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Go Cherry Blossom Recognizing in Honshu Japan for Sakura Season in 2024

Go Cherry Blossom Recognizing in Honshu Japan for Sakura Season in 2024

Exploring the most captivating cherry blossom spots across central Japan for sakura season? Here are the best luxurious hotels to check into for an unforgettable experience. Our recommendations include some of the most spectacular spots on Japan’s Honshu Island, which boast the most unforgettable cherry vistas and hospitality hotspots.

Japan is a fascinating country with some of the most amazing heritage sites and futuristic cities in existence today. Centuries of unbroken imperial rule has led to the proliferation of feudal castles and imperial capitals across the ancient empire, while cities like Tokyo and Osaka are paving the way to the future.

The best cherry blossom viewing hotspots in Japan to visit this sakura season

Under the cover of spectacular blooms in springtime, these enigmatic destinations are resplendently dressed in pink and other seasonal hues, becoming simply ravishing sights to behold. It’s no wonder that some of Japan’s best, from vibrant design-centric city hotels to luxurious onsen resorts both traditional and contemporary, are in and around these destinations. Read on to discover our recommendations for where to experience cherry blossom season in Japan, as well as where you can rest your feet for the night.

The Castle Towns

Karuizawa

(Image: Japan Travel)

Where to view cherry blossoms – Komoro Castle Park

Karuizawa is one of the oldest and most famous summer resorts in Japan. It was developed as a European-style resort town by a Scottish-Canadian missionary in 1888. In the following decades, the town attracted visitors from across the country seeking to escape the heat of summer.

Karuizawa is known for its historic shopping street known as “Ginza dōri” or “Kyū-dō”. Merely 25 minutes away from Karuizawa by train is the Komoro Castle Park, an 800-year-old feudal ruin site that still features impressive stone foundations and an intact San-no-mon gate. Komoro Kaikoen is considered one of Japan’s top 100 sakura viewing spots and blooms can be expected from early April onwards.

Where to stay – Hoshinoya Karuizawa

Located 90 minutes from Tokyo in the mountainous Nagano Prefecture, Hoshinoya Karuizawa is a luxurious haven for birds and travellers alike. The premises border the Karuizawa National Wild Bird Sanctuary Forest, and one of the resort’s eco-tourism activities includes a tour through the sanctuary led by Picchio, a group of professional guides who know the forest inside and out. Surrounded by nature at the foot of Mt. Asama within a valley with pristine rivers, the resort is a gorgeous eco-friendly sanctuary nestled in the splendour of the Japanese elements. Under the flurries of spring, the resort is doubly alluring.

Matsumoto

(Image: Sora Yamagake/Unsplash)

Where to view cherry blossoms – Matsumoto Castle

Acclaimed for its beautiful mountain views, Matsumoto is located in the Matsumoto Basin of the central Nagano Prefecture. The city is also renowned for its regally conserved castle, which managed to escape being completely razed by the Meiji edicts. Having survived the wars of the past, it remains largely intact today and is one of only 12 castles in Japan that have managed to do so. The heritage precinct in Matsumoto is Nawate Street, which grew in prominence after Yohashira Shrine was built there in 1879, The shops here still sell Japanese snacks, sweets, toys, ceramics, and more. There are plenty of alluring sakura trees inside and along the castle walls.

Where to stay – KAI Matsumoto

KAI Matsumoto is a hot spring ryokan located in the historical Asama Onsen parcel a mere 20-minute drive from Matsumoto Castle. Once an old building, the hotel was remodelled to feature a ‘concert hall lobby’ with intriguing interior design accents that are as avant-garde as they are classically Japanese. The hot spring facilities here include indoor and outdoor pools and some rooms are also installed with private open-air onsens. The elegantly-assembled meals here are quite the draw, as are the thoughtful, genteel service and nightly lobby concerts.

Inuyama

(Image: Indigo Inuyama)

Where to view cherry blossoms – Inuyama Castle, Kisogawa River

Inuyama is a heritage city in the Nagoya prefecture with a castle located on a hill overlooking the Kiso River. From the top of the castle, one is rewarded with a wonderful 360-degree view of the city, the Kiso River, and even the faraway Nagoya skyline. Inuyama Castle is undoubtedly the main draw here for its historic and cultural significance. The small wooden castle is one of the last original 12 castles in Japan, and also one of only 5 designated as national treasures. There are about 400 cherry trees around the castle and along the banks of the Kisogawa river. Blooms are expected here from late March onwards.

Where to stay – Indigo Inuyama

Indigo Inuyama is probably the city’s most prominent hotel du jour. The spanking new restored property is parked right next to the castle as well as the celebrated Urakuen gardens, a cluster of heritage teahouses set amidst a regal classical Japanese garden. The hotel is a spirited celebration of all things Inuyama, from the reinvented art and history of the place etched into its design, to the rooms and suites pointed towards the grand heritage relic nestled atop the nearby hill. There is also a tranquil onsen open to all guests of the hotel which is so very restorative after a day spent exploring the quaint attractions nearby.

Kanazawa

(Image: Robby McCullough/Unsplash)

Where to view cherry blossoms – Kanazawa Castle Park, Kenrokuen Gardens

Kanazawa sits between the Sai and Asano rivers, and the eastern portion of the city is dominated by the Japanese Alps. The name “Kanazawa” literally means “marsh of gold” and the city is renowned for its gold leaf productions. The vast wealth generated was channelled into arts and crafts, rather than military pursuits, and Kanazawa became the centre of the “Million-koku Culture”.

Today we see vestiges of the city’s glorious past via attractions like Kanazawa castle park and Kenrukuen garden, which is also known as one of the ‘3 great gardens of Japan’. Other attractions include the Oyama shrine and traditional architecture in the heritage district like the Nagamachi, Teramachi, and Higashi geisha areas. There are plenty of sakura spots in this olden city, which would definitely take more than a day to explore. Blooms are expected here from early April onwards.

Where to stay – Hyatt Centric Kanazawa

First opened in 2020 and located right in front of the Kanazawa railway station, Hyatt Centric Kanazawa is a full-service lifestyle hotel that serves as a launch pad for guests to explore and discover the best attractions of the city. With over 100 pieces of traditional and contemporary artwork woven into the design fabric of the hotel, guests can experience Kanazawa’s spirit through playful details and curated social spaces where people, food, art, and culture connect. This is definitely an elevated incarnation of the Hyatt Centric brand, where design and conception stand heads above the rest.

Resplendently Ornate Heritage Sites

Kyoto

(Image by Hoshino Resorts)

Where to view cherry blossoms – Kyoto Imperial Palace, Heian Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple, Kamogawa River, Nijo Castle

The emperors of Japan ruled from Kyoto for eleven centuries from 794 until 1869. With such a long history, Kyoto is a repository of many resplendent heritage architectural wonders that have survived tumultuous times, involving both wars and natural disasters. It is doubtlessly the city with the grandest accumulation of heritage sites in Japan. The splendid temples, graceful parks and many heritage addresses of Kyoto mirror the cultural resplendence of the country, with Kiyomizu Temple, Heian Shrine, Nijo castle, Kinkakuji and Sanjusangendo being just some of the city’s most popular heritage sites brimming with spectacular blooms.

In the springtime, Kyoto transforms from a wintry municipality to a spectacle of nature where the stunning cherry trees usher in a fortnight of dramatic cross-seasonal transformations. The sakura season is expected to arrive in Kyoto from around mid-March onwards this year.

Where to stay – Hyatt Regency Kyoto

One of the earliest international brands to make a presence in Kyoto, Hyatt Regency Kyoto has been meticulously maintained to retain its many charms. Quintessentially a Japanese beauty set within a walled compound, visitors are wont to remember the serenity of its rock garden and the elegance of its rooms radiating with cultural resplendency. The conception of this property may be inherently small, but for years now, it has been setting the gold standard in Japanese hospitality and will very likely continue along the path with gumption and form.

Where to stay – Roku Kyoto

Roku Kyoto is nestled in the handsome mountainous stretch of Kyoto’s Kitayama region, a luxurious retreat raised far from the maddening crowd where the travel-weary can come to rest. The rooms, some bedecked with private little onsen tubs, are sumptuous little hideaways that guests have no reason to leave over the duration of the stay, except to frolic in the main thermal pool or to indulge in the seasonal cuisines of the resort’s main restaurant, Tenjin. The resort is located close to Kinkakuji and Kitano Tenmangu, both popular flowering spots of northern Kyoto.

Where to stay – OMO 5 Kyoto

This slick and small property is nestled amongst the secretive alleys of the Gion district, located across from the Yasaka Shrine, which is, in essence, the cultural centre of Kyoto with all the yearly peagentries and festivities it hosts. In a nutshell, the concept of this hotel is to espouse all things local, which includes early morning shrine visits for guests and hotpot meals procured from celebrated local joints staged in the guestrooms. With some comfortably sized rooms that are designed with kitchenettes and living areas, OMO 5 provides conveniences for travellers that conventional hotels do not.

Nara

(Image: Zhaoli JIN/Unsplash)

Where to view cherry blossoms – Nara Park, Hasedera Shrine

Nara is home to stately temples, shrines, ruins, and most famously, deer. In springtime, these pesky messengers from the gods take a hiatus from demanding senbei from visitors. This is because the falling sakura petals provide a bonanza of seasonal snack for the insatiable herds. Nara’s other famous attractions include the behemoth structure Todaiji, where the world’s largest bronze buddha statue is enshrined, as well as the expansive heritage complex of the Kasuga Shrine, a thriving enigma of Japanese religiosity.

With its soft rolling hills dotted with cherry trees, Nara Park is always a busy haunt come springtime. The blooms are expected here from mid-late March onwards. Another famous sakura viewing spot in the Nara prefecture is the Hasedera shrine, a stunning temple complex raised on the mountainside bordering Yoshino that features a monumentally grand Kannon statue as well as the region’s best spring and autumn vistas.

Where to stay – Shisui, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Nara

Shisui is nestled in an enchanting classical Japanese garden that was once part of the grounds of Kofuku-ji temple, the family temple of the aristocratic Fujiwara clan which was established in Nara in 710 AD. Renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma conceptualised the overall design direction and interiors of the hotel, breathing new life into traditional Japanese architecture. The hotel’s reception lobby, restaurant, and lounge are situated in a charming historical wooden structure. First built in 1922 as the residence of the Governor of Nara, the structure features a classical Japanese roofed gate preserved as the hotel’s main entrance.

Where to stay – JW Marriott Hotel Nara

Japan’s only JW Marriott hotel was raised in Nara in recent years. The hotel features some stately and modern rooms and suites well-suited for business travellers and convention attendees, both sectors that have been greatly earmarked for Nara’s modern developments. This elegantly outfitted hotel also operates a string of fabulous restaurants, its fine-dining Azekura serving delectable teppanyaki and sushi menus amongst the best Nara has to offer today.

Nikko

cherry blossom season japan
(Image by Hoshino Resorts)

Where to view cherry blossoms – Nikkō Tōshō-gū, Kinugawa Onsen, Nikko Kaido Sakura Trail

Nikkō covers a vast area of rural northwestern Tochigi and is the third-largest city in Japan by size. Picturesque Lake Chūzenji and Kegon Falls lie in Nikkō, as does the Nikko Botanical Garden. The city’s many mountains and waterfalls have made it a popular site for nature buffs. The architecturally resplendent sites of Nikkō Tōshō-gū, Futarasan Shrine, and Rinnō-ji now form the UNESCO World Heritage Site Shrines and Temples of Nikkō, and are popular sakura viewing cultural spots.

Kinugawa Onsen is an onsen town located roughly 30 minutes away from Nikko by train. Over 300 metres of Yoshino cherry trees line the walking street of Sakuranamiki Street here. The best time to view cherry blossoms here is from early to mid-April onwards.

Where to stay – The Ritz-Carlton Nikko

See Also

cherry blossom season japan
(Image: The Ritz-Carlton Nikko)

The Ritz-Carlton Nikko debuted in 2020, a pristine haven in the historic mountain region of Nikko where the rich untouched natural environment entwines with centuries-old traditions. With 94 premium guest rooms and suites that are spacious and stylish, this plush mountain resort is raised for dream escapades, with four dining experiences that showcase Japanese craftsmanship and precision. This is by far the country’s comeliest Ritz Carlton property with design elements that truly elevate the brand’s conceptual manifesto.

Where to stay – KAI Kinugawa Onsen

KAI Kinugawa is a restful modern ryokan that is nestled out of sight from the town’s busy streets, raised high on a hilltop cloistered in natural seclusion. Some of the rooms here feature private onsens on the balcony, and a visit to the main pools includes ritualistic comforts one should not miss. Staff members endeavour to create meaningful connections between guests and the location, suggesting curated activities highlighting local customs and the art of the region. The resort grounds are lined with handsome cherry trees, which in springtime make for unforgettable moments.

The Flowering Metropolises

Osaka

cherry blossom season japan
(Image Bagus Pangestu/Pexels)

Where to view cherry blossoms – Osaka Castle, Osaka Mint Bureau, Expo’70 Commemorative Park

Osaka is the metropolis of Japan’s populous Kansai region, boasting some of the most iconic sights on the eastern flank. Sights like the riotous signages of Dotonbori, the chaotic nightlife of Namba, the skyscrapers of Umeda and the spectacular skyline of the Osaka castle are all invariably etched into the consciousness of foreigners, particularly those heading to Japan for the first time. In springtime, the city charms with the pink hues of its cherry groves, particularly those standing on the grounds of its handsome castle. Beyond sakura blossoms, blooms of a diverse range can also be found throughout spring at Maishima Seaside Park, Flower Expo Memorial Park Tsurumi Ryokuchi, and Sakai Harvest Hill.

Where to stay – Intercontinental Osaka

Probably the Intercontinental brand’s grandest property in Japan, Intercontinental Osaka offers sleek minimalist accommodations with elemental design accents and stupendous views. True to form, there is a huge gym, wonderful hydro facilities, a great club lounge, and a bevvy of fabulous restaurants installed here, mostly at a great height from the ground. Guests are thusly afforded that giddying sense of arrival that usually accompanies every first check-in.

Where to stay – Conrad Osaka

Quite the definitive modern babel invested on the tiny sliver of terra that is Nakanoshima, Conrad Osaka affords visitors with splendid 360-degree views of the city from its lofty perch, and count many architectural landmarks like the City Hall, the Nakanoshima Library and the Central Public Hall as its neighbours. The rooms here are amongst the city’s plushest, and excellent facilities like its pool, executive lounge, and restaurants are also amongst the precinct’s best.

Tokyo

cherry blossom season japan
(Image by Hoshino Resorts)

Sakura Viewing Sites – Ueno Park, Shinjuku Park, Nakameguro, Imperial Palace East Garden, Yoyogi Park, Sumida Park

Without the allure of its springtime blooms, not many would get to know the fabulous parks and gardens this futuristic metropolis has to offer. Like the other municipalities of Japan, Tokyo balances the urban and the natural with aplomb, and there are parks, rivers, and gardens to indulge its residents’ yearly call to hanamis come each sakura season.

Ueno Park is probably Tokyo’s largest park, and it is here that visitors can roam and escape the city’s gritty realities. Shinjuku Park, however, is the loveliest natural respite around the frenetic Shinjuku ward. The rivers that flow through Tokyo are also some of the favourite haunts of merrymakers in the springtime — Sumida Park is close to the bustling attractions of Asakusa while Nakameguro is breathtaking, with its sakura-lined banks bursting forth along the city’s suburban artery.

Where to stay – Park Hyatt

The most enigmatic of hotels with a grand personality to boot, Park Hyatt Tokyo evidently has a legion of fans who are in love with its audacious conception and whimsical accents. This is also the very spot in which visitors can acquaint themselves with true imperial service. 21 years after its stratospheric part in Lost in Translation, Park Hyatt Tokyo is finally ready for a facelift and will be closed for extensive year-long renovations right after the sakura season of 2024.

Where to stay – Hoshinoya Tokyo

Regal, elegant, and quintessentially Japanese, Hoshinoya Tokyo is emblematic of traditional Japanese forms emerging from its old shell for the modern age. In essence, it is a traditional ryokan reimagined for the sky, where the styling is exquisite, and the scenes elevated. The many wonderful old constructs take on new life and purposes in this coveted abode for the discerning and the adoring, and it is a joy to luxuriate within the sumptuous rooms, which are imbued with uncommon beauty.

Where to stay – Ascott Marunouchi

With so many attractions and distractions in the city, it makes perfect sense to linger and explore more in Tokyo. Boasting a central perch within the city’s stylish Marunouchi precinct, the comfortable and classically handsome temporal abode proffers plenty of advantages for visitors looking to set up camp. The size is a definite plus, and the in-room amenities include fully equipped kitchenettes that will allow explorers to better live and experience Tokyo like a local.

(Main and featured image: Hoshino Resorts)

Source: Prestige Online

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