Here is probably one of my most wanted article about Japan! The best spot to shoot during Cherry Blossom!

Cherry Blossom in Japan is usually between the last week of March and the first week of April in the main touristic places: Tokyo and Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara).

Full bloom only lasts few days and the weather is unpredictable and can spoil everything anytime with rain, wind and even late snow! I experienced it in April 2019!

Moreover, Cherry Blossom weeks are the most touristy period in Japan over the year. The main iconic spots are totally overcrowded. Then, if you want to enjoy them, you better have to wake up early or find good alternatives out of the regular tracks (I will show you some hidden gems in this article).

Accordingly to the cherry blossom schedule, I would advise you to start with Tokyo, then go to Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Himeiji, Nara), and end with Fuji region. The recommended time to visit Japan during Cherry Blossom is 15 days.

You can also check the forecast few weeks in advance on this website for example.

My top 10 is just an overview of what you can see in Japan during Cherry Blossom. There is much more to discover. In my selection, I have excluded public parks where we cannot see typical Japanese landmarks such as temples, castles and iconic landscapes.

Tokyo: Kitanomaru park

Full Bloom estimation time: last week of March 

Japan Tokyo Cherry Blossom

Kitanomaru park is right next to the Imperial Palace in Chiyoda in the center of Tokyo. 

This is probably one of the major sightseeing spot for Cherry Blossom in Tokyo. Then, if you are agoraphobic, this spot is definetely not for you. During “Hanami”, it is so overcrowded that the police is even regulating the flow of people walking along the bank.

If you arrive late in the evening to watch Cherry blossom with lights, which is also beautiful, you have also to get prepared to line up and be very patient. Then, if you want to shoot during golden hour or blue hour, it’s better to come during the afternoon and wait there until the sunset. 

There is also the option to rent a boat and watch the cherry blossom on the canal. The line is also huge so you probably need to go there early around 9 AM since opening is 10 AM.


Tokyo: Meguro River

Full Bloom estimation time: last week of March

Japan Cherry Blossom Loic Lagarde Meguro River

Meguro River is also a very interesting spot to capture Cherry Blossom in Tokyo. This is also one of the most crowded at night because of the lights. During the day it’s more calm but a bit less impressive.

I tried to catch the popular “heart” photo we can easily see everywhere on Instagram, but after two attempts, I fail. May be this is the photo I took but the heart is a little photoshopped afterwards? I’m not that sure yet! So I will try a third time once! 

Tokyo: Asakusa

Full Bloom estimation time: last week of March

Japan Cherry Blossom Loic Lagarde Taito Asakusa Sensoji

Sensoji Templke, the most famous temple in Tokyo is also a good spot to shoot Cherry Blossom with iconic Japanese landmarks. It is obviously a very touristy place so better go there early if you want to avoid the crowd. During the evening, there are less people and it’s beautiful with the lights.

Osaka: Osaka Castle and Park

Full Bloom estimation time: first week of April

Japan Cherry Blossom Loic Lagarde Osaka Castle

If you go to Osaka during Cherry Blossom, Osaka Castle is a must. There are cherry blossom all around the park, along the moat. 

There is a paid entrance park (200 Yen) also on the east side of the Castle which is popular for Hanami due to a high concentration of Cherry Blossom with lights at night.

Kyoto : Nineizaka

Full Bloom estimation time: first week of April

japan cherry blossom kyoto

This district in Kyoto is probably on of my famour spot to shoot in this city. You will find this little street with stairs between Kodai-ji and Kiyomizu-dera. As always, I strongly recommend to go there early otherwise it will be crowded.

Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera

Full Bloom estimation time: first week of April

Japan Cherry Blossom Loic Lagarde kiyomizu dera

There are a lot of Cherry Blossom trees in Kiyomizu-dera. They are nice to shoot during the day and also at night with the lights. However, they don’t all bloom at the same time so you won’t be able to get them all. 

Himeji: Himeji Castle

Full Bloom estimation time: first week of April

Himeiji Castle Japan spring 03

Himeji Castle is the most famous castle in Japan. Himeji Castle park is full of Cherry blossom trees. Then, there are a lot of opportunities to make nice photos with the castle and cherry blossom.

You can read more about Himeji Castle in a dedicated article I wrote about it by clicking here.

Regarding the photo I took, it’s just a but outside of the park. If you want to know more, just drop me a message 😉

Nara Prefecture: Tsubosaka Dera Temple

Full Bloom estimation time: first week of April

Japan Cherry Blossom Loic Lagarde Nara

Tsubosaka Dera Temple is my hidden gem to capture beautiful Cherry Blossom with temple and typical landmarks in Japan. And the good news is that this place is almost empty! very few tourist goes there!

The reason: Tsubosaka Dera Temple is out of the tracks and it’s difficult to go there. You need first to take a local train in Nara. Then when arrived at the train station, you need to take a bus with a very hard schedule to understand (not the same hours every day and depending on many factors). There are also very few buses to get there (like 2-3 per day) and the last one is already afternoon. The alternative is to take a taxi but it will be expensive!

Fuji: Lake Kawaguchiko

Full Bloom estimation time: mid April

Japan Cherry Blossom Loic Lagarde

The famous view of Mount Fuji with Cherry Blossom and the Lake Kawaguchiko! If you come to Japan for Cherry Blossom you will probably want to see that!

Catching Cherry Blossom around Mount Fuji is not that easy actually 🙂

First of all, Cherry Blossom around Fuji area is a bit later than in Tokyo and Osaka area. Usually, you need to wait about 10 to 15 days. If Cherry Blossom is on April 1st in Osaka, it will be around April 15th in Fuji. And it also depends on the weather condition. 

Then, the weather in spring is not always the best. It is often raining and overcast. Especially in Fuji area, because it’s mountain climate. Therefore, it is not so obvious to see the top of Mount Fuji. You have to be lucky.

If you want to make good photo of Mount Fuji framed with Cherry Blossom, you need to find the best location. Cherry trees in lake Kawaguchiko are mostly located on the north side of the lake.

Fuji: Chureito Pagoda

Full Bloom estimation time: mid April

Japan Cherry Blossom Loic Lagarde Chureito Pagoda

Do you want to make this photo with Chureito Pagoda, Mount Fuji, Cherry Blossom and also with the perfect light at golden hour just before sunset?

Chureito Pagoda with Mount Fuji and Cherry Blossom is probably one of the most iconic view of Japan!

If it happens you can make this photo, you will be very happy because it is also not very easy.

As I wrote above, Cherry Blossom in Fuji area is 2 weeks after Osaka and the weather is very unpredictable. Full bloom with a good weather is just a matter of 2-3 days then. If you have the chance to be in these 2-3 days, you won’t probably be the only one to have the same idea…

Then, after you manage to climb the stairs of the sancturay, you have to get ready to line up for one hour at least if you want to make the perfect shot at the perfect place and perfect time… If you come too late, you will miss it. I advise you to go there earlier in the afternoon then.


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