Hidden Spots for Cherry Blossom Season : Round Up

Jack Salter
By Jack Salter  - Head of Editorial 8 Min Read

When it comes to places to see cherry blossoms, Setouchi is truly blessed with variety. For each of the region’s prefectures, we showcase the spots to consider for cherry blossom viewing.


WHERE: Hyogo Prefecture 

Built under the orders of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Sasayama Castle is a historically significant site known for its rustic charm and tranquil atmosphere. The current structure retains its magnificent stone walls and features fine paintings from the Edo period, providing a window into Japan’s feudal past. 

During cherry blossom season, Sasayama Castle transforms into a spectacular viewing spot as the grounds offer a stunning display of trees. This creates an enchanting atmosphere, combining historical architecture with natural beauty, making it must-visit. 

Sasayama Castle is an ideal destination for those looking to experience the serenity and beauty of rural Japan, away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities such as Kobe and Osaka. 

HOW: Reaching Sasayama Castle is relatively straightforward. Visitors can take a 17-minute bus ride from Sasayamaguchi Station on the Fukuchiyama Line. From there, it’s a brief five-minute walk to the castle.


WHERE: Okayama Prefecture 

Tsuyama Castle, nestled in Kakuzan Park, was completed in 1616 by Mori Tadamasa, the first lord of the Tsuyama Clan, and stands out for its historical significance.  

Although its original structures were demolished, the largest watchtower was reconstructed in 2005, preserving the castle’s architectural heritage, including  
its remarkable turrets. 

Across Japan, Tsuyama Castle is a renowned cherry blossom viewing site and is particularly spectacular from late March to mid-April. Approximately 1,000 Yoshino cherry trees adorn the castle, creating a breathtaking landscape.  

During the Tsuyama Cherry Blossom Festival, visitors can enjoy the traditional paper lanterns, local delicacies, and a tea ceremony under the blossoms. 

HOW: Just a 10-minute walk from Tsuyama Station, reaching the castle is convenient and accessible for travellers. It is therefore a feasible destination for both local and international visitors looking to immerse themselves in the splendour of cherry blossoms in Western Japan.


WHERE: Hiroshima Prefecture 

This cherished cherry tree, which is approximately 430 years old and stands 11 metres tall, is way off the beaten path and designated as a natural monument by the town. 

Believed to have been originally planted as a marker for an ancient tomb, the tree has been carefully preserved and is a testament to the region’s commitment to protecting its natural and historical treasures. 

Mid-to-late April is typically the best time to visit Nagasawa no Shidare-zakura for cherry blossom viewing, however, the exact timing may vary depending on the climate.  

During the cherry blossom season, a breathtaking and serene ambience is created by the tree’s spectacular weeping branches, making it a must-visit for those seeking a tranquil nature experience in the Hiroshima countryside. 

HOW: Nagasawa no Shidare-zakura can only be reached by car and is approximately a 50-minute drive from the Togouchi Interchange on the Chugoku Expressway.


WHERE: Yamaguchi Prefecture 

A remarkable example of traditional Japanese architecture and engineering, this five-arched wooden bridge spans the Nishiki River and changes its aspect with the seasons.  

Originally built in 1673, it has been designated as a National Site of Scenic Beauty. 

Kintaikyo Bridge is a particularly popular tourist destination from the end of March through to the beginning of April, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. This period also coincides with the local cherry blossom festival, featuring traditional lanterns and local delicacies.  

The bridge is surrounded by cherry trees that line the river, offering  
a stunning view of the blossoms, even in inclement weather.  

HOW: Kintaikyo Bridge is easily accessible from Iwakuni Station on the San’yō Main Line. Additionally, there is ample parking available for travellers who prefer rental cars, albeit with a parking fee during the cherry blossom season.


WHERE: Ehime Prefecture 

Hirakiyama Park is a picturesque destination renowned for its natural beauty. The park is adorned with over 1,000 cherry trees and many azaleas, offering a lush and vibrant setting. From its observatory, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding islands and bridges, making it a perfect spot for both nature lovers and photographers. 

In spring, particularly from early to mid-April, Hirakiyama Park becomes a haven for cherry blossom enthusiasts. The park is illuminated for cherry blossom viewing after sundown, creating a magical and enchanting atmosphere. 

HOW: The journey to Hirakiyama Park offers a scenic route that adds to the overall experience of visiting the area. Of course, having a rental car makes getting here much easier. 


WHERE: Tokushima Prefecture 

Kira no Edo-higan-zakura is a remarkable and historic cherry tree located with a divine posture. The tree’s age and size make it a significant natural monument in the region, offering  
a unique and spiritual cherry blossom viewing experience. 

The best time to view the cherry blossoms at Kira no Edo-higan-zakura is typically from the end of March to the beginning of April. This period attracts numerous visitors who come to admire the beauty and grandeur of this ancient tree. 

HOW: The hilly paths of Tokushima Prefecture’s mountainous core are not to be thought of as an inconvenience, as Kira no Edo-higan-zakura’s remote location only adds to its charm and provides a serene, peaceful environment for visitors. Connect with nature and experience the tranquillity of the Japanese countryside on your journey to the tree.


WHERE: Kagawa Prefecture 

Translating to “purple clouds emerging from mountains”, Mount Shiude is a significant natural landmark that offers a commanding view of the Seto Inland Sea, showcasing a stunning panorama.  

Mount Shiude’s unique geographical position allows for a comprehensive view of the Seto Inland Sea’s many islands, contributing to its recognition as a profoundly beautiful natural site. 

Renowned for having the best cherry blossoms in Kagawa Prefecture, Mount Shiude becomes an exceptional sight during cherry blossom season, typically around early April, as it is transformed into a spectacular canvas of pink blossoms against a deep blue backdrop. 

The mountain’s relatively undiscovered status adds to its charm, offering a secluded and authentic cherry blossom experience away from the more crowded spots. 

HOW: Mount Shiude is accessible via public transport and car.  
For those coming by air, it is approximately a 90-minute drive from Takamatsu Airport.

Read Issue 15 of Outlook Travel Magazine