10 Best Early Blooming Sakura Viewing Spots in Japan 2022

Kawazuzakura Places to visit in Japan

Sakura, cherry blossom in Japanese, is a symbolic flower in Japan. It starts to bloom in the early spring from the southern part of Japan, and continues to spread across the country along with the warm spring climate. It usually starts to bloom from the middle of March to April, but there are early blooming sakura that allows you to enjoy beautiful sakura from February. 
Here are the 10 best early blooming sakura viewing spots in Japan!    

1. Kawazu (Shizuoka)

Kawazu is probably the most famous early sakura viewing spot in Japan. It is a small city located in the eastern part of Shizuoka prefecture, along the east coast of the Izu peninsula. It is about a 2.5 hours journey from Tokyo by JR limited express “Super View Odoriko”. It directly takes you to Kawazu station which is within a short walking distance to the popular kawazu-zakura viewing spot. Sakura in the Kawazu area starts to bloom in early February, and fascinates visitors for about a month until early March. There are about 850 sakura trees along the Kawazu river, which creates a stunning scenery with the peaceful atmosphere of the lovely old town. During the Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival which is held from February 1st to 28th 2022, Sakura trees are beautifully illuminated at night!    

Kawazuzakura shizuoka

Best time for early blooming Sakura in Kawazu

From early February to early March  

How to get there

From Tokyo, take the limited express “Super View Odoriko” to Kawazu station.

Shinkansen is also available to Atami station where you need to transfer to the Izu Kyuko Line.

2. Mt. Matsuda Herb Garden (Kanagawa)

Mt. Matsuda Herb Garden is a beautiful herb garden located in the western part of Kanagawa prefecture. It takes about 80min from JR Shinjuku station by the Odakyu Line to get to Matsuda station. The herb garden is nestled on a hillside of Mt. Matsuda with a large variety of herbs, flowers and seasonal plants. From mid-February to mid-March, visitors can enjoy an incredible view of the beautiful sakura flowers against the backdrop of Mt. Fuji which is still snowcapped! Under the countless numbers of sakura trees, you will find lovely yellow rape flowers which create a beautiful contrast with sakura pink petals!   

Mt. Matsuda Herb Garden

Best time for early blooming Sakura in Mt. Matsuda Herb Garden 

From mid-February to mid-March

How to get there

About 80min from JR Shinjuku station by the Odakyu Line

3. Komatsugaike (Kanagawa)

Another popular early sakura viewing spot in Kanagawa is Komatsugaike. It is located about a 15min walk away from MiuraKaigan Station on the Keikyu Railway Line. If you take a stroll from the station in early spring, you will notice a long line of sakura trees full of pink petals stretching from the station to the peaceful Komatsugaike Park. Komatsugaike Park is a pleasant spot for relaxing in nature or enjoying some activities such as birdwatching. The yellow color of the rape flowers planted under the sakura trees is also beautiful. Miura Kaigan Sakura Festival is held from mid-February through the end of the month every year.         

Komatsugaike

Best time for early blooming Sakura in Komatsugaike

From mid to late February 

How to get there

From Tokyo, take the JR Tokaido Line to Yokohama station. Transfer to the Keikyu Line (Rapid-limited express) and get off at MiuraKaigan station.

4. Shimogamo Onsen (Shizuoka)

Shimogamo Onsen is a pleasant hot spring resort located in the south of the Izu peninsula in Shizuoka prefecture. This traditional hot spring resort has a long history dating back to the 16th century. Along the Aono river, which is a peaceful stream running through the central part of the hot spring resort, there are 800 sakura trees stretching for 2km on both sides of the river. They start to open in early February and offer a fascinating view along with other spring flowers such as rape flower. During night hours from 6pm to 9pm, visitors can enjoy illuminated sakura trees.  

Komatsugaike early blooming sakura

Best time for early blooming Sakura in Shimogamo Onsen

From early to late February 

How to get there

From Tokyo, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Atami station. Transfer to JR Odoriko train and get off at Izukyu-Shimoda station. Change to Tokai Bus and it is about 25min to Shimogamo Onsen.

5. Sakuma Dam (Chiba)

If you are looking for an early sakura viewing spot around Chiba prefecture, head to Sakuma Dam which is located in the southern part of the Boso peninsula. This peninsula exclusively covers the vast majority of Chiba prefecture, and it is widely famous for the warm climate which is perfect for plants and flowers to grow faster. Sakuma Dan is an artificial dam which has a beautiful park featuring 2,000 sakura trees and other seasonal flowers such as narcissus and palm blossoms. Two sakura viewing festivals are held annually there, the earlier one from mid-February to mid-March, and the later one from mid-March to mid-April. The park is also a perfect spot for families to spend a relaxing time on weekends and let their children play in nature.   

Sakuma Dam

Best time for early blooming Sakura in Sakuma Dam 

From mid-February to mid-April 

How to get there

From Tokyo, take the JR Sobu Line to Kimitsu station. Transfer to the JR Uchibo Line to Hota station. It is about a 20min bus ride to Sakuma Dam. 

6. Kamigori Sakura Garden (Hyogo)

If you live in the Kansai area, or are planning to visit there during your trip to Japan, Kamigori Sakura Garden is a perfect spot to enjoy early blooming sakura. This lovely garden is located in the western part of Hyogo prefecture. It is about a 30min walk from JR Kamigori station to reach the garden which can be enjoyed for free. What makes it special and different from other sakura spots is the number of types of sakura you can enjoy. There are 10 different types of sakura trees which bloom at different times of the year. While some are enjoyable from mid-March, others wait for the arrival of spring in mid-April, or even start to bloom at the end of the month! 

Best time for early blooming Sakura in Kamigori Sakura Garden

From mid-March to late April

How to get there

It is about a 30min walk from JR Kamigori station

7. Youra Peninsula (Oita)

Oita is widely famous for the countless numbers of hot spring spots that can be found across the prefecture. Youra Peninsula is a lesser-known, but one of the largest sakura viewing spots in Oita with more than 5,000 sakura trees planted by locals. Sakura in Youra area gradually starts to bloom in early February, and the best time of the year is mid-February when they are in full bloom! They also offer a stunning contrast with the beautiful ocean.    

 Youra Peninsula

Best time for early blooming Sakura in Youra Peninsula

From early to late February

How to get there

From JR Oita station, take the JR Nippou Line to Tsukumi station. Take the Kyushu Kotsu Bus to Ochinoura in Youra Peninsula.  

8. Mt. Yae (Okinawa)

Mt. Yae is a symbolic mountain in Motobu, Okinawa prefecture. This 453m tall landmark is widely known for the beautiful sakura trees that bloom the earliest in Japan. As you drive through the 4.5km road leading up to the top of the mountain, you will be welcomed by approximately 7,000 sakura trees, which create a breathtakingly beautiful pink world! The color of the sakura flowers in Okinawa is slightly darker than the ones that we can see on the main island of Japan. Mt. Yae Cherry Blossom Festival is held from mid-January through the end of the month every year.  

Mt. Yae (Okinawa)

Best time for early blooming Sakura in Mt. Yae

From mid to late January 

How to get there

From Naha airport, take the highway bus to Nago Bus Terminal. It is about a 25min bus ride to Mt. Yae.

9. Senganen (Kagoshima)

Senganen is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kagoshima prefecture. It features a beautiful Japanese-style garden and buildings that were built back in the 17th century. They were originally owned by the Shimazu family, which ruled the Kagoshima area for over four centuries. It also offers great views of Kinko Bay and Sakurajima, a giant active  volcano loved as a symbol of Kagoshima. From early February, visitors can enjoy various types of sakura flowers, each of which have slightly different shapes and colors. From mid-February to the end of April, Senganen Spring Festival takes place, which attracts numerous visitors every year. Samurai Armor Experience is also a must-try!

Senganen

Best time for early blooming Sakura in Senganen

From mid-February to late April 

How to get there

From Kagoshima Chuo Station, take the Kagoshima City Bus “Kagoshima City View”, and it is about 50min to Senganen.

10. Kaminoseki Shiroyama Historical Park (Yamaguchi)

Our final destination on the list is Kaminoseki, a peaceful small town located in the southern part of Yamaguchi prefecture. This lovely town covers the southern part of Murotsu Peninsula and two small islands in the Seto Inland Sea, which is widely famous for the calm water and the relatively warm climate. Kaminoseki Shiroyama Historical Park is located in Nagashima, which is directly connected to the main island of Japan with Kaminoseki Ohashi Bridge. The vast park ground is a former site of a castle which was built back in the 17th century to monitor the ships passing through the Kaminoseki Straits. It is now home to a variety of seasonal flowers, including narcissuses and sakura trees which start to bloom in late February.   During the season, hillsides of the park are completely covered with yellow narcissuses and pink sakura flowers, which offers a beautiful contrast with the blue ocean!   

Kawazuzakura yamaguchi

Best time for early blooming Sakura in Kaminoseki Shiroyama Historical Park

From late February to mid-March 

How to get there 

It is about a 50min bus ride from JR Yanai Station.

Don’t forget to check out Japan Wonder Travel tours!

If you need some help to organize your trip to Japan, you should definitely check out our private tours including an English guide. We also offer exciting food and drink tours that take you to the local’s favorite places. 

Most of the early Sakura viewing spots above can be enjoyed from early February. They could be a perfect option for you if you want to enjoy watching beautiful sakura flowers at an earlier time. Make sure to check how to get to these sakura spots in advance as some of them are located in rural areas where public transport is limited.   

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Happy travelling!

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Miho Shimizu is a Japanese freelance writer settled in Shizuoka with her husband and two rabbits. Fascinated with travelling at the age of 18, she has spent most of her long holidays exploring incredible spots around Japan. Also love to listen to music, draw, and read novels over a cup of green tea.

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