Enjoy Cherry Blossoms in Osaka! Vol.1 ~ Osaka ~

Osaka is the second most popular city after Tokyo for tourists. You can see beautiful cherry blossom trees every year along the rivers of Okawa and Yodo River that flows through the center of the city. In addition, many of the popular sightseeing locations are also hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spots, so you can enjoy cherry blossom viewing & sightseeing at the same time!

Popular Hanami Spot Ranking – Osaka

1. Osaka Castle Park (Osaka City) https://osakacastlepark.jp/

■ Highlights: This is a popular tourist attraction in Osaka and is also famous as a hanami (cherry blossom viewing) location. Collaboration of about 300 cherry blossoms (mostly Somei Yoshino variety) and 1200 plum blossoms is stunningly beautiful. When the trees are illuminated at night between late March to mid-April, you can enjoy a mystical scenery of pink cherry blossoms and cherry blossoms floating in the dark of night.

Opening hours: 9:30am ~ 5:30pm

■ Typical Blooming Season: late March to early April

Access: https://goo.gl/maps/4uspwumaHxK2

■ How to avoid the crowds: During the cherry blossom season, the park is packed with people day and night and is also popular with tourists, so prepare yourself for massive crowds. It is relatively less crowded on weekday mornings. A shopping complex Jo-Terrace Osaka recently opened in front of the station, so why don’t you stop by for lunch or dinner after cherry-blossom viewing.

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■ Osaka Castle Museum: https://www.osakacastle.net/

The Osaka Castle Museum with various exhibits and services, including one that allows you to try on a samurai armor, is very popular with tourists. You can also enjoy sightseeing along with the cherry blossoms, as you get a great view of the Osaka cityscape from the Main Tower. There are many places in the castle grounds where you can get in touch with Japanese culture such as its tea room and gardens.

2. Osaka Mint Bureau – Cherry Blossom Viewing (Kita Ward, Osaka City)

■ Highlights: About 130 types of cherry trees are planted in the walkthrough path in the premises of Osaka Prefecture’s Mint Bureau. You can see rare cherry blossoms varieties here, such as Ootemari and Kodemari. You can get a dream-like experience of walking through a cherry blossom tunnel at night as the trees are illuminated in the evenings. Since there are no parking in or around the Mint Bureau, it will be much easier to get dropped off by your charter vehicle near the location then picked up afterwards.

Opening hours: 10:00am-9:00pm

■ Typical Blooming Season: Late March to early April

Access: https://goo.gl/maps/CzriSx5nR8w

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■ Mint Museum: https://www.mint.go.jp/enjoy/plant/plant-osaka/plant_visit_museum_h.html

A museum where you can learn about the history of Japanese mints, such as modern Japanese coin mint machines and the old Japanese currency. You can also see items such as Olympic medals, foreign currency and commemorative coins. The admission is free and there are guides at the museum, so it’s well worth a visit after checking out the cherry blossoms!

3. Shitennoji Temple (Tennoji Ward, Osaka City) http://www.shitennoji.or.jp/

■ Highlights: A historic temple built as the first temple of the Japanese Buddha Law. About 50 cherry trees surrounding the pond are planted in Honbou garden also called the Gokuraku-Jodo Garden, and you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the garden and cherry blossoms. (Admission fee applicable for the garden) Since it is along the Hanshin Expressway, the access is much smoother if you use a charter vehicle.

Opening Hours:

8:30am ~ 4:30pm (April – September)

8:30am ~ 4:00pm (October – March)

The hours are subject to change due to special events.

■ Typical Blooming Season: Late March to early April

Access: https://goo.gl/maps/EgBKoi4LF912

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■ Tennoji Zoo: http://www.city.osaka.lg.jp/contents/wdu170/tennojizoo/

At Tennoji Zoo, you can see large animals such as polar bears, giraffes, tigers, as well as cute animals like koalas and raccoons. It is an attraction that you can enjoy with family and couples. It is less busy during weekdays so you will be able to explore in a more leisurely manner.

Business hours: 9:30am ~ 5:00pm

9:30am ~ 6:00pm (Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays in May and September)

Last entry one hour before closing time.

Closed: Mondays (If Monday is a national holiday, the following day is closed), New Year Period (December 29 – January 1)

■ Midosuji

The main street in Osaka with streets lined with ginkgo trees that create a somewhat sophisticated impression. Although this is a business district, there are many restaurants and shops. It is also close to central Osaka such as Umeda and Namba districts, so why not go cherry blossom viewing in between your shopping excursions.

4. Kema Sakuranomiya Park (Kita Ward, Osaka City): https://osaka-info.jp/page/kema-sakuranomiya-park

■ Highlights: This park is located along the riverbank of Okawa River between Kema Araizeki to Temmabashi Bridge. There are about 4,800 cherry trees planted along the river, and you can explore the promenade surrounded while being surrounded by cherry blossoms. There are many varieties of cherry blossoms here such as Yamazakura and Satozakura in addition to Somei Yoshino, so it will be fun to look for them as you stroll by. Many visitors come here for the cherry blossoms during the season.

■ Typical Blooming Season: Late March to early April

Access: https://goo.gl/maps/US5pEsyaaLT2

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■ Osaka Tenmangu Shrine: https://www.osakatemmangu.or.jp/

This is a shrine with rich history and it is said to give its blessings for academic success. In the precincts there are buildings that embody Japanese culture such as Baikaden, Sanshuden, Kaguraden. Since it is located near the other hanami sites such as Kema Sakuranomiya Park and the Osaka Mint Bureau, you should pay a visit while you’re close by to see the cherry blossoms.

5. Expo’70 Commemorative Park (Suita City)

■ Highlights: It is a tourist attraction on the site of Japan World Exposition held in 1970.

Approximately 5,500 cherry trees are planted on the vast site and you can find 8 varieties of cherry blossoms in addition to Somei Yoshino cherry. The sight of the cherry blossoms against the backdrop of the famous Tower of the Sun is magnificent. In addition to cherry blossoms, you can enjoy other seasonal plants and activities. As traffic will be busy during cherry blossom season, it will be easier if you get dropped off by your charter vehicle nearby then get picked up on the way home.

Opening Hours: 9:30am ~ 5:00pm

Closed: Wednesdays

Access: https://goo.gl/maps/3L3w9u9PYqT2

■ Typical Blooming Season: Late March to early April

■ How to avoid the crowds: Try weekday mornings.

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■ Japanese Garden: https://www.expo70-park.jp/facility/japanese-garden/

Located in Expo Park, this is a garden created by putting together the best in Japanese landscaping technology. In a large 26 hectares of land, this garden represents landscaping techniques from four periods in Japanese history. Around a pond in the center, you can see sceneries that symbolize Japan such as waterfalls, bamboo groves and dry landscape garden.

■ Tower of the Sun: https://taiyounotou-expo70.jp/

Tower of the sun, a work of the artist Taro Okamoto, continues to be loved as a symbol of the Expo.

There is a museum inside the tower where you can also view the monument “Tree of Life”. (Museum access is via reservation only)

Avoid the crowds! Osaka’s Secret Hanami Spot

1. Minami Temma Park (Osaka City)

There are rows of cherry blossoms along Okawa River, and you can see the cherry blossom as you stroll along. The sight of cherry blossoms reflected in the river is beautiful and the petals blowing in the wind is also memorable. There will be food stalls during the season, so why not enjoy some street food too?

■ Why is it less crowded?

Since the cherry blossom crowds flock to Osaka Castle Park nearby, this location tends to be less congested in comparison. There is no parking in the vicinity, so you may want to enjoy the view from the car.

■ Access: https://goo.gl/maps/do9hCZiHts32

2. Kozu Shrine (Osaka City)

There is a park adjacent to the shrine, so there are plenty of room for you to enjoy cherry blossom viewing. The sight of the cherry blossom trees that continues all the way up to the shrine is spectacular. The location becomes illuminated in the evening, letting you appreciate the flowers at night.

■ Why is it less crowded?

Since this is a quiet residential area of ​​Chuo Ward, Osaka City, most of the visitors are locals and few tourists. It is in a location where it is easier for you to visit by car.

■ Access: https://goo.gl/maps/j21A3YphYFp

Tips and tricks to avoid the crowd

■ View from top of buildings or observation decks

You can see the cityscape with cherry blossoms from Osaka Castle’s Main Tower and Umeda Sky Building’s Kuchu Teien Observatory (https://www.kuchu-teien.com/). Although it is not up close, it will be a memorable sight that you can only experience during cherry blossom season.

■ View from the car

In Osaka where a big river flows through the center of the city, notable cherry blossom viewing spots are by the banks of the river. You can see amazing views of the cherry blossom trees by driving along the river. You can always stop the car to take pictures or get a closer view, which takes the stress out of worrying about the crowds!