Enjoy Cherry Blossoms in a city surrounded by sea and nature – Fukuoka

There are many scenic cherry-blossom viewing spots in Fukuoka, the largest city in Kyushu. These hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spots are often in locations like parks and castle ruins, where you can be close to nature and history. In addition, there are many places where you can enjoy the cherry blossoms alongside rich nature, like the seaside and mountaintops. We recommend that you hire a charter vehicle so you can go on a tour of various cherry blossom viewing spots in the city!

Fukuoka’s popular hanami spot ranking

1. Nishi Park (Chuo Ward, Fukuoka City) https://www.nishikouen.jp/

■ Highlights: If you’re going see cherry blossoms in Fukuoka, this place is a must! You can see about 1,300 cherry trees of many varieties up close, from Somei Yoshino to Yamazakura. You can see Hakata Bay from the observation square in the park and if the weather is good, you can also see the remote islands of Nokonoshima and Shikajima. Since you are not allowed to enter the park with your car during the cherry blossom season, it is advisable that you get picked up and dropped off by your charter vehicle outside.

■ Typical Blooming Season: Late March to early April

Access : https://goo.gl/maps/3uypyekqeEM2

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■ Fukuoka City Fish Market Center http://www.city.fukuoka.lg.jp/nousui/p422.html

Although this is a market related building, there is an observatory on the top floor with a nice view of Hakata Bay and Fukuoka Tower. There are also some restaurants and sushi shops, so you can enjoy fresh seafood at reasonable prices. The exhibition space introduces fish that can be caught in Japan and details about fish markets. Why don’t you stop by for a late breakfast or lunch?

Business hours: 10:00am ~ 4:00pm

Closed: Sundays & Public Holidays

2. Maizuru Park (Chuo Ward, Fukuoka City) https://www.midorimachi.jp/maiduru/

■ Highlights: Located about 10 minutes by car from Fukuoka city, this tourist attraction is also famous as the ruins of Fukuoka Castle. In spring, about 1,000 cherry trees of 19 varieties bloom around the castle’s stone wall. You can also see the rare Jugatsuzakura species, which continues to bloom from autumn to spring. During the Fukuoka Castle Cherry Blossom Festival, stalls will open up and the park will be lit up at night. It is crowded with many cherry blossom viewers every year.

■ Typical Blooming Season: late March to early April

Access : https://goo.gl/maps/uaz6LiKvfHJ2

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■ Fukuoka Castle Ruins Visitor Center http://fukuokajyo.com/

Located within Maizuru Park, this is a museum where you can learn about the history of Fukuoka Castle. In addition to old maps and miniturized models, you can also watch virtual videos of what Fukuoka Castle looked like. The admission is free and also has an information center and a place to sit and have a break. Why not stop by before or after the cherry-blossom viewing?

Opening hours: 9:00am-5:00pm

3. Shiouji Forest Road · Iwaya Castle Ruins (Dazaifu City) http://www.city.dazaifu.lg.jp/

■ Highlights: This location is in the mountains about an hour drive from Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, a tourist attraction in Fukuoka. Around 300 cherry trees create a beautiful cherry blossom tunnel during the season. From the summit, you will have a great view of the cherry blossoms growing along the forest road and Fukuoka city. You should pay a visit before or after stopping at Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine.

■ Typical Blooming Season: late March to early April

Access: https://goo.gl/maps/Tm8sPkjEvoz

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■ Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine http://www.dazaifutenmangu.or.jp/

This shrine is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Fukuoka, bustling with many tourists throughout the year. It is shrine dedicated to god of academic success and protection against evil, and many worshippers congregate from all over Japan. If you are preparing for exams, tests or trying to find employment, why don’t you come and pray for good luck? The colorful amulets sold here are also popular as a souvenir to commemorate the visit. In the shops on the approaching path of Dazaifu, you can get the famous “Umegaemochi (Plum Branch Rice Cake)” and other snacks. You should have a good time snacking while exploring the shops to find souvenirs.

4. Katsuyama Park (Kokura, Kitakyushu City) https://katsuyama-park.com/park/park-98/

■ Highlights: Since this large park by the sea is some distance away from Fukuoka city area, we recommend you hire a charter vehicle for the day. In this park, approximately 300 cherry blossoms will be in bloom around Kokura Castle and you can enjoy a distinctly Japanese scenery. As most of the visitors are locals and it is relatively less crowded than other areas, this location is recommended for families and groups.

■ Typical Blooming Season: late March to early April

Access: https://goo.gl/maps/MNutyTmca7E2

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■ Kokura Castle Garden http://www.kcjg.jp/

This garden is located near Kokura Castle, and is a cultural facility that recreates the samurai school in the Edo era of Japan and the garden of Daimyo. With a tea ceremony room and exhibition building, you can get in touch with the everyday life culture and hospitality, based on the uniquely Japanese “Ogasawara style manners”. You can enjoy green tea and Japanese style sweets in the tea room with tables and chairs. On weekends and public holidays, you can experience Japanese tea ceremony where you can observe the matcha green tea being served in a formal setting.

Opening hours: April to October 9:00am-6:00pm, November to March 9:00am-5:00pm (※ Admission allowed till 30 minutes before closing)

Tea room opening hours: 10:00am ~ 4:00pm (※For weekends and public holidays, please check the opening hours prior to the visit.)

5. Senbonzakura at Hyugagami Dam (Yame city)

■ Highlights: This location is at Hyuga Gorge in Yame City, and about 1,000 cherry trees were planted around Lake Hyugagami that was built during dam construction. The landscape here is unique and some features like Amano Iwato (heavenly rock cave) and Kehogi Iwa (kicking rock cave) that surround the lake have a story in Japanese ancient mythology. Kehogi Bridge is popular among the tourists, as you can see naturally formed heart shaped rock from the bridge. Since the location is some distance away from the city of Fukuoka, it is a good idea to hire a charter vehicle so you can go on a leisurely drive.

 Access: https://goo.gl/maps/7BLJexH5NGn

■ Typical Blooming Season: late March to early April

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■ Somanosato Stream Park http://www.yabemura.com/somanosato/index.html

Surrounded by unspoiled nature, you can go on a leisurely stroll or just relax. In the park, there are mountain streams, small waterfalls and shops, and the large suspension bridge at an altitude of 640 meters along the walking path is an impressive sight. From April to October, you can enjoy pottery classes and activities such as mountain stream fishing.

Opening hours: 10:00am-5:00pm

The other hanami! Let’s also enjoy the purple wisteria tunnel!

Kawachi Wisteria Garden (Yahatahigashi Ward, Kitakyushu City)

■ Highlights: CNN in the United States selected Kawachi Wisteria Garden as one of “31 most beautiful places in Japan”, and many tourists from home and abroad come to visit this garden. The highlight is most definitely the wisteria flowers that bloom around late April to early May. Twenty-two kinds of wisteria flowers bloom during the season, creating an amazingly beautiful gradation of purple. The wisteria tunnels of 80 meters and 110 meters in length is truly a masterpiece. Here you can experience a truly Japanese beauty quite different to the cherry blossoms. In Autumn, you can also enjoy splendid shade of the autumn leaves. Since the full bloom period (late April to early May) overlaps with Japan’s long holiday period, it is necessary to reserve your tickets in advance to avoid congestion. Since it is far from the city of Fukuoka, you might want to hire a charter vehicle and go on a relaxing trip with your family, group or partners.

Opening hours (Wisteria season) (mid-April to mid-May) 8:00am ~ 6:00pm

Opening hours (Autumn leaves season) (mid-November to early December) 9:00am-5:00pm

Access: https://goo.gl/maps/EfZGgmVVast

■ Typical Blooming Season: late April – early May

Avoid the crowds! Fukuoka’s Secret Hanami Spot

1. Muromigawa Riverside (Sawara Ward, Fukuoka City)

Along the Muromigawa River, there is about an 1 kilometer long row of cherry blossom trees with a lovely promenade that you can walk along. Local people often use this path for walking or jogging and is relatively less crowded. With Mount Iimori in the background, the cherry blossoms petals blowing in the wind creates a serene atmosphere.

■ Typical Blooming Season: late March to early April

■ Why is it less crowded?

Although this location is popular with cherry blossom visitors during the season, it is comparatively vacant compared to other places. Since the promenade is wide and the row of cherry blossoms go on for some distance, people will not converge in one place. Also, it will be refreshing to drive along the road beside the cherry blossoms in your charter vehicle.

■ Access: https://goo.gl/maps/RrmJoWMKCtx

2. Washio Atago Shrine: (Nishi Ward, Fukuoka City) http://atagojinjya.com/

Located on top of a hill, Washio Atago Shrine has the longest history and tradition in Fukuoka. It has also become increasingly known as a tourist attraction with good spiritual energy in recent years. Since you get a great view of the whole city from the summit, it is also popular as a scenic spot. There are big cherry trees near the torii gates at the entrance, and you can see the enchanting view of the torii gates and the cherry blossoms when they are illuminated up at night.

■ Typical Blooming Season: late March to mid-April

■ Why is it less crowded?

Although this is a famous tourist destination, few people visit just to see the cherry blossoms so you can take a better look at the cherry blossoms compared to more popular locations. Also, because it is in an inconvenient place if you are using public transport, we recommend you hire one of our charter vehicles and pay a visit during your sightseeing tour.

■ Access: https://goo.gl/maps/r65VvRATisS2

Tips and Tricks on avoiding the crowds

■ Enjoy the view from the summit or observation deck

In Fukuoka, there is an observation deck in the places where you can come close to nature, such as mountain tops and parks. The observation decks near cherry-blossom viewing spots allow you to see the beautiful scenery of cherry blossoms and the cityscape. In addition to the location being relatively less crowded, you can enjoy a different kind of beauty to the cherry blossoms that you see up close. You can also get a great view from the castle towers.

■ Go early in the morning

Since most of Fukuoka’s famous hanami spots are conveniently open 24 hours a day like parks, you can visit any time you like. If you want to avoid crowds, you will encounter fewer people if you go in the morning, and you will be able to relax and take your time enjoying the cherry-blossoms. Why not buy a sandwich or lunch box on the day before, so you can have them for breakfast while enjoying the cherry blossoms?