Cherry blossom season in Okayama usually starts in early April. There are many places to enjoy these lovely blossoms, from traditional gardens to modern parks to historic castles. Even the occasional rainy April weather does not diminish the loveliness of Okayama cherry blossoms.

These flowers are quite tough and newer blossoms especially can handle wind and rain very well. Cherry blossoms in Okayama generally look their best for about a week after full bloom.

If you’re looking for the best cherry blossom spots in Okayama, try taking a look at any of these incredible places to enjoy your cherry blossom viewing party:

1) Handayama Botanical Garden

Handayama Botanical Garden’s sakura. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Handayama Botanical Garden is located close to downtown Okayama City, making it a perfect cherry blossom viewing spot for anyone staying in the city itself. There are around forty-five varieties of cherry trees located in Handayama Botanical Garden, with over one thousand trees in the park itself.

When the cherry blossoms bloom, the whole hilly area seems to turn pink. Many cherry blossom festivals are held within the park, where the flowers are lit up at night and there are booths to purchase food and souvenirs. The garden covers about 110,000 meters squared and offers plenty of areas for visitors to explore, full of plenty of greenery as well as the blooming cherry trees.

There are plenty of lawn to enjoy a picnic and the hilly landscape can give you some excellent views of the city. Outside of cherry blossom season, many other kinds of flower bloom, so there’s always a sight to see when visiting Handayama Botanical Garden.

The garden’s hours are 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. General admission costs 308 yen, while children ages six to fourteen cost 124 yen and children five years and younger are free. Parking costs 300 yen. Handayama Botanical Garden is also a 15-minute walk from JR Hokaiin station.

2) Asahi River Sakura Road

Tons of Sakura along the Asahi River Sakura Road. Photo Credit: Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation.

For a different kind of cherry blossom viewing experience in Okayama, visit the Asahi River Sakura Road. This stretch of road travels 1.3 km along the Asahi River, on the east side of Okayama Korakuen Garden. There are about 200 cherry trees along it.

The Asahi River Sakura Road is a very popular cherry blossom spot for tourists in the area, and it’s quite common to find groups of people picnicking, barbecuing, or partying here during cherry blossom season. It’s a lively hanami spot every year. At night, the trees are lit up for a spectacular view and locals opens stalls that sell food and drink.

There is no entry fee to the road and no opening or closing hours. You can get to the Asahi River Sakura by taking the bus from JR Okayama Station to “Korakuenmae”; it’s about a 12-minute ride.

3) Tsuyama Castle (Kakuzan Park)

Tsuyama Castle and Sakura at Kakuzan Park. Photo Credit: denteru at Wikimedia Commons.

Kakuzan Park is located on the ruins of Tsuyama Castle. The castle is about 400 years old and all that remains of it today is a ten meter tall stone wall, which still retains much of the dignity and might of the original structure. Kakuzan Park is located in Tsuyama City. During cherry blossom season, the park’s approximately one thousand trees bloom in an incredible display.

Tsuayma Castle is rated as one of Japan’s top 100 castles and Kakuzan Park is considered one of the best cherry blossom viewing spots in the country. The views of the cherry blossoms around the great stone castle wall seem like something out of a fairy tale, while at night the trees are illuminated to offer a more mystical sight, especially when viewed from the top of the wall. Every year, the Tsuyama Cherry Blossom Festival is held here to enjoy the cherry blossoms and celebrate the area.

During cherry blossom season, Tsuyama Castle and Kakuzan Park are open at 7:30 AM and close at 10:00 PM. General admission is 300 yen, while children in junior high and younger can enter for free. Tsuyama Castle is located about a 10-minute walk from JR Tsuyama Station.

4) Daigo Cherry Tree

The famous Daigo sakura tree. Photo Credit: Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation.

While many cherry tree spots offer you the sigh of cherry trees carpeting hills, mountains, parks, and river banks, the Daigo Cherry Tree is something very different. This huge lone cherry tree has stood for 1,000 years and is said to be the largest in Okayama Prefecture. Even after all that time, it still blooms in brilliant color every April.

There are no other trees around it, so it stands like a mythical monument alone on a green hillside. In cherry blossom season, the blossoms are illuminated for an even more unearthly experience.

During hanami, the roads and the area around the Daigo Cherry Tree become very crowded as tourists flock to see the cherry blossoms. There are no opening or closing hours, though the illuminations last from sunset to 9:00 PM. There is also no admissions charge, but parking is very limited. You’ll need to take a taxi from JR Mimasaka Ochiai Station or drive about 30 minutes from Hokubo IC or Ochiai IC on the Chugoku Expressway.

5) Gaisen Cherry Trees of Shinjo Village

Gaisen Cherry Trees in Shinjo Village. Photo Credit: Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation.

Shinjo Village, home of the Gaisen Cherry Trees, is a former post town and is now a tourist spot, seeming to transport visitors back in time to the days when samurai walked the streets. It is also a very beautiful area, surrounded by mountains and featuring, of course, a lovely 400-meter long cherry blossom tunnel every April, the Gaisen Cherry Trees.

One hundred and thirty-two cherry trees lien the road running through the center of town. At night, the blossoms are lit up to create a unique experience.

Shinjo Village and the Gaisen Cherry Trees are can be reached by taking a bus bound for Shinjo from JR Chugoku Katsuyama Station for forty minutes, where you’ll get off the bus at the Michi-no-Eki Shinjo Mae. By car, Shinjo Village can be reached by driving fifteen minutes from Hiruzen IC on the Yonago Expressway.

6) Sakazu Park

Sakazu Park in spring. Photo Credit: Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation.

Five hundred cherry blossoms bloom every April at Sakazu Park, located in Sakazu. Those that line the park’s promenade are very popular and frequently photographed. The area around the park’s water gate is another sight worth seeing during cherry blossom season.

With variety of sakura trees including Yoshino and double-flowering cherry, this park can steal your heart right away! It’s pretty nice to walk around and of course celebrating hanami here is a top-notch.

Admission is free. You can get to Sakazu Park by a 10-minute bus ride from JR Kurashiki Station to Akebono-bashi. By car, it is a 20-minute drive from Kurashiki IC on the Sanyo Expressway.

7) Korakuen Garden

Sakura at Korakuen garden in Okayama. Photo Credit: Kimon Berlin at Flickr.

Korakuen Garden is one of the most celebrated gardens in the country and one of the most popular cherry blossom spots. It was created about three hundred years ago by the local lord as a symbol of samurai power.

The garden is centered around the lord’s former living quarters and features hills, ponds, plum groves, a tea plantation, many flowering plants, and about 300 cherry trees. The garden is designed as a circuit so that visitors can stroll through without having to worry about the direction they want to take. Nearby is Okayama castle, where there are around 200 more cherry trees.

In April, visitors can see these cherry blossoms bloom and coat the whole area with pink flowers. Strolling through Korakuen Garden during cherry blossom season is an experience you can’t get anywhere else, full not only of pink flowers but also incredible examples of Japanese architecture and landscaping.

During cherry blossom season, the hours are 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM. General admission is 400 yen. The admission for guests 65 years and older is 140 yen, while elementary and junior high students get in free if they show a student ID card. You can get to Korakuen Garden by a 10-minute bus ride from JR Okayama Station to “Korakuen-mae”. It is also a 10-minute walk from “Shiroshita” via the tram from JR Okayama Station.