Hiroshima in spring is full of cherry blossoms (called Sakura in Japanese). There are a number of famous spots for cherry blossom viewing (hanami in Japanese). Numerous parks and shrines dot the city and are idyllic spots to see cherry blossoms in their full glory every spring.

Whether you want to see cherry blossoms in bloom in historical and traditional settings, from a leisurely river cruise, or in a natural looking forest, the city of Hiroshima offers a wide array of options.

With so many choices to pick from, it can be hard to know which one is the best choice for you and the people you’re traveling with. Here’s an overview of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Hiroshima.

Please note from late March through early April is considered the best time to see sakura in Hiroshima! Therefore, if you are interested in exploring the following hanami spots, be sure to arrive on time.

1) Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Cherry blossoms at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Photo Credit: Yasuhiro ARAKAWA at Flickr.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park sits in the center of the city, near the place where the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945 during World War II. The park is a memorial of the event, as well as a place where all people can pray for peace. It is a lovely place to spend time. You can walk around the park, visit the Peace Memorial Museum, or sit and watch the river go by.

It is also a great place to view sakura. There are 300 trees in the park, planted throughout the whole park, with a number of them found along the river. You can take a river taxi along the river to see them from a different perspective. The park does get busier during cherry blossom season, but there is often enough space to spread a blanket on the ground under one of the blooming trees.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is located in the center of the city and all of the city’s public transportation stops nearby. The park is open 24 hours year round and entry is free.

2) Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle in the spring. Photo Credit: Yasuhiro ARAKAWA at Wikimedia Commons.

Hiroshima Castle, also known as the Carp Castle, is a reconstruction of the original castle that was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945. Hiroshima was originally built around the castle. The current castle was completed in 1958 and hosts a museum on Hiroshima’s history. There are some incredible views of the city from Hiroshima Castle’s top floor.

The Hiroshima Castle’s grounds host a number of cherry blossom trees. There are two lines of them planted along either side of the moat. Walking around under the blooms is a very enjoyable experience.

You can access Hiroshima Castle via a ten-minute walk from the Kamiyacho-nishi or Kamiyacho-Higashi tram stops, as well as a 10-minute walk from Shukkeien or a 15-minute walk from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The city’s orange and lemon routes of the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus also stop at the castle. The park grounds are open 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM during cherry blossom season and there is no entry fee. The caste museum hours are long, running to 6:00 PM, and there is a 370 yen admission fee.

3) Shukkeien Garden

Hanami at Shukkeien Garden. Photo Credit: HIROSHIMAKEN SHUKKEIEN.

This garden’s name can be translated as “shrunken-scenery garden”. Shukkeien Garden contains a number of valleys, forests, and mountains all replicated in miniature. The garden was built in 1620. It contains many tea houses and a path leads you past all the carefully crafted miniature scenes.

There are around 200 cherry blossom trees planted in Shukkeien garden. Cherry blossom viewing in Shukkeien garden is remarkably serene. You’ll find most of the trees either at the main entrance or the eastern edge.

You can reach Shukkeien Garden via a 15-minute walk from Hiroshima Station. By bus, it can be reached on the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus. Shukkeien Garden’s hours during cherry blossom season are 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Admissions costs 260 yen.

4) Miyajima (Itsukushima)

Tahoto Pagoda and Sakura, Miyajima Island. Photo Credit: Oren Rozen at Wikimedia Commons.

Miyajima (“shrine island”) is a tiny island that sits less than an hour outside Hiroshima. Its orange tori gate is its most well-known feature. It is a sight to behold, especially at high tide, when it seems to float in the water. The island is named for its key shrine, Itsukushima Shrine, which has most of its buildings built over water. The island is considered a romantic location. It is quite busy during the day, but it becomes much quieter in the evening.

Cherry blossom viewing in Miyajima is truly photogenic. The trees are very spread out, blooming near many of the iconic buildings found on the island.  It’s a delightful day trip, though you will probably find many other tourists enjoying the views.

You can reach Miyajima by taking a ferry, which can be reached by taking the JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station. You could also take tram line #2 from central Hiroshima bound for Miyajimaguchi. The island is open 24 hours, but the ferries make between six to eight trips a day. Ferry trips cost 260 yen each way.

5) Hijiyama Park

Hijiyama Park during spring. Photo Credit: Hiroshima City.

This park provides some incredible view of the city of Hiroshima. It has become more and more popular as a fine arts park, containing art installations like Henry Moore’s Arch as well as the Hiroshima City Museums of Contemporary Art and the Hiroshima City Manage Library. Both of these locations provide a great spot for photos of the city. You can find people picnicking along the paths the wind throughout the park.

There are close to 1300 cherry blossom trees lining the paths of Hijiyama Park. It is a great place to picnic and take pictures during hanami season. The park is also a popular nighttime cherry blossom (yozakura) viewing spot. It gets very lively at night, though the park does still close at 11:00 PM.

Hijiyama Park is open from 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM. You can reach it via the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus or by taking the Hiroshima Electric Railway to Hijiyama-shita Station.

6) Senkoji Park

Senkoji Park. Photo Credit: Japan Airlines.

Many consider Senkoji Park one of Japan’s 100 best cherry blossom viewing spots. It is one of the symbols of Onomichi in eastern Hiroshima. The park is named after a Buddhist and Shinto temple found nearby, Senko-ji, which sits halfway up Mount Daiho (140 meters tall). Senkoji Ropeway is one of the most popular ways to get a great view and costs 320 yen one way. There is also a panorama observatory at the very top of the mountain that allows you to see an epic view of Onomichi and the islands in the Seto Inland Sea.

There are around 1500 cherry trees found in Senkoji Park. The temple is one of the best places to see them in full bloom. Since the park is open 24 hours, the cherry blossoms are lit up by paper lanterns every evening, transforming the park in a mystical vision from another world.

The park is a 30-minute walk from JR Onomichi Station via the “Furudera-Meguri Course” and a 15-minute walk from JR Onomichi Station (this takes you to the ropeway base station). There is no fee to enter the park itself, but there is a fee for the ropeway. Likewise, while the park is always open, the ropeway is open from 9:00 AM to 5:15 PM.