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The most popular places in Japan for viewing sakura in 2024, according to local travel agency – SoraNews24 -Japan News-

by Staff

Here are the most popular picks for cherry blossom-viewing in both eastern and western Japan, based on bookings.

With the latest cherry blossom forecast in Japan predicting slightly later blossoming times than initially predicted, travelers in Japan are gearing up for travels to see the best and most beautiful sakura across the country–whether by means of personal travel or professional flower-viewing tours. Japanese travel agency Club Tourism is one such entity that is currently offering no fewer than 124 specialized travel tours with “sakura” in the title on its website. That may already seem like a lot, but the agency further revealed that reservations for these tours are up 152.9 percent this year compared to last year.

So what are the most in-demand sakura sightseeing spots across Japan? Club Tourism revealed its list of locations with the highest number of tour reservations scheduled to depart between March 1 and May 10, the period during which sakura typically reach their peak in most places of the country. The list is also broken into two regions, eastern and western Japan, in case you’d like to try to hit up multiple locations during the same trip.

Eastern Japan Rankings

The timeframe denoted in parentheses refers to when the sakura at that location are typically in bloom.

10. Yamataka Jindaizakura, Yamanashi Prefecture (early April through late April)
9. Mishima Taisha, Shizuoka Prefecture (late March through early April)
8. Arakurayama Sengen Park, Yamanashi Prefecture (early April through mid-April)
7. Oigawa Railway, Shizuoka Prefecture (late March through early April)
6. Kuonji, Yamanashi Prefecture (early April through mid-April)
5. Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture (late March through late April)
4. Hirosaki Park, Aomori Prefecture (late April through early May)
3. Miharu Takizakura, Fukushima Prefecture (mid-April through late April)

▼ Miharu Takizakura, Fukushima Prefecture

This weeping cherry tree in Miharu, Fukushima is over 1,000 years old and is designated one of the Three Giant Cherry Trees of Japan. The “taki” in its name refers to a waterfall, as its boughs and branches spread out and appear to overflow with rivulets of blossoms.

2. Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture (late April through early May)

▼ Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture

Kakunodate is a town in northern Akita, nicknamed “Michinoku’s Little Kyoto” (Michinoku is the name given to the north-eastern Tohoku region) due to its wealth of preserved historical structures. In particular, a road of former samurai residences with 400 weeping cherry trees (162 of which are designated as Natural Monuments of Japan) lining either side the street is one of the most famous sakura spots in all of the region. The sakura trees flanking the nearby Hinokinai River are another spectacular sight to behold.

1. Takato Joshi Park, Nagano Prefecture (early April through mid-April)

▼ Takato Joshi Park, Nagano Prefecture

Image © SoraNews24

Sometimes dubbed the best place to view cherry blossoms in the whole country, Takato Joshi Park in Nagano is the site of the former Takato Castle. Today, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the Japanese Alps between the endless pink blossoms. Local officials estimated that approximately 110,000 people visited the park last year during cherry blossom season after pandemic eating and drinking restrictions were finally lifted.

Western Japan Rankings

The timeframe denoted in parentheses refers to when the sakura at that location are typically in bloom.

10. Takeda Castle Ruins, Hyogo Prefecture (early April through mid-April)
9. Kumamoto Castle, Kumamoto Prefecture (late March through early April)
8. Lake Biwa, Shiga Prefecture (early April through mid-April)
7. Nabana no Sato Flower Garden, Mie Prefecture (late March through mid-April)
6. Sagano Romantic Train, Kyoto Prefecture (late March through early April)
5. Daigozakura, Okayama Prefecture (early April through mid-April)
4. Mount Koya, Wakayama Prefecture (mid-April through late April)
3. Itsukushima Jinja, Hiroshima Prefecture (late March through early April)

▼ Itsukushima Jinja, Hiroshima Prefecture

  

One of Japan’s most iconic images is the vermillion red torii gate of UNESCO World Heritage Site Itsukushima Shrine rising out of the water in Hiroshima. If you stand on the shrine complex’s western area hill by the two-storied Tahoto Pagoda in the spring, you can look down on the blossoms of 1,900 cherry trees of all different varieties overlooking the torii. Now is also the perfect time for a visit since the famous gate is fully visible again for the first time in 3.5 years after undergoing restoration work.

2. Himeji Castle, Hyogo Prefecture (late March through early April)

▼ Himeji Castle, Hyogo Prefecture

Himeji, often nicknamed “White Egret Castle” for its graceful design, is Japan’s largest and most visited castle. If possible, it’s an even more elegant sight indeed when seen rising above a sea of cherry blossoms. Also easily accessible for travelers in western Japan, Himeji Station in Hyogo is only a 30-minute bullet train ride from Shin-Osaka Station.

1. Mount Yoshino, Nara Prefecture (early April through late April)

▼ Mount Yoshino, Nara Prefecture

Often regarded as Japan’s most famous sakura-viewing spot, Mount Yoshino in Nara boasts 30,000 sakura trees divided into four areas at different elevations that bloom at slightly different times over a three-week span. As a sign of its popularity, Club Tourism revealed that sakura tours on Mount Yoshino received over twice as many bookings as tours at the second-place finisher Himeji Castle. It’s said that 1,300 years ago, locals began donating the sakura saplings to Kinpusenji Temple, an important temple located on the mountain dedicated to the syncretic mountain worship religion Shugendo.

On a final note, if you’ll be in the Tokyo area over the next month and prefer to enjoy the sakura locally, you may be interested in reserving a sakura taxi tour instead.

Source: PR Times 
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: PR Times, Pakutaso (1, 2)
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