Osaka is a surprisingly good place to check out Japan’s famous cherry blossoms. The trees are beautiful and the locals are always up for a party. Here are the best spots and average blooming dates.
Osaka Castle with cherry blossoms © mssdotnet
When Is Cherry Blossom Season In Osaka?
The cherries usually bloom in Osaka in the last week of March and the first week of April. Thus, you have to be pretty lucky to catch them during a short trip to Japan.
Average Opening and Full Bloom Dates in Osaka
In an average year, the cherry blossoms start blooming on 21 March in Osaka. Then, they hit full bloom (known as “mankai” in Japanese) on 1 April in Osaka. About a week after that, most of the blossoms have fallen off the trees.
Cherries Blossoms Are Unpredictable
The above dates are only averages! Depending upon that year’s weather, the cherries can open a week earlier or later and hit full bloom any time in late March or early April. So it’s REALLY hard to plan a trip around the cherry blossoms. If you really want to see the blossoms in full bloom, you’d have to book a room in Osaka from 20 March to 10 April, and who has the money or time to do that?
Best Places to See the Cherry Blossoms in Osaka
- Osaka Castle Park: The park around the castle is filled with cherry trees and they make for some excellent photos with the castle in the background. Some of the trees are illuminated during cherry blossom season.
- Osaka Mint: A short walk from Tenmabashi Station on the Keihan Line, the Osaka Mint (Osaka Zoheikyoku) is Osaka’s most popular cherry blossom spot. Opening dates vary from year to year, but they tend to be in early to mid-April, since the garden of the mint contains many yaezakura trees, which bloom late and keep their leaves later than other varieties.
- Ryokuchi-koen Park: In Northern Osaka, near Ryokuchikoen Station on the Midusuji subway line, this spacious park has some lovely trees and is a good place for a hanami party. This park contains the excellent Open-Air Museum of Japanese Farmhouses, which makes a great addition to cherry blossom viewing.
- Banpaku Memorial Park: In Northern Osaka, this excellent park has some lovely cherry trees. You’ll find the great National Museum of Ethnology in the park, and the huge shopping/entertainment/dining complex of Expo City just across the tracks, so this can easily be a full-day trip out of central Osaka.
Cherries Vary From Year to Year
In some years, the cherries in Osaka all start to open about the same time and then all seem to hit full bloom about the same time. In other years, there’s huge variation between trees, even in the same neighborhood. Needless to say, it’s glorious when the cherries are all in synch, but this is far from guaranteed.
Booking Accommodation During Cherry Blossom Season
Cherry blossom season is the peak tourist season in Japan and both Japanese and foreign tourists like to visit Osaka during this time. Hotels can be fully booked during this season, so book as far in advance as possible, and expect to pay higher rates. Check Agoda.com and Booking.com for available hotel rooms in Osaka or Kyoto.
Blossoms Are a Bonus
To tell the truth, it’s hard to catch the cherry blossoms at their peak during a short trip to Japan. If you plan a short stay in Osaka hoping to see the cherries at full bloom, you’re more than likely to be disappointed. Thus, I recommend that you consider the cherry blossoms to be a bonus. If you see them at their best, consider yourself lucky, but don’t make them the focus of your trip. Make Japan the focus of your trip and you won’t be disappointed.
Visiting Kyoto, too?
There are some spectacular places to see the cherry blossoms in Kyoto too - see my Kyoto Cherry Blossom Viewing guide for full details about the best places to see the cherries in Kyoto and where to stay too.
Where Are These Places Located?See these places on the Inside Osaka Google map:
- Open the Osaka map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels / Ryokan / Guesthouses | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | GREEN: Shops | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Osaka Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Osaka guide
- Check Osaka accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Osaka
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Osaka's Kansai International Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- View my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare flight prices and timings to find the best Japan flight deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, you might save money with a Japan Rail Pass – see if it's worth it for you
- Get a prepaid Icoca card to make travelling around Osaka easy – here's how
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world