G20 Osaka Summit

Summit Details

Cherry blossoms – a splash of spring color in Japan

When the cold eases and our gait becomes lighter, we feel that spring is in the air. Flowers burst into bloom everywhere, cheerfully tempting us to step out and about town. It is high time to enjoy the season of flowers. Sakura, the cherry blossoms so beloved by Japanese, is a sign of the arrival of spring. “Cherry blossom viewing” is one of spring features and “sakura viewing spots” across the nation come alive with a flurry of spectators in March and April.

Summit Venue 01 Cherry-blossom viewing: a spring tradition from ancient times

The beauty of nature is revered in Japan, where a love of seasonal flowering plants is part of the national culture. Flowers have played an indispensable role in Japan’s traditional celebrations; peach blossoms helps celebrate healthy growth of Japan’s girls during the March Doll Festival known as Hina Matsuri, irises support on Boys’ Day (Tango-no-Sekku) in May, and chrysanthemums take center stage in the September Chrysanthemum Festival (Choyo-no-Sekku), an appeal for health and longevity.

The tradition of enjoying a meal or sake while appreciating cherry blossoms began in the Edo era and became broadly popular with citizens. Cherry blossoms and flower viewing are now so inseparable from the concept of spring in Japan that the “cherry blossom forecast” has announced and it is a daily news item.

In Osaka, best cherry viewing season is from late March into April. Here are some recommended spots for the best cherry blossom viewing area.

Summit Venue 02 Enjoying cherry blossoms in Osaka, the “water capital”

Osaka’s water transport sustained the city’s development as an economic and cultural urban hub. A river cruise is the perfect way to enjoy flower viewing as you trace the 4.2km stretch of cherry trees along the banks of the centrally-located Okawa River in Kema Sakuranomiya Park. Meanwhile, some 3,000 cherry trees bloom in profusion in Osaka Castle Park, a major cherry viewing spot which does the city proud of. Nishinomaru Koen on the west side of the castle grounds features about 300 Somei Yoshino cherry trees, which draw a great crowd as they are illuminated at night for a spectacular view with the castle as a backdrop.

In mid-April, flower viewing shifts to the Osaka Mint Bureau, for yaezakura blossoms. In 1883, the bureau’s director declared his wish to enjoy the cherry blossoms “along with Osaka’s residents,” and open their private property to the public for a limited period. The bureau’s 560-meter promenade transforms into a tunnel of cherry blossoms which delight visitors with some 130 varieties of cherry trees in full bloom. The site is illuminated at night, enhancing the beauty of the mostly yaezakura trees. About 700,000 – 800,000 spectators visit to the Osaka Mint Bureau each year, during only week in which the grounds are open for cherry blossom viewing.

Cherry blossoms bloom everywhere in Japan, not only in famous spots. You can find them on the grounds of schools and government buildings, in neighborhood parks, along the banks of small rivers, and elsewhere. How about visiting Osaka to enjoy your own special encounter with beautiful cherry blossoms?