Beautiful in bloom, beautifully blown by the wind. Seasonal flowers and cherry blossoms tell the tale of Japan.
In the mountains, parks, along riverfronts and city streets, in school yards …
From late march through the entire month of April, it’s the season of the cherry that tinges the Japanese islands in delicate shades of pink. The blossoms that signal the end of winter and the arrival of spring have more than a symbolic presence in Japan’s floral culture.
A long, long time ago, the cherry tree was revered as a “dwelling of the gods”; when in full bloom, people offered sake and food to its splendor in exchange for a good harvest. Some view and appreciate cherry blossoms and others party under the splendor of the blossoms feasting on boxed lunch and sipping down sake together with friends and family. There are various enjoys on hanami.
As recounted in ancient scriptures like the Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets, the cherry was already long ago a vital and indispensable element for welcoming spring, but up until the Nara Period (710 ~ ), the ume or plum was the mainstream of hanami and it wasn’t until the Heian Period (794) that focus switched from the plum to the cherry.
The custom of the nobility to banquet underneath blossoming cherry trees spread to the populace and, for the more than 1,000 years between then and now, the flowers and cherry blossoms of Japan have continued to enrapture the Japanese people.
In Japan today, the cherry blossom is synonymous with “o-hanami”.
Together with friends and family, people party under the splendor of the blossoms feasting on boxed lunch and sipping down sake. OR, you may see a lone soul drifts in and out of an afternoon nap under the spring sunlight seeping through the cherry blossoms. There are all kinds of scenes in Japan’s hanami.
Of course, Osaka is famous for cherry blossoms, too. When it is that time of year, more than just a few become so distracted from their work by the beauty that they seek every opportunity to escape into this idyllic world. Water metroplis that is Osaka, there are some great places to go hanamiing in style such as affront the contrast of cherry blossoms against the riverfront or on the grounds of Osaka Castle where the cherries seemingly bloom in salute to the magnificent keep. What do you say to checking out the cherry blossoms of Osaka in real style this spring?
There are flowers to enjoy from spring to early summer in Osaka.
Besides the cherry, there are plums, peaches, peonies, azaleas and many, many more flowers poetically woven into the Japanese psyche. Here are a few choice hanami spots in Osaka that are at their best between spring and early summer.
Osaka Castle Park
The park boasts some 4,300 trees with locations like Nishinomaru Garden and a great place for nighttime hanami of 600 trees around the tower of Osaka Castle brightly lit. It is literally a flower garden with a plum grove of 1,250 trees in 95 varieties, a peach grove of 200 trees in 12 varieties and 107 ha of land.
Park hours: Nishinomaru Gardens … 9:00 ~ 17:00
(For one week from late March to early April when cherries are in full bloom -open by 20:00)
Admission: Â¥200 (For one week from late March to early April when cherries are in full bloom -\350)
How to get there: 10 min on foot from Tanimachi 4 Chome Station on the Tanimachi or Chuo Subway Lines.
15 min on foot from Osakajo-Koen Station on the JR Line.
A “stroll through the cherry blossoms of the former mint” has been a regular Osaka event since the Meiji Period (1868 ~). The grounds are smothered in 370 trees of 120 varieties, including some rare species, and are open to the general public for just one week a year. A great way to pass some fun is at night when the blossoms are lit up.
Dates: April 12th to 18th
Time:10:00 ~ 21:00 (weekdays)
9:00 ~ 21:00 (Saturday and Sunday)
How to get there: 15 min on foot from Tenmabashi Station on the Tanimachi Subway Line or Keihan Main Line.
10 min on foot from Osaka-Tenmangu Station on the JR Line.
This riverside park stretches for 4.2 km down both banks of the O-kawa River that runs through the middle of Osaka. The promenade is lined with some 4,700 cherry trees that create a wondrous landscape in which cherry pink covers even the water’s surface.
Dates: 1 week from late March to early April when cherries are in full bloom
How to get there: 5 min on foot from Tenmabashi Station on the Tanimachi Subway Line or Keihan Main Line.
5 min on foot from Osakajo-Kitazume Station or Sakuranomiya Station on the JR Line.
Nagai Botanical Garden
This vast botanical garden is located in the southeast corner of Nagai Park. It is a natural paradise where many wild birds gather. The pond at the center of the gardens features a fountain and more than 1,000 species of flowers, herb bushes and trees that bloom at one point of the year or another.
Admission: Adult – Â¥200
How to get there: 10 min on foot from Nagai Station on the Midosuji Subway Line.
12 min on foot from Nagai Station on the JR Hanwa Line.
Sakuya Konohana Kan (Tsurumiryokuchi Park)
This botanical museum was formerly a pavilion at the International Garden and Greenery Expo, Osaka 1990, and today houses some 15,000 plants of 2,600 species. The exhibition space is divided into 8 zones with greenhouses and temperature-controlled rooms for plants of various climates such as the tropics and dry lands.
Admission: Park – Free / Observation Deck – Â¥200
How to get there: 10 min on foot from Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Station on the Nagahori Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Subway Line.