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Top 10 Nighttime Sakura Spots in Japan

While we often enjoy cherry blossoms with a picnic lunch, how about under the night sky? Keep reading for the top nighttime sakura across Japan!

By 5 min read

Early spring in Japan is a season of contrasts. Nothing marks this juxtaposition like the fleeting nature of sakura (cherry blossom), which comes into bloom and then quickly withers away.

But enjoying sakura at night adds a new dimension to the contrasts of the hanami (flower viewing) season. Illuminated with various colored lights, nighttime sakura can take on a different life than its daytime counterpart. Lit-up blooms oppose the night sky above and their shadowy surroundings.

Here are 10 nighttime sakura across Japan, where you can find light in the dark!

1. Hirosaki Park (Aomori)

See over 2,600 cherry trees including over 50 varieties.

Hirosaki Park has over 2,600 cherry trees, including over 50 varieties. Each type reaches full bloom at different times, so the park will look different with each visit. Against the night sky, these illuminated blooms will appear even more robust than usual. With Hirosaki Castle in the background, you’ll see why this site is considered one of Japan’s three best night sakura spots.

1 Shimoshiroganecho, Hirosaki, Aomori - Map
Admission: ¥520
Nearest station: JR Hirosaki

2. Takada Castle Site Park (Niigata)

The park’s 99th annual “Cherry Blossom Festival” will be held this year.

Takada Castle Site Park was built in the area of Takada Castle, which was constructed as the residence for the sixth son of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The park is a beautiful destination year-round, and in the spring, approximately 4,000 cherry trees come into full bloom within its 50 hectares of land.

The park’s 99th annual “Cherry Blossom Festival” will be held this year. It will illuminate the castle’s reconstructed three-story turret and hundreds of bonbori (paper lanterns).

44-1 Honjo-cho, Joetsu City, Niigata - Map
Nearest station: Takada (Echigo Tokimeki Railway)

3. Hakodate Park (Hokkaido)

Located at the base of Mount Hakodate, Hakodate Park is one of the top spots in the city to see cherry blossoms. While Hakodate’s Goryokaku Park usually steals the spotlight, Hakodate Park’s 400 Yoshino cherry trees are a lower-key alternative.

After reaching mankai (full bloom) near the end of April, the park illuminates the cherry trees. Also, around the central fountain, the park organizes several food stalls selling snacks and desserts. Why not pick up a quick bite, grab a seat on a bench and enjoy the lit-up night?

3-15 Aoyagicho, Hakodate, Hokkaido - Map
Nearest tram station: Aoyagi-cho

4. Takato Joshi Park (Nagano)

The cherry trees are a local endemic species named Takato Kohigan Sakura.

Originally planted to conceal the ruins of Takato Castle, the 1500 cherry trees in Takato Joshi Park are a beautiful sight to behold. The cherry trees are an endemic species to the area, named Takato Kohigan Sakura. They have been considered some of the most beautiful sakura trees for their large size and slightly reddish flowers.

During the blooming period, the cherry trees are illuminated in the evening, and colorful projection mapping overlaps some buildings around the park. Come and enjoy this unique sakura and see their blooms shining brightly at night.

810-1 Nishitakato, Takato-machi, Ina City, Nagano - Map
Admission: ¥600, Students (under 16 years old): ¥300
Nearest station: Takato-eki Bus Terminal

5. Meguro River (Tokyo)

About 800 cherry trees crowd the banks of the river, making for a picturesque stroll.

One of the most popular spots in Tokyo to view blooming sakura is along the Meguro River. The most common route is to start at Meguro station and walk along the canal until you reach Nakameguro station. About 800 cherry trees crowd the banks of the river, making for a picturesque stroll.

Come evening, the area fills with hanami enthusiasts as the river is lit by hundreds of lanterns. Also, several drink and food stalls are set up at the promenade, serving beer, yakitori, and much more. Despite the crowds, the sheer beauty and festive atmosphere of this sakura spot is worth a visit.

Meguro River, Tokyo - Map
Nearest station: JR Meguro or Nakameguro

6. Myoshin-ji Taizo-in (Kyoto)

Tucked away in Kyoto’s northwestern corner, the Myoshin-ji complex houses several small temples. Taizo-in is a Zen Buddhist temple with dry and pond-and-stroll-style gardens featuring weeping cherry trees.

While five cherry trees may not sound like much, you won’t regret this out-of-the-way stop. The sakura are illuminated in red, giving the scene an ethereal glow. With dual-colored stones in the dry garden beneath, there’s a world of contrasts between light and dark and flowers and stone.

35, Myoshinji-cho, Hanazono Ukyo-ku, Kyoto - Map
Admission: ¥600, Students (under 16 years old): ¥300
Nearest station: JR Hanazono 

7. Osaka Castle Park (Osaka)

Osaka Castle Park is one of the most popular destinations for sakura in Kansai.

With over 3,000 cherry trees, Osaka Castle Park is one of Kansai’s most popular sakura destinations. In the evening, 300 of them are lit up in Nishinomaru Garden. Check out the weeping trees and the late-blooming Yaezakura variety. These are notable for double-layered fluffy blooms that bloom in the second half of April.

1-1, Osaka-jo, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka - Map
Admission: ¥350 
Nearest station: JR Morinomiya Station and Osakajo-koen Station

8. Ritsurin Garden (Kagawa)

Get a whole new perspective on the nighttime sakura.

Ritsurin is a traditional strolling-style garden often mentioned alongside the Three Great Gardens of Japan. It is home to about 350 cherry trees, which come into full bloom at the beginning of April.

While Ritsurin’s illuminated sakura are beautiful, the garden offers additional experiences. Garden Cafe Ritsurin has prepared several menus allowing you to access the park after the usual opening hours. During this time, the park will be much less busy. Also, Ritsurin has small boat tours that float through the large lakes.

1-20-16 Ritsurin-cho, Takamatsu City, Kagawa - Map
Admission: ¥410, Students (under 16 years old): ¥170
Nearest station: JR Ritsurin Koen Kitaguchi 

9. Maizuru Park (Fukuoka)

Celebrate the best of hanami beside a centuries-old castle.

Home to about 1,000 cherry trees, Fukuoka City’s Maizuru Park offers a unique illuminated sakura experience for 2024. The ruins of the 400-year-old Fukuoka Castle will be reborn with the aid of scaffolding recreating its main keep, strewn with LED lights. Also, the lights will alternate between seven colors.

This colorful restoration project will debut along with this year’s sakura, beginning in March. With gourmet food stalls set up on-site, your evening among the cherry blossoms and the castle is complete!

1 Jonai, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka - Map
Admission: ¥600
Nearest station: Akasaka (Fukuoka Subway Airport Line) 

10. Mifuneyama Rakuen (Saga)

Beautiful views are below and above in Mifuneyama Rakuen.

At the base of Mount Mifune, Mifuneyama Rakuen is a sprawling 500,000 square-meter park. Among the abundant flowers and trees, there are about 2,000 cherry trees. From the popular Yoshino to the later blooming Yaezakura, Mifuneyama Rakuen has trees of all kinds.

This is also the largest nighttime sakura event in Kyushu. Sakura are lit by light fixtures underneath the trees and lanterns placed in the ponds. Visitors staying at one of the affiliated lodgings can enjoy the atmosphere after hours from Chaya Bar’s terrace.

4100 Takeocho Oaza Takeo, Takeo, Saga  - Map
Admission: ¥600, Students: ¥250
Nearest station: Takeo Onsen (Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen and JR Sasebo Line)
Do you have a favorite nighttime sakura spot? We’d love to hear your stories below!

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