No flower has a greater place in the hearts of the Japanese than the cherry blossom. Popularly known as sakura it has a prime place in Japanese culture over centuries. March and April are historically the best times to see the most cherry blossoms around Japan. Gardens abound with many varieties of flowering cherry trees and are usually filled with Japanese families enjoying a picnic under falling petals. The Japanese indulge in festivities during this time with hanami parties or cherry blossom viewing under the blooming trees. Hanami is one of the most popular events of Spring. Crowds of people – families, groups of friends, and groups from companies sit under the fully open cherryblossoms, usually on plastic tarps, and have a picnic celebration. The picnic fare consists of a wide variety of foods, snack foods, and sake (rice wine) or other drinks. The activities often include dancing and karaoke in addition to the cherry blossom viewing. The falling petals are known as ˜sakura fubuki˜, which literally translates into cherry blossom snowfall. The trees resemble the shape of clouds from a distance. Cherry blossom viewing from a close distance is an exquisite experience.
For an overview of Osaka’s cherry season take a boat trip down the blossom-lined river, or head to the grounds of the imposing Osaka castle where the Nishinomaru Garden’s hundreds of cherry trees attract enormous numbers of people for picnics and frivolous fun.
Famous Spots for cherry blossom viewing in Osaka:
Osaka Castle: Located in Osaka-jo Chuo-ku, the spot offers a beautiful sight of a variety of cherries. The place is accessible from Subway Tanimachi line Tenmangu-bashi Station. The large park surrounding Osaka Castle was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1583.
The park’s 4,300 cherry blossom trees are illuminated at night for one week during the beginning of April, creating elegant surroundings for Osaka Castle. Cherry blossoms against the backdrop of a castle, temple or shrine make for a picturesque scene.
• Expo Memorial Park: Located in Suita-city in Osaka, expo memorial park offers opportunities for cherry blossom viewing between late March and early April. It is easily accessible from Osaka Monorail Banpaku kinen koen Station.
• Osaka Mint Bureau: Located in Tenman Kita-ku in Osaka, cherry blossom viewing in Osaka Mint Bureau is an amazing experience.The best time for cherry blossom viewing in Osaka Mint Bureau is around mid-April. The destination can be accessed easily from Subway Tenman-bashi Station / JR Osaka Tenmangu Station. The Mint bureau blossoms are so famous that the adage “zoheikyoku sakura no torinuke”, which means “viewing the cherry blossoms while strolling through the Mint Bureau gardens are popular with the people of Osaka.
Kema Sakuranomiya Park :Nearly 5000 cherry trees line Okawa River for several kilometers. The seemingly endless rows of cherry trees can be viewed from a pleasant riverside promenade or from ships cruising the river. There are also lawn areas with a lot of space for picnics.