Spring Fever: The Best Spots for Cherry Blossoms in Osaka and Nara

Written by: Carla De Guzman/Thursday, Mar 03, 2016 12:28 PM

Springtime is arguably the best time one could ever decide to go to Japan. Aside from their famous Golden Week, where they celebrate several consecutive holidays (Showa Day, Constitutional Memorial Day, Greenery Day and Children’s Day), hanami season is a wonderful week to spend in Japan when all the gorgeous sakura blossoms are in full bloom. This week is so important to the Japanese that there is an official forecast of where the blooms will be, and when they are expected to reach their maximum blossom. 

If you were planning to join in on the cherry blossom madness, make sure you check out our brief but handy guide to the best hanami spots and the best tourist spots in the Kansai region! 

(Cherry blossoms are expected to bloom in Osaka from March 26 to April 3, and Kyoto from March 25 to April 3

OSAKA

If you wanted to go around Japan without the hassles of trying to decipher the Tokyo MRT system, Osaka is a nice choice. It doesn’t lack metropolitan life, but also offers a lot of unique places that are much more calm than its capital sister. 

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Kema Sakuranomiya Park 

With almost 5,000 cherry trees lining the park, you can’t go wrong by visiting this place. The park is actually a passage inside the Japan Mint that stretches from their North to South Gate. With the Yodo River alongside, visitors get fantastic views of different varieties of cherry blossom trees, with food stalls lining the street!

Osaka Castle

Another popular destination for cherry blossoms, but Osaka Castle is a great place to visit any time of the year. One of Japan’s most famous landmarks, this 16th century castle was is a fun place to visit, teemed with history and Japanese pride. Make sure you get photos dressed up as samurai inside!

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Shinsaibashi

Once you’ve had your fill of the cherry blossoms, make your way to Shinsaibashi, a fantastic shopping street in Osaka. Have your fill of stationery goodies at Tokyu Hands, pick up a great new pair of shoes at bargain price in ABC Mart, eat some cheesecake at Pablo’s or grab some pasalubong from the biggest Don Quijote store along the canal!

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Dotonbori Canal 

You know you’ve reached the Dotonbori Canal at the end of Shinsaibashi when you see the giant Glico Man congratulating you on reaching the end of the shopping street. If you were still hungry, there’s a 24/7 ramen place called Ichiran Ramen where you can only eat by yourself, and the famous Dotonbori okonomiyaki just before it. Make sure you take a walk along the side streets at night—the lights are magical!

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NARA

A quick hop, skip and a train ride away from Osaka is Nara! Famous all year for their wandering deer (please don’t feed them, they can get a bit violent!) and Todaiji Temple, expect this city to be full of people celebrating the cherry blossom season.  

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Mount Yoshino

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, then true cherry blossom viewers will be your companions on the journey up Mount Yoshino. With 30,000 trees lining the mountain, there’s a good reason why this is the ultimate Hanami spot. 

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Nara Park 

If you wanted to meet the deer, then just tell your taxi driver to take you to Nara Park from the train station. The area has about 1,700 trees of various kinds. The park actually surrounds Todaiji Temple, and we’re sure that there are great food stalls and treats along the way. 

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Todaiji Temple and Nandaimon Gate

Famous for its Big Buddha Hall (Buddha is so big that one hand is as tall as an average human), we’re more interested in the lovely old wooden building that houses him. The building is completely made of wood, and is only part of the original temple’s size. 

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There’s a small complex near the place where your driver will drop you off that features one of our favorite things about Nara—the pudding. Look for the cute little jars of pudding in the shop (it’s full name is Mahoroba Daibutsu Puddinghonpo) and hoard as you wish. 
 

Coming home to the Philippines this March? Check out our Top Destinations in the Country and fall in love with the Philippines all over again!
About Carla De Guzman
Carla de Guzman is the author of self-published books Cities, Marry Me Charlotte B! and We Go Together. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family by day. By night, she’s writer and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk. Follow her on Instagram (@somemidnights) for more!
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