Kansai Spring Travel Guide

5 Best Places to See Cherry Blossom in Hyogo

Interested in visiting Kansai region’s top hanami spots except the ones you find either in Kyoto and Nara? It would be more than just a great idea if you plan on visiting Hyogo this spring to see its splendid sakura out there.

Hyogo is famous for its incredible hanami spots, dramatic sandy beaches, Mt. Rokko night view, delicious local cuisines, hot springs, breathtaking landscape, and historic landmarks. It offers you a list of great things to do and see to make a great adventure on your own.

Himeji Castle – One of the greatest Japanese castles! Photo Credit: Reginald Pentinio at Flickr.

Every year in the spring, the iconic Himeji Castle and Osaka Castle offer visitors to witness tons of cherry blossoms on their grounds. In fact, these two famous landmarks are highly remarkable when it comes to exploring Japan’s elite cherry blossom spots!

Today, I take you on a journey through Hyogo’s most notable hanami spots to inspire your mind to come back here again in future. Don’t you forget that Hyogo is worth returning for, would it be summer or autumn? You have to decide!

1) Himeji Castle

This is just majestic! Photo Credit: LuxTonnerre at Flickr.

Himeji Castle is one of the most beautiful and largest castles in Japan, built by Ikeda Terumasa in the 1600s, located in Himeji city in the western Hyogo.

It is historically a profound place to discover in order to imagine and feel the history of the clans who ruled over the region.

The castle’s main keep is a six story wooden structure that looks incredibly breathtaking from a far distance. According to locals, the castle is their icon and often they name it as White Heron Castle due to its graceful white appearance.

Weeping cherry blossoms. Photo Credit: Dainis Matisons at Flickr.

Himeji Castle is listed among the top 100 cherry blossom spots in Japan. Knowing this fact, you should go there, take a walk around the complex of the castle and enjoy the cherry blossoms out there. It is said that the castle grounds are packed with nearly 1000 cherry trees. How cool is that!

When they reach in their full glory everyone is happy to join in the hanami celebration there. The picturesque view of castle main keep with the cherry blossom is really majestic.

You are highly advised to walk up to the top floor of the main castle keep, even though the stairs seem narrow it is really enjoying!

Once you are done with it, overlook the castle area with pride. In addition, at night the sakura trees and main castle keep are illuminated beautifully.

Cherry blossoms and castle moat. Photo Credit: Dainis Matisons at Flickr.

Late March is definitely the best time to see sakura here. The castle has been on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 1993 and designated as a national treasure of Japan in 1931. If you are in the mood for a hanami adventure in Hyogo, don’t wait anymore!

In fact, many visitors come to visit Himeji Castle from either Osaka or Kyoto as part of their day trip. It is really easy to get to from Himeji Station, just take a walk for a while. Why are you waiting for? It is time to hop on the train to reach Himeji!

2) Shukugawa Park

This is breathtaking! Don’t you think so? Photo Credit: Hideyuki KAMON at Flickr.

Located in Nishinomiya city, Shukugawa is a beautiful riverside park with hundreds of cherry trees. The park itself a very famous place to see cherry blossom in spring and that is why it was designated as one of the 100 most beautiful cherry blossom spots in Japan.

According to many, this is one of the most beautiful cherry blossom spots in Hyogo prefecture. Your hanami holidays in Hyogo would be incomplete, if you don’t take a trip this impressive park.

You could spends hours at this tranquil hanami spot. Photo Credit: Hideyuki KAMON at Flickr.

Want to admire its spectacular sakura display? If you want to get the most out of your experience, you have to walk along both side of Shukugawa River and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere it offers.

Although you encounter huge crowds there yet it is a great place to hunt for cherry blossom as it becomes so lively and appealing with mind-blowing spring vistas around.

You should visit the park from late March to early April to catch the picturesque view of the river flowing quietly beneath thousands of cherry trees.

3) Akashi Park

Akashi Park in spring. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Akashi, one of the impressive coastal cities in Japan, is often overlooked by tourists. Probably it is because they don’t know much about the attractions of this lovely city!

If you ever take a trip to Kobe in future, please don’t forget to visit Akashi. I can guarantee that you will be very delighted just by roaming around the city.

When spring around, locals there including people from nearby cities travel to Akashi Park and enjoy hanami picnicking underneath the sakura trees. The park is located right in the heart of the city, and only a 5-minute walk north of JR Akashi Station.

Ruins of Akashi Castle. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

If you are looking for a serious Akashi hanami adventure, try to explore the ruins of Akashi castle alongside viewing heavenly cherry blossoms. You will be very surprised to see the remains of castle while taking a leisurely stroll through the walkways.

The castle park itself is really huge with a traditional Japanese garden, houses, lake, and trees of different kinds.

You can take a pedal boat tour on the lake and enjoy the blossoms in a different way! Please note that Akashi Park has been selected as one of Japan’s top 100 cherry blossom spots.

4) Oji Zoo

One of the main attractions at Oji Zoo is the Polar bear. Photo Credit: pelican at Flickr.

Oji Zoo is arguably one of the best places to go with family in Kobe city. It becomes very impressive to spend few hours when the buds of nearly five hundreds cherry trees burst into life in the spring! Don’t compare this zoo with other zoos because people don’t visit it to see the world’s most endangered animals.

Though the zoo showcases a number of cute animals & birds such as Giant Panda, Red Panda, Elephant, Koala, Zebra, Polar Bear, Sea Lion, Flamingo and so on and I believe they could amuse you and your little ones very much. In addition, there is a little amusement park to make the trip even more exciting for your child.

Illuminated cherry blossoms at Oji Zoo. Photo Credit: Masahiko OHKUBO at Flickr.

At the zoo, visitors are happy to enjoy the beautiful cherry trees lining along the paths between the various animal exhibitions. I think the animals there enjoy the spring atmosphere as well!

You can walk under the illuminated sakura trees in the evening. Oji Zoo is a fun place, no doubt about that but make sure you follow the rules such as drinking and smoking is strictly prohibited, don’t feed and mistreat the animals, don’t bring your pets into the zoo, and finally don’t bring any toys.

With all the animals, amusement park, and Zoological science center, the zoo is a crowded place especially over the weekends but things turn out to be even more fun when spring arrives there! To get there just take a 3-mintue walk west of Oji Koen Station on Hankyu line.

5) Sumaura Park

Sakura at Sumaura Park. Photo Credit: Syun Fukasawa at Flickr.

In order to experience a sea of cherry blossoms in Kobe area, head towards Sumaura Park. It is a mountainside park from where you just don’t overlook the cherry trees but the ocean as well.

When you need a break from all the daily activities that you deal with, search for something that is amusing and relaxing at the same time.

Yes Sumaura Park seems to me the one destination that could gives you a lot of exciting moments with unlimited pleasure. The place is loaded with many exciting things to do for all ages from riding the thrilling Sumaura ropeway to observatory and restaurants to eat.

Carlator! Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Needless to say, this is one of the most popular hanami spots in Kobe, and the best time to see sakura there is usually from late March through early April. In comparison with the other top cherry blossom spots in Hyogo prefecture, this one is less crowded but gives you an amazing outdoor experience in the spring.

Visitors love this park for many reasons such as they witness thousands of sakura trees at their peak, overlook the city and scenic beauty of the blue ocean, and enjoy mind-boggling cable car ride up the mountains. Oh please don’t you forget to experience the sightseeing lifts and Carlator!

Once you come across all these rides you will find a beautiful panoramic view of the cherry blossom alongside the sea. In addition, the park is absolutely a great place to go on a hike. Often the trails along the mountains probe why you should go there in the spring!

I have to admit that there are popular places across Hyogo! Someone may argue with me why the big cherry tree of Tarumi, a-1000 years old has not been listed here. Anyway, it is worth a visit! Have you been to any of these top hanami spots of Hyogo? Share your opinion then. Thanks for reading!