taisha (Kyoto)
#42 Kōdai-ji Temple (Kyoto)
#43 Senkoji Park (Hiroshima)
#44 Kuon-ji Temple (Yamanashi)
#45 Takeda Castle (Hyogo)
#46 Izumo-taisha (Shimane)
#47 Kinuta Park (Tokyo)
#48 Takarazuka Hana no Michi (Hyogo)
#49 Miho Museum (Shiga)
#50 Sankei-en (Kanagawa)
Check #51 to #100 via this link (Japanese):
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
11 Naito-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
2, Kudanminami, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
JR Narita Station
Keisei Narita Station
Hours: Daily 6:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Satte Station (Tobu Nikko Line)
Showa Memorial Park
3173, Midoricho, Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo
1-1, Kinutakouen, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
58-1, Honmokusannotani, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa