In just a few short months, winter in Japan will melt into spring and reveal the coveted cherry blossoms, or sakura. Whilst Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka count amongst the most popular viewing spots for Japan’s iconic floral spectacle, there is a range of lesser-known cherry blossom places and experiences available for those travellers wanting to experience the magic of the sakura season away from the crowds. Kinosaki-Onsen, Japan’s Best Hot Spring Town, and its surrounding area is home to many of these places.
From a tropical beach escape to seeing the blossoms in a historic castle town, here is how to make the most of Japan’s cherry blossoms away from the crowds:
- The authentic experience: One great place to see the sakura both during the day and at night is in Kinosaki Onsen itself, along Kiyamachi Street near Ichino Yu, one of the town’s seven public onsen. Sakura line the small canal and create a soft pink canopy for nearly one kilometre.
- The night time experience: An equally magical experience to see the blossoms along Kinosaki Onsen’s idyllic Kiyamachi Street is to view them by night as the pink lanterns glow softly, creating a romantic atmosphere perfect for an evening stroll between onsen and shop visits.
- The traditional experience: Do like the locals and spread out a blanket under the cherry blossom trees. Enjoying the flowers while eating a packed lunch is a traditional pastime in Japan and is called hanami or flower viewing. One excellent place to partake in this hanami tradition is in Izushi, a traditional castle town nearby Kinosaki Onsen.
- The tropical seaside experience: For a truly unique experience, head to Takeno, a quiet fishing village and beach area, also has many trees that blossom. Just five minutes on the JR train from Kinosaki Onsen, walk 20 minutes from Takeno Station down to the beach to witness the pinks of the sakura mixing with the blues of the Japan Sea. Hike up to the top of Mt. Jajayama to see a view of the town and the ocean bordered by cherry blossoms.
- The immersive experience: Visitors to Kinosaki Onsen can enhance their experience amongst the sakura with a yukata rental and/or a professional photoshoot activity. Although most ryokans in town offer their own yukata included in a guest’s stay, the town’s yukata shop & rental IROHA offers a wider variety with many different colours and designs and guests can choose from a wide selection of stylish models. Click here for more details about this activity. In addition to this, visitors can capture their favourite memories with Kinosaki’s cherry blossoms by getting professional photos taken in their yukata. Click here for more details about this activity.
According to the latest forecast, it is currently predicted that the cherry blossom season in Kinosaki Onsen will begin to bloom on March 31st and will reach full bloom on April 4th.