The Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms (And Eat Dango) in Japan

Enjoy sakura season like a local!

Spring is cherry blossom season in Japan. During this time, locals head over to popular viewing spots to take in the beauty of the trees while enjoying dango (a sweet Japanese dumpling). In this article, we list down all the well-known places for beautiful cherry blossoms and the delicious Japanese confection.

Ukai-zakura of Nagara-gawa river bank in Gifu Park
From Omiya to Kagamiiwa, Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture
Contact: +81-58-214-2182 (Park Maintenance Division of Gifu City)
Open 24 hours

Approximately 540 cherry blossom trees, such as Yoshino cherry, weeping cherry, and kohigan cherry, line Gifu Park and the left bank of Nagara River. The name of Ukai-zakura comes from the fact that they used to tell a fortune of Ukai (cormorant fishing) by the number of blossoms during ancient times. The cherry blossoms are at their best in the last third of March.

Where to get your dango fix: You should visit Ryokusui-an Kawaramachi-ten, a Japanese confectionery store three minutes away by car from this cherry blossom spot. They’re known for giving special attention to the ingredients in their dango. Recently, An de Deko-dango (¥540), a new dumpling of sweet bean and powdered tea with strawberry and golf leaf, has been introduced. Visit this store early because they stop selling their dango when they run out of strawberries.

Their An de Deko-dango is pretty popular.

Teraoga-hara Senbon-zakura Park
Taniguchiterao, Mugegawa Town, Seki City, Gifu Prefecture
Contact: +81-575-46-2311(Seki City Mugegawa Office)
Open 24 hours
Illumination hours: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The cherry blossoms on the road are a grand sight. 

More than 1,000 Yoshino cherries blossom in full glory along 2 kilometers of the prefectural road. During the cherry blossom season, the park is alive with food stalls. The flowers are at their best from the first third of April. During the season, they light the trees up at night.

Sakura-mochi makes for the perfect sakura viewing snack!

Where to get your dango fix: Wagashidokoro Seki-shi Toraya is 26 minutes from Teraoga-hara Senbon-zakura Park by car. Try their Sakura-mochi (¥118), a rice cake filled with sweet bean paste and wrapped in a springy dough. It has just the right combination of salty taste, sweetness, and aroma.

Garyu-zakura of Ichinomiya
275-1, Ichinomiya Town, Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture
Contact: +81-577-53-2149 (Hida Ichinomiya Tourist Association)
Open 24 hours

Garyu-zakura is a cherry blossom tree designated as a natural monument. What’s striking is that it looks like a dragon lying on the ground. You will be overwhelmed by the 20-meter tree, which is 1,100 years old. Mid-April, when it is in full bloom, the Garyu-zakura Matsuri (Festival) is held.

Don’t miss out on the Ichigo-Daifuku. 

Where to get your dango fix: Tohoen is just 20 minutes away from Garyo-zakura by car. A special confection of this store is the Ichigo-Daifuku (¥250), a soft rice cake with strawberry. It has just the right combination of strawberry and springy dough with sweet bean jam made of condensed milk.

Usuzumi-zakura of Motosu
995 Neoitasho Jodan, Motosu City, Gifu Prefecture
Contact: +81-581-34-3988 (MotosuTourist Association)
Open 24 hours
Illumination hours: 6:40 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Usuzumi-zakura is 1,500-year-old cherry blossom tree. It is the first tree to be designated as a natural monument. Usuzumi means light black ink in Japanese. Usuzumi-zakura seems to be painted light black ink when the flowers are about to fall; hence the name. The cherry blossoms are at their best from the first third of April. Expect illumination displays during this season as well.

Usuzumi-zakura Uiro is sweet and soft. 

Where to get your dango fix: Okashidokoro Yoshino-ya Honten is 30 minutes from Usuzumi-zakura by car. It has been 140 years since the store was established. While there, make sure to try the Usuzumi-zakura Uiro (¥750), sweet rice jelly with pickled cherry in brine.

Naegi-sakura Park
Naegi, Nakatsugawa City, Gifu Prefecture
Contact: +81-573-62-2277(Nakatsugawa Tourist Information Center)
Open 24 hours

In Naegi-sakura Park, one of 33 Most Beautiful Sakuras in Hida Mino district, approximately 700 Yoshino cherry trees blossom in full glory at once.

Naegi-sakura Park is located on the north side of the ruins of Naeki Castle. The full bloom of 700 Yoshino cherry blossom trees is so glorious that it has been designated as one of 33 Most Beautiful Sakuras in the Hida Mino district. In the first third of every April, when it is in full bloom, the Sakura Matsuri (Festival) is held.

Fuku-Mochi (¥729) is limitedly sold every 7th of each month 

Where to get your dango fix: Kurikasho Shichifuku is a store specializing in the sweetened mixture of boiled and mashed chestnuts. It takes 20 minutes to get there from Naegi-sakura Park by car. The Fuku-Mochi, a monthly Japanese-style confection only sold every 7th each month, is a popular pasalubong.

Provided by Japan Walker™, Tokai Walker™, and Walkerplus™ (7 March 2018)

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