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If You’re Looking for the Perfect Hanami Spot, Then Visit These! 5 Select Cherry Blossom Spots around Kobe

Kobe is a stylish port town that is facing Seto Inland Sea. While it's known for Chinatown and other spots, there are actually a lot of popular spots for watching sakura (cherry blossoms) in and around this town as well. Below are five recommended hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spots around Kobe!

1. Ikutagawa Park

The first spot on this list is Ikutagawa Park, located along Ikutagawa River, which flows south of JR Shin-Kobe Station. There are rows of cherry blossom trees called Nunobiki Hanakaido on both sides of the river, and in spring, about 170 cherry blossom trees come into bloom here. During the annual Ikutagawa Sakura Matsuri (Ikutagawa Cherry Blossom Festival), stalls are set up, stage events are held and many other activities take place, turning the park into a space packed with a lot of visitors hoping to admire the cherry blossom trees. A large-scale complex play set and other equipment are installed inside the park, so it is also a popular spot for people with children.

Best time to see: Early April to mid-April

1. Ikutagawa Park

6-5 Wakana-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo

2. Sumaura Park

Sumaura Park is a scenic spot that was formed from the sloping lands that include Tekkaisan (Mt. Tekkai) and Hachibuseyama (Mt. Hachibuse), and the pine grove along the coast. Boasting a total area of approximately 104ha, there are as many as 3,200 cherry blossom trees planted inside this park, making it the most famous cherry blossom spot in all of Kobe. If you go up the mountain via the ropeway, you will get to see cherry blossom trees in bloom as far as your eyes can see, as well as Kobe Airport and Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. The nighttime viewing of cherry blossoms is also recommended, as the trees, which are lit up, create a magical vibe.

Best time to see: Early April to mid-April
Ropeway fare (round trip): Adult (junior high school student or above): 900 JPY, Child (elementary school student): 450 JPY

2. Sumaura Park

4-1-24 Ichinotani-cho, Suma-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo

3. Himeji Castle

The next famous cherry blossom spot on this list is Himeji Castle, a national treasure that is located in Himeji City. Also called the “Shirasagi-jo” (White Heron Castle) for looking like a white heron, its stunning aesthetic quality has led to its registration as a World Heritage Site. There are about 1,000 cherry blossom trees inside this castle and the cherry blossoms project a vibrant color onto the white walls when they are in bloom. Many hanami-related events are also held here, such as the Kanokai (cherry blossom viewing party) that features koto (a Japanese stringed instrument) and wadaiko (Japanese drum) performances, and nighttime illumination.

Best time to see: Early April to mid-April
Admission fee: Adult (18 years old and above): 1,000 JPY, Child (elementary, junior high school and high school student): 300 JPY

3. Himeji Castle

68 Honmachi, Himeji-shi, Hyogo

4. Zenpukuji Temple

Arima Onsen (Arima Hot Spring) is a famous hot spring area that is located in the northern slope of the Rokko Mountains. It is known not only for its hot spring, but also for the many hanami spots that dot the area. The best among these spots is Zenpukuji. An ancient temple housing the statue of Prince Shotoku that has been designated as a national important cultural asset of Japan, this temple is filled with around 500 cherry blossom trees in its grounds. In particular, the single shidare-sakura tree called Itozakura that is more than 200 years old is a must-see. Aside from the above, the Yozakura Chakai event is also held every spring, treating visitors to tea and sweets while viewing the cherry blossom trees, as well as to dancing by geigi (geisha).

Best time to see: Early April to mid-April

4. Zenpukuji Temple

1645 Arima-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo

5. Akashi Park

A 54.8ha city park that was built with the ruins of Akashi Castle at the center, Akashi Park is located in Akashi City, right next to Kobe City. There is a diversity of hills and ponds inside this park, where many trees are planted, making this spot a rustic place despite being in an urban area. During spring, the sight of approximately 1,000 cherry blossom trees around Gono Pond is truly wonderful. The cherry blossom flowers in full bloom are so impressive that looking at them will make you inadvertently sigh. Further, the cherry blossoms set against the castle tower are a sight to behold.

Best time to see: Late March to early April

5. Akashi Park

1-27 Akashi Koen, Akashi-shi, Hyogo

Various events and festivals are held in different spots in areas surrounding Kobe around April each year, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. So to those who are interested, please search the official homepages of the above spots for details so you won’t miss them!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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