10 Best Early Blooming Sakura Spots in Japan February-March 2022

Kawazuzakura Places to visit in Japan

The sakura, or cherry blossom in Japanese, is a symbolic flower in Japan. They start to bloom in the early spring, and continue to spread up throughout the country along with the warm spring climate. Sakura tend to start blooming from the middle of March to April, but there are early blooming sakura that make it possible for you to enjoy the beautiful pink flowers from February on. Here are the 10 best early blooming sakura spots in Japan from February-March!    

What is Hanami?

Hanami(花見), or cherry blossom viewing, is a Japanese phrase that literally means to look at or observe flowers. There is a traditional custom in Japan where people try to enjoy the short but sweet and beautiful sakura period in the spring. Hanami is typically done by going out and having a picnic under the blooming cherry blossom trees with food and drinks while observing and appreciating the short lived delicacy.

Cherry Blossom Season in Japan 2022

In general, the cherry blossoms start to bloom from the south to the north end of Japan. However that being said, there are always places and spots that start blooming before the rest of the country. Every year, the Japan Meteorological Corporation releases a forecast of the dates when cherry blossoms will start to flower as well as when they will reach full bloom. 

Here is the forecast for 2022:

However this forecast only shows the general blooming period for the more well known spots and for the Yoshino Cherry Trees(most common). There are a number of types of cherry trees such as the atami sakura, as well as certain areas that are ahead of the rest of Japan in their blooming period. We have put together a list of those places for you so you don’t miss out on anything!

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 hour journey from Tokyo if you take the ‘Super View Odoriko’ JR limited express. It takes you directly to Kawazu station which is within a short walking distance to the popular kawazu-zakura viewing spot. Sakura in the Kawazu area start to bloom in early February, and visitors are able to enjoy a pink setting 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 February 28th in 2022, Sakura trees are beautifully illuminated at night!    

Best time to see early blooming Sakura in Kawazu

Early February to early March  

How to get there

From Tokyo, take the ‘Super View Odoriko’ limited express to Kawazu station.

The shinkansen is also available to take to Atami station where you will need to transfer to the Izu Kyuko Line.

2. Mt. Matsuda Herb Garden (Kanagawa)

Mt. Matsuda Herb Garden is a beautiful garden located in the western part of Kanagawa prefecture. It takes about 80min to get there from JR Shinjuku station with the Odakyu Line to get to Matsuda station. The herb garden is nestled on the hillside of Mt. Matsuda and is home to 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 will still be snowcapped! Under the countless number of sakura trees, you will find lovely yellow rape flowers which create a beautiful contrast with the pink sakura petals!   

Best time to see early blooming Sakura at Mt. Matsuda Herb Garden 

Mid-February to mid-March

How to get there

About 80min from JR Shinjuku station with the Odakyu Line

3. Komatsugaike (Kanagawa)

Another popular early sakura blooming spot in Kanagawa prefecture is Komatsugaike. It is only about a 15min walk away from MiuraKaigan Station after taking 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 all the way to the peaceful Komatsugaike Park. Komatsugaike Park is a pleasant spot for relaxing while you are surrounded by nature or enjoying some activities like birdwatching. The yellow from the rape flowers planted under the sakura trees is also a magificent sight. The Miura Kaigan Sakura Festival is held from mid-February through the end of the month every year.         

Best time to see early blooming Sakura in Komatsugaike

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 in the south end of the Izu peninsula in Shizuoka prefecture. This traditional hot spring resort has a long history that dates back to the 16th century. Along the Aono river, which peacefully runs 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 the rape flower. In the evening from 6pm to 9pm, visitors can enjoy illuminated sakura trees as well.  

Best time to see early blooming Sakura at Shimogamo Onsen

Early to late February 

How to get there

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

5. Sakuma Dam (Chiba)

If you are looking for an early sakura blooming spot around Chiba prefecture, head to Sakuma Dam, which is located in the southern part of the Boso peninsula. This peninsula covers the vast majority of Chiba, and is famous for its warm climate which helps plants and flowers grow faster. Sakuma Dam is an artificial dam which has a beautiful park with 2,000 sakura trees and other seasonal flowers such as the narcissus and palm blossoms. Two sakura viewing festivals are held here annually. The first one is from mid-February to mid-March, and the second one is from mid-March to mid-April. The park is also a perfect spot for families to relax at on weekends and let their children play out in the refreshing nature.   

Sakura

Best time to see early blooming Sakura at Sakuma Dam 

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 and get off at Hota station. It is about a 20min bus ride from there 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 you can make use of for free. What makes it so special and different from other blooming spots is the variety of sakura trees they have. There are 10 different types of sakura trees which bloom at different times of the year! While some start to bloom from mid-March, others wont bloom until mid to late April! 

Best time to see early blooming Sakura at Kamigori Sakura Garden

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 their countless number of hot spring spots that can be found across the prefecture. Youra Peninsula is a bit off the beaten path, but is one of the largest sakura viewing spots in Oita with more than 5,000 sakura trees planted by locals. Sakura in Youra area gradually start to bloom in early February, and the best time of the year to visit is mid-February when they are in full bloom! They also offer a stunning contrast with the beautiful blue ocean.    

Best time to see early blooming Sakura at Youra Peninsula

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 its beautiful sakura trees that bloom the earliest in all of Japan. As you drive through the 4.5km road leading up to the top of the mountain, you are welcomed by approximately 7,000 sakura trees, which create a breathtakingly world of pink! The color of the sakura flowers in Okinawa is slightly darker than the ones on the main island of Japan. The Mt. Yae Cherry Blossom Festival is held every year from mid-January through the end of the month.  

Best time to see early blooming Sakura at Mt. Yae

Mid to late January 

How to get there

From Naha airport, take the highway bus to the Nago Bus Terminal. From there 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 has a beautiful Japanese-style garden and buildings that were built way back in the 17th century. They were originally owned by the Shimazu family, who 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 a number of visitors every year. A Samurai Armor Experience is also a must-try!

Best time to see early blooming Sakura in Senganen

Mid-February to late April 

How to get there

From Kagoshima Chuo Station, take the ‘Kagoshima City View’ City Bus, which is about a 50min ride 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 little town covers the southern part of Murotsu Peninsula as well as 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 was previously the 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 spring season, the hillsides of the park are completely covered with yellow narcissuses and pink sakura flowers, which offers a beautiful contrast with the blue ocean!   

Best time to see early blooming Sakura at Kaminoseki Shiroyama Historical Park

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 organizing your trip to Japan, you should definitely think about checking out our private tours with an English speaking guide. We also offer exciting food and drink tours where your guide will take you to the locals’ favorite places. 

Most of the early Sakura viewing spots above can be enjoyed from early February. They might just be the perfect option for you if you are planning a trip in February/March, or just 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 can be limited. We hope you enjoyed reasing about some of the best early blooming sakura spots in Japan from February to March and that you have a chance to check some of them out in the future!

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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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