As Japan’s Kitchen, there are few better places than Osaka for the perfect hanami picnic. With spring in the air, here’s a round-up of the best spots to enjoy Osaka cherry blossoms.
Osaka may not be as famously picturesque as its neighbor Kyoto, but the beauty of cherry blossom can transform even the most urban of places into a seasonal wonderland. 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).
The peak bloom is usually expected to be at the start of April, so you can expect the blossoming to begin around a week beforehand. If you’re arriving a little later into April, be sure to visit the Japan Mint, which has free entry once a year for hanami and is largely late-blooming. As always, be sure to check the latest updates on the forecast, as it can change depending on the weather.
Osaka Castle grounds | Early April | Free
A great place to start off your sightseeing, the castle grounds are filled with over 3,000 cherry trees with plenty of room to get the perfect shot. In the west section, Nishinomaru Garden has super spots for a picnic thanks to the lawns stretching beneath the trees (other areas have hard ground). Entry for the garden is ¥350 during peak season, however, while other areas are free. The castle is illuminated at night during Osaka cherry blossom season.
Access: Head to Osakajokoen on the JR Osaka Loop Line, Morinomiya Station on the Loop, Chuo or Nagahoritsurumiryokuchi lines, Temmabashi on the Keihan Main, Tanimachi or Keihan-Nakanoshima Line or to Osaka Business Park on the Nagahoritsurumiryokuchi Line.
Daisen Park | Early April | ¥200
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. They have 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 plenty of other sights to explore, including Sakai Museum and a flower and water park.
Access: From Osaka you can catch the Kansai Airport Rapid Service and change to the Hanwa Line at Mikunigaoka, getting off at Mozu Station. This journey takes around 30 minutes and costs ¥390. Alternatively, it takes about 15 minutes from Namba on the Nankai Koya Line with a change at the same station, or you can walk a little further to the park.
Kema Sakuranomiya Park | Early April | Free
Located on the river terrace between Kema Araizeki and Temmabashi Bridge, Sakuranomiya Park is a beautiful stretch of cherry blossoms that will take your breath away. With almost 5,000 trees lining the Okawa River’s edges, locals and travelers stroll along and admire the river banks from across the water. During the blossoming, you’ll find food stalls and hanami picnics galore—creating a festival atmosphere. There are boat trips available along the river if you want a new perspective too. This park is very close to the Japan Mint, so you can combine the two.
Access: Head to Sakuranomiya Station on the Osaka Loop Line, Osakajokitazume Station on the Tozai Line, or Tenmabashi Station on the Tanimachi and Keihan subway lines.
Japan Mint Bureau | Mid-April | Free
The Mint garden is usually closed to the public, but for one week in cherry blossom season, they open their gates and allow visitors to admire some rare and unusual varieties of blossom. There are 350 trees with 134 different varieties and it 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 an evening illumination. 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.
Access: Head to Temmabashi Station on the Tanimachi Line (you can change from the Midosuji or Osaka Loop Line easily), or direct from Higashiumeda, which is a short walk from Osaka Station.
Expo 70 Commemorative Park | Early April | ¥250
Also known as Bampaku Kinen Koen, this park was originally designed to host the 1970 World Exhibition. Famed for its seasonal flower displays and open spaces, this large park is 30 minutes from central Osaka. There are over 5,000 cherry trees spread across 260,000 square meters, mostly along paths and in the south-east section. It has an illumination in the evenings and although it is a popular spot, it is large enough to not feel too crowded. Within the park, you’ll also find a market during blossom season, a Japanese landscape garden, artwork left over from the Expo and two cultural museums to explore.
Access: Head to Bampaku-kinen-koen Station or Koen-Higashiguchi on the Osaka Monorail, it takes just under half an hour from Umeda.
Kishiwada Castle | Early April | ¥300
Home to the famous Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri, this castle was originally built in 1334 and has over 130 blossoming trees surrounding it. The grounds are illuminated in the evening and it draws quite a crowd in spring. 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.
Access: Catch the Nankai Airport Express from Namba Nankai Station and get off at Kishiwada—it’s a 26-minute journey costing ¥490. (Be careful not to catch the Nankai Limited Express, as that is only 6 minutes faster and costs ¥1,000).
Hattori Ryokuchi Park | Early April | Free
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 blossom. 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 Shirakawago if you haven’t been able to see them yet. For a more spacious blossom experience with some additional entertainment on the side, this can make for a great afternoon out in Osaka.
Access: Head to Ryokuchikoen Station on the Midosuji Line from Namba subway station—it takes 23 minutes and costs ¥380 each way.
Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park | Early April | Free
A different Ryokuchi Park, the Tsurumi version was also (confusingly) host to the Expo ’90 and thus has a great selection of flower displays, including cherry blossom. The park is designed to have flowers in bloom during every season, so there are plenty of flowers to see aside from the Osaka cherry blossom. Here, you can picnic beneath the hundreds of cherry trees and explore the grounds, with a traditional Japanese garden, a rose garden with 2,600 plants and tea ceremony house. 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.
Access: Head to Tsurumiryokuchi on the Nagahoritsurumiryokuchi Line, it only requires one change from Osaka.
Other places to see cherry blossoms
If you don’t mind the masses, see our guide to the best Kyoto sakura spots. We’ve also got all the top cherry blossom places in Tokyo, not to mention Kanazawa—perfect if you’re looking to escape the crowds.
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 February, 2019.