As Japan’s kitchen, Osaka makes a perfect place for a hanami picnic. With spring in the air, here are the best spots to enjoy cherry blossoms in Osaka.
According to the 2023 cherry blossom forecast, the blossoms in Osaka are expected to appear around March 23 and to reach full bloom by April 1. As always, be sure to check the latest updates on the forecast, as it can change depending on the weather.
Tip: If you’re arriving a little later in April, be sure to visit the Japan Mint, which has free entry once a year for hanami and is largely late-blooming.
Osaka may not be as famously picturesque as its neighbor, Kyoto, when it comes to cherry blossom displays. However, don’t underestimate the power of pink petals to transform even the most urban of places. The gardens and parks of Osaka provide the most popular spots and, as a livelier city, you’ll find more blue tarps than you ever thought possible (plus plenty of beer to go with them).
If you’re heading to Tokyo, we have blossom spots for the capital, too.
Osaka Castle is the perfect place to start both your sightseeing and hanami adventures. The castle grounds are filled with over 3,000 cherry trees, meaning there’s plenty of spac to get the perfect shot.
In the west section, Nishinomaru Garden has super spots for a picnic. This is where lawns stretch beneath the trees (other areas have hard ground). Entry for the garden is ¥200, however; other areas are free.
There will be food trucks this year. Look for them around the Morinomiya entrance plaza (southeast corner) and at the southern entrance of the castle complex. The castle and Nishinomaru Garden are both illuminated at night during cherry blossom season.
Daisen Park¥200 for the Japanese Garden
If you’re looking to escape the city for a day, we suggest you head out to Daisen Park, a luscious 35-hectare park with a large Japanese garden. It has 400 cherry trees and plenty of space to enjoy them. There are a few varieties, including mountain cherry and Oshima, but all the flowers together create an impressive scene, especially near Dada Pond.
The gardens have a tea house and other sights to explore, including Sakai Museum and a flower and water park. Note that the gardens are closed on Mondays.
Kema Sakuranomiya ParkFree
Located on the river terrace between Kema Araizeki and Temmabashi Bridge, Sakuranomiya Park is a beautiful stretch. Almost 5,000 cherry trees line the edges of the Okawa River — a sight that will take your breath away. Locals and travelers alike stroll through the park while admiring the river bank from across the water. During the blossoming, you’ll find food stalls and hanami picnics galore creating a festival atmosphere.
This park is very close to the Japan Mint, so you can combine the two.
Japan Mint BureauFree
The Mint garden is usually closed to the public, but for one week during cherry blossom season, they open their gates, allowing visitors to admire some rare and unusual varieties of blossoms. Note that this event requires online registration in advance.
Among the 350 trees are an impressive 134 different varieties, and the Mint is an especially good spot for late-blooming trees, like yaezakura. There is a tunnel effect, and it is one of the most picturesque spots in the city, with lanterns and evening illuminations.
Surprisingly, entry is completely free — although if you were planning on visiting the Mint Museum, it is closed for the duration of the garden opening. No hanami picnics are allowed here, but you can head to nearby Kema Sakuranomiya Park.
Expo ’70 Commemorative Park¥260
Suita (north Osaka)
Also known as Bampaku Kinen Kōen, this park was originally designed to host the 1970 World Exhibition. Famed for its seasonal flower displays and open spaces, the park has over 5,000 cherry trees spread across 260,000 square meters, mostly along paths and in the southeast section. While it’s a popular spot, there is certainly enough space for it to not feel too crowded.
As part of the park’s annual cherry blossom festival, held this year from March 17 to April 9, two teahouses in the Japanese Garden normally off-limits to the public will be open on weekends. One of them will be selling matcha and sweet sets. There will be evening illuminations from March 31 to April 9 (from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.)
Within the park, which is 30 minutes from central Osaka, you’ll also find street performers, a Japanese landscape garden, artwork left over from the Expo, and two cultural museums to explore.
Kishiwada (south Osaka)
Home to the famous Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri, this castle was originally built in 1334 and has over 130 blossoming trees surrounding it. The gardens include remains of the original castle (the current one was rebuilt in 1954 after many fires/disasters/battles) and a stone garden designed to represent the fortification.
Although the castle is around 25 minutes from Osaka central, it’s actually on the way to the airport, so you could make it your first or last stop off in the city.
This year, the castle will have extended hours and evening illuminations April 1–2 and 7–9 until 8:30 p.m.
Hattori Ryokuchi ParkFree
Toyonaka (north Osaka)
A large hilly park in northern Osaka, this park is well known for its open-air farmhouse museum and recreational pools, as well as its cherry blossoms. For a more spacious blossom experience with some additional entertainment on the side, this can make for a great afternoon out in Osaka.
The park has over 10 ponds, a bamboo forest, an arboretum with over 700 species of camellia, and sports facilities, too. The museum is a great chance to see the gassho-zukuri houses of Shirakawagō if you haven’t been able to see them yet.
Tsurumi Ryokuchi ParkFree
Tsurumi (east Osaka)
Not to be confused with the park above (ryokuchi means “green space”), Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park was host to the International Garden and Greenery Exposition in 1990, and thus has a great selection of flower displays — including cherry blossoms.
You can picnic beneath the hundreds of cherry trees and also explore the grounds, which include a traditional Japanese garden, a rose garden with 2,600 plants, and a teahouse. The trees line the edges of a pond, creating beautiful reflections and dreamy sakura photo-ops as they begin to fall and float on the water’s surface.
The park is designed to have flowers in bloom during every season, so there are plenty of flowers to see aside from the cherry blossoms, too.
While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. This article was originally published in March 2018. Last updated in March 2023.