Tokyo’s Chidorigafuchi moat was constructed around the Imperial Palace centuries ago, in the early Edo period (1603-1868) when the Tokugawa Shogunate ruled Japan. Today it’s one of the most picturesque places in Tokyo to view the sakura cherry blossoms, either from the banks of the moat or from inside it on a rowboat or pedal-boat.
Now that we’ve heard from the respondents about their top ten hanami spots, it’s time to press them for another top ten, and this time it’s: The hanami spot I most want to visit before I die.
Usuzumi Zakura is one of Japan’s oldest cherry blossom trees, located not far from the city of Gifu, in Neodani Valley in Neo Village, Motosu. Said to be approximately 1,500 years old, this sakura tree is said to have been planted by Emperor Keitai in the sixth century.
9. Kakunodate (Akita)
Kakunodate is famous for its weeping sakura, which cascade over traditional residences in the old samurai town.
8. Osaka Mint Bureau (Osaka)
Making another appearance in the survey is the Osaka Mint Bureau, with its short week-only viewing period making it a sought-after destination.
7. Takato-Joshi Koen (Nagano)
Takato-Joshi Koen also makes another appearance, and with photos this stunning, it’s easy to see why.
6. Miharu Takizakura (Fukushima)
Miharu Takizakura, which literally translates to “waterfall cherry tree of Miharu”, is an ancient sakura tree in Miharu that’s more than 1,000 years old. The weeping tree is classified as one of the five great cherry trees of Japan, and one of the three giant cherry trees of Japan. Designated a national treasure in 1922, the tree blooms with light pink flowers spreading out in all directions, like a waterfall.
5. Goryōkaku (Hokkaido)
Goryokaku once again proves to be popular, and with good reason. The unusual raised fort construction provides walkways on different levels, creating an all-encompassing view that makes you feel like you’re walking on clouds of cherry blossoms.
Surprisingly, no one spot in Kyoto is specified in this response; instead people dream of viewing the blossoms against the ancient city’s backdrop of traditional shrines, temples and tenement houses. And they probably dream of enjoying it without the hordes of tourists too.
3. Washington D.C. (U.S.A)
Another surprising entry on the list shows people have an interest in viewing the cherry blossoms outside of Japan, in Washington, where the cherry blossoms bloom around the Tidal Basin, the Washington Monument, and in East Potomac Park. In 1912, over 3,000 sakura were sent to the United States as a gift of friendship from the people of Japan, so a visit to see these special trees in bloom is a top dream destination for a number of Japanese people.
2. Mount Yoshino (Nara)
Once again, Mount Yoshino is popular, with people dreaming of ascending the slopes under a sea of cherry blossoms.
1. Hirosaki Park (Aomori)
Hirosaki Park takes top place on this list, and it’s well deserved. The expansive grounds provide you with a number of picturesque hanami spots, which come with a beautiful castle backdrop and moats that fill with fallen sakura petals, creating gorgeous cherry blossom carpets that draw crowds of visitors to Aomori year after year.
So there you have it – the top 10 best hanami spots in Japan and the top 10 hanami spots people wish to visit before they die. How many have you been to on the list? Let us know in the comments below, and if you’re looking for more recommended cherry blossom destinations, head on over here to view 45 more spots around Japan, from Hokkaido all the way down to Kyushu!