March 3, 2024

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The 6 Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Nara, Japan

The 6 Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Nara, Japan

Known for its history-filled attractions the ancient capital of Nara is also one of Japan’s top places for cherry blossom viewing.

In the spring, this alluring city becomes a living fairy tale dotted with thousands of cherry trees (including the picturesque weeping cherry trees), which provide travelers with plenty of photo opportunities.

You can find cherry blossoms in many places across Nara, such as castles, palaces, parks, and temples.

Here’s a well-curated list of the 6 most popular cherry blossom viewing spots in Nara. Take a look!

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The 6 Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Nara, Japan

Nara Park

Nara Park covered in cherry blossoms.

Gloriously located at the foot of Mt. Wakakusa, Nara Park is home to some of Nara’s top attractions including Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha, Kofukuji, and the Nara National Museum. This sprawling park is also well-loved for harboring more than 1200 domesticated sika deer (鹿 – shika in Japanese), which are protected by law and have been designated as National Treasure.

Aside from being home to a delightful array of touristic sights, the 600-hectare Nara Park is famous for its collection of about 1,700 cherry trees that grow in the open areas.

Be sure to visit the park during Japan’s cherry blossom season (between March and April), to take in the view of adorable deer, and gorgeous temples framed by delicate pink flowers.

Tip: One of the easiest ways of reaching Nara Park is by taking the Nara City Loop bus. Known for its vibrant yellow color, the bus runs from both the Kintetsu Nara Station and the JR Nara Station to the park. It also makes several stops at different locations within the park’s grounds.

Address: Nara city, Japan

Matabei Cherry Tree in Ouda-Hongo

Matabei Cherry Tree in Ouda-Hongo, in Japan.

The city is particularly famous for being home to a Matabei Cherry Tree, which is beautifully located in the charming Ouda-Hongo quarter. This 300-year-old weeping cherry tree was named after Matabei Goto, a military commander during the Sengoku Period (15th-16th century) who, according to folklore, became a monk, and spent the remainder of his life in the Uda area.

Due to its magnificence, and impressive dimensions (10 feet in the circumference of 42 feet in height), the strikingly beautiful Matabei Cherry Tree is viewed by 70,000 people every spring.

Address: Oudahongo, Uda City, Nara Prefecture

Koriyama-jo Castle Ruins

Koriyama-jo Castle Ruins dotted with cherry trees, in Nara, Japan.

The earliest origins of Koriyama Castle remain unknown, and the castle itself isn’t one of Nara’s most visited places. However, the structure is surrounded by lush gardens that come alive with 800 cherry blossoms from late March to early April.

In fact, this location is so breathtaking during the springtime, that every year the castle hosts the Yamato Koriyama Castle Festival, which is when the castle’s beautiful cherry blossom trees get lit up at night by around 6,000 glowing lanterns.

Address: 2-255 Jonaicho, Yamatokoriyama, Nara

Mt. Yoshino

Mt. Yoshino covered in cherry blossoms, in Nara, Japan.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its historic and cultural significance, the breathtaking Mt. Yoshino has been Japan’s most famous cherry blossom viewing spot for centuries. The mountain is home to a staggering number of 30,000 cherry trees, the first of which are believed to have been planted more than 1300 years ago.

The sakura trees on Mt. Yoshino beautifully blossom in early April and are referred to as “Ichimoku Senbon”, which translates to “one sight, a thousand trees” in English. That’s because it’s said that you’ll view 1,000 cherry trees in every direction when visiting the mountain.

Address: Yoshino-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara

Heijo Palace

Nara's Heijo Palace filled with cherry blossoms.

Heijo Palace was the Emperor’s residence during Nara’s time as Japan’s capital (710-794). included as one of the World Heritage Sites of Nara, the palace has been revitalized and is currently home to several reconstructed structures that serve as a museum.

The palace’s grounds are majestically dotted with 120 blooming cherry trees, which make for the most gorgeous photo opportunities.

Address: 3 Chome-5-番1号 Nijoojiminami, Nara

Mount Wakakusa

Mount Wakakusa covered in cherry trees, in Nara, Japan.

Rising gloriously behind Nara Park, Mount Wakakusa is a must for nature lovers in Nara. This dreamy mountain is a beautiful location every time of the year, as the scenery changes according to each season. During the fall, visitors are happily greeted by colorful foliage, while in the spring, Wakakusa’s slopes are punctuated by several cherry trees.

The mountain also treats visitors to some jaw-dropping views of Nara.

Address: 157 Wakakusa, Kasuganocho, Nara

Nara Himuro-jinja Shrine

Nara Himuro-jinja Shrine covered in cherry blossoms during springtime in Nara, Japan.

Located southwest of Todai-ji Temple and across the street from Nara National Museum, the Nara Himuro-jinja Shrine is famous for harboring one of the main museums in the country where you can enjoy Japanese Buddhist art.

In late March and early April, the shrine comes alive with an array of rosé cherry blossoms, among which there’s the gorgeous ‘Shidare-Zakura’ weeping cherry.

Recommended Read: The 5 Best Temples in Nara, Japan

FAQ

Is Nara a good place to see the sakura trees in Japan?

Yes. Nera is a great place to see the cherry blossom trees in Japan. In and around the city you’ll find an array of sites, from parks to temples, which come alive with gorgeous sakura flowers during springtime.

When is cherry blossom season in Nara?

Early and peak blooming dates may slightly vary. But, overall, cherry blossoms normally begin to bloom during the last week of March and their flowers can be enjoyed until mid-April, with their peak in early April.

Where are the best places to see the cherry trees in Nara?

The 6 best cherry blossom spots in Nara are:

  • Nara Park;
  • Matabei Cherry Tree in Ouda-Hongo;
  • Koriyama-jo Castle Ruins;
  • Mt. Yoshino;
  • Heijo Palace;
  • Mount Wakakusa;
  • Nara Himuro-jinja Shrine.

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