Sakura season is a highlight of spring in Japan, and there are a myriad of places to enjoy their beauty from the top to the bottom of the country. The Kansai region consists of Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyōgo and Shiga prefectures, and there are some absolutely breathtaking spots to appreciate cherry blossoms in this area. Wondering where to start? Here are five of the best destinations to get you inspired!

Kimii-dera Temple, Wakayama

Each year during spring, Wakayama's Kimiidera Temple is home to a sakura festival that celebrates these beautiful blooms in all their glory. The temple precinct is home to an impressive 500 cherry trees, and it was designated as one of Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom viewing spots back in 1990. The festival dates can fluctuate slightly from year to year depending on blooming conditions, but plan for March 20th until April 20th based on previous events.

1201 Kimiidera, Wakayama, 641-0012

Kimiidera Temple
Kimiidera Temple (Photo: Hiroaki Kaneko/CC By SA 3.0)

Mount Yoshino, Nara

Nara's Mount Yoshino is home to a whopping 30,000 sakura trees filling the landscape at different elevations. The trees are so densely packed in places that the mountain gets referred to as a spot where you can enjoy a thousand cherry trees in one glance - pretty impressive! From the late March to late April timeframe, a sakura festival and illumination event is typically held at the mountain to add to the atmosphere.

Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara 639-3115

Mount Yoshino covered in springtime color
Mount Yoshino covered in springtime color (Photo: Luka Peternel/CC By SA 4.0)

Himeji Castle, Hyogo

If you're seeking a quintessentially Japanese springtime scene, Himeji Castle is hard to beat. The castle's origins date back to 1333, and it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1993. There are close to 2000 cherry trees on the grounds here, and the spectacular scenery will have you understanding why this is the country's most-visited castle.

68 Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo 670-0012

Himeji Castle surrounded by springtime beauty
Himeji Castle surrounded by springtime beauty (Photo: Oren Rozen/CC By SA 4.0)

Hokoen and Nagahama Castle, Shiga

If you're in Shiga during spring, one of the prefecture's best destinations for cherry blossoms is at Hokoen Park, built on the site of the former Nagahama Castle ruins. The grounds are filled with around 600 Somei Yoshino sakura trees, and they have been designated as one of Japan's Top 100 cherry blossom viewing spots. If you want a unique vantage point out over the beautiful blooms, head up to the observation area at the Nagahama Castle Historical Museum to appreciate them from above.

1325 Koencho, Nagahama, Shiga 526-0065

Hokoen and Nagahama Castle, Shiga
Hokoen and Nagahama Castle, Shiga (Photo: アラツク/CC By SA 4.0)

Osaka Castle Park, Osaka

Osaka Castle is one of the city's most popular destinations year-round, but there's something extra special about the spring season here. There are approximately 3000 cherry trees on the castle park grounds in both Somei yoshino and yaezakura varieties, ensuring that there is plenty of beauty for visitors to enjoy. The best time to catch the trees at their best here is typically from late March until early April.

1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0002

Osaka Castle during spring
Osaka Castle during spring (Photo: Luka Peternel/CC By SA 4.0)