The representative sight of Japanese spring is the cherry blossom, and the representative spring activity is "hanami," or "flower viewing," when people go to parks and have picnics underneath the blossoms. There are many places for hanami in Osaka, but here are some particularly recommended areas. Please use this article as a reference when you're planning your Japanese hanami with your family, friends, and significant others!
1. Kema Sakuranomiya Park
This park is about a 15 minute train ride away from Osaka Station. Kema Sakuranomiya Park is a riverside park famous for its 4.2km cherry blossom-lined promenade. Both banks of the river from Kemabashi Bridge to Tenmabashi Bridge is lined with around 4,800 beautifully blooming Yoshino cherry and mountain cherry trees, so many people come to enjoy the flowers. They also have a light-up event called "Kannou Nighter" ("cherry blossom viewing night game") where you can enjoy the evening blossoms. The right bank is full of retro buildings representative of the early Meiji period like the Japanese Mint Bureau and the Senpukan (a historic building that used to be a guesthouse for the Japanese Mint Bureau), so it brings about a very nostalgic atmosphere. Please visit this popular hanami spot where you can truly understand why Osaka is sometimes called the city of water.
2. Hirokawadera Temple
Hirokawadera Temple stands near the mountain ridge of Mt. Katsuragi, and while it's famous as being the place where the famous poet representative of the later half of the Heian Era, Saigyou, died, it's also very famous for its cherry blossoms. In the spring, the 1,500 trees dotting the wide grounds bloom beautiful. Outside of the well-known Yoshino cherry trees, there are also many other varieties here such as the mountain cherry, the double-flowered cherry, the Korean hill cherry, and the weeping cherry. The many varieties make this area a particularly charming area for hanami. For a limited time, you can even enjoy the evening blossoms. Behind the temple is the cherry blossoms that were planted by Saigyou as well as his grave, so you can take those in as well on your stop. It's a little ways away from the center of Osaka, so it's a great place for people who'd love to try a quiet hanami away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
3. Osaka Castle Park
Osaka Castle Park, a well-known area for cherry blossom trees, is a city park that holds a number of important cultural artifacts like the castle tower that was rebuilt in 1931. Inside the park there are about 3,000 trees of multiple varieties including the Yoshino cherry, the mountain cherry, and the double-flowered cherry tree. Inside the Nishinomaru Gardens (entrance fee is 200 JPY for adults, free for people under middle-school age and above 65 years old), 300 cherry blossom trees are lit up for night viewing purposes and it is very popular every year. Since you can enjoy the beauty of the blossoms while having a delicious meal, it's one of the most popular areas in Osaka both as a hanami area and a historical site.
4. Daisen Park
Daisen Park, connected to the mausoleum of Emperor Nintoku (Daisen Kofun), is one of the parks representing Sakai City and was included in the top 100 Japanese historical parks list. It's a place very familiar with the local people as a place where you can enjoy nature, thanks in part to the Sakai City Urban Greenery Promotion Center, a group that actively contributes to spreading greenery throughout the city, but also thanks to the Japanese garden and the Heisei no Mori forest on the grounds. Around the lake in the park is the Cherry Blossom Garden, where 400 Yoshino cherry and Oshima cherry trees are planted. When the blossoms are in full bloom, the sight of the lake being surrounded by pink is very beautiful, making it a very popular hanami spot. Inside the park is a museum, a tea house, and the aforementioned Japanese garden, so it's also a place where you can enjoy Japanese history and culture.
5. Kishiwada Castle
Kishiwada, famous for the Danjiri Matsuri that holds 300 years of history and tradition, is also known for Kishiwada Castle, a castle built around 1330. The castle ruins are designated as an Osakan historic landmark. From the castle tower you can look out over the townscape of Kishiwada as well as the sight of Osaka Bay. Kishiwada Castle is also known for its cherry blossoms, and in the spring, its 170 trees bloom beautifully. The collaboration of the lit-up castle and the cherry blossoms is especially beautiful, bringing many visitors yearly. It's about an hour away from Osaka Station by train, but from Kansai International Airport it's only about 30 minutes. It's a sight that's worth seeing, so why not stop by when you have some free time?
6. Satsukiyama Park
This park is about 50 minutes away from Osaka Station by train. Satsukiyama Park is the park that sits below the 315m Mt. Satsuki. There are about 7 hiking courses and a small zoo on the grounds, making it a place full of memories for most of the locals. Mt. Satsuki is famous in Osaka for its cherry blossoms, so many people make their way outside of the city to see the sight when the trees start blooming. Yoshino cherry and mountain cherry trees bloom from the entrance to the park to the mountain summit, so the sight of all the trees from the observatory deck at on the mountain summit is breathtaking. Also, at night the park is lit up with lanterns, giving the night view an elegant charm.
Osaka has a strong image of cultural properties like food, crafts, and traditions, but it's also an area full of beautiful cherry blossom. If you come to Osaka in the spring, please enjoy the sight of these beautiful trees.