Cherry blossoms by night 夜桜
Illuminated cherry blossoms at night
Credit: Jimmy B
An illuminated cherry tree in bloom
Credit: Takashi Nishimura
From Kyushu to northern Honshu, discover the best places to enjoy cherry blossoms... by night! Experience this well-known phenomenon in Japan: yozakura.
The cherry blossom season is the most popular among tourists wishing to travel to Japan. Discover a new way to appreciate the beauty of these pink-tinted flowers as you wander through the trees at night, surrounded by illuminated blossoms. The yozakura (literally "cherry blossoms at night") can be admired all over Japan in various settings.
First blossoms in Kyushu
If we don't count Okinawa, where the cherry blossom season is in the middle of January, it's in Kyushu that the first trees on the archipelago bloom. Visitors can enjoy hanami near Fukuoka Castle in Maizuru Park. The view of the cherry trees illuminated along the stone walls is really something. You can also enjoy local specialties purchased from the stands during the annual cherry blossom festival.
To read: Fukuoka Castle
Fukuoka Castle Sakura Festival:
From late March to early April 2020
Illumination from 18:00 to 22:00
Price: 300 yen
Access: Akasaka or Ohorikoen metro stations
Anchored in the history of Kansai
At Maruyama Park, more than 800 cherry trees bloom in unison in early April. But what especially draws the curious when night falls is the famous tree in the oldest park of Kyoto. Its silhouette, similar to that of a weeping willow, is only enhanced by the night illuminations during the high season.
Illuminations at Maruyama Park:
From late March to mid-April 2020, from sunset to midnight.
Access: Gion bus stop 100 and 206 or Higashiyama station (Tozai line)
The magnificent cherry tree in Maruyama Park
Credit: Hotice Hsu flickr
The cherry blossom festival at Koriyama castle in Nara
Credit: Patrick Vierthaler
Built in 1580, discover Koriyama Castle, located just 20 minutes from Nara. It's been a popular destination for the Japanese to admire cherry trees for a long time. The park of the castle is dotted with flowering trees and offers you a pleasant walk. When night falls, the lights come on and the show begins. The landscape becomes almost mystical, with the castle encircled by illuminated petals.
Sakura festival at Koriyama Castle:
From late March to early April
Illuminations from 18:00 to 21:00
Access: Stations Kintetsu Koriyama or JR Koriyama
The Tokyo classics
The cherry trees along Meguro River attract many sakura lovers. After shopping and enjoying a good meal at a nearby restaurant, you can enjoy night illuminations in the middle of Tokyo during the blossom season. The river is almost 8 kilometers long, the best place is undoubtedly the district of Nakameguro, where lanterns are installed every year.
Illuminations of sakura in Nakameguro:
From late March to early April, from 18:00 to 21:00
Access: Nakameguro Station (Tokyu Toyoko Line and Hibiya Line)
Lanterns illuminating the cherry trees along the Meguro River, Tokyo
Credit: spiky owl flickr
Cherry blossoms in Ueno Park
Of course, Ueno Park is a mainstay for sakura in Tokyo. Don't hesitate to go for a night visit, as paper lanterns are hung along the main paths and the temple in the heights of the park and the surrounding lake are all illuminated.
Illuminations at Ueno Park:
From the end of March to the beginning of April
Access: Ueno Station (JR Yamanote, Keisei Skyliner, Ginza and Hibiya lines)
Castle in the North
A final castle, since the contrast of nature and architecture makes the experience even more unforgettable. The prefecture of Aomori, easily accessible from Tokyo by shinkansen, is located in the extreme north of the main Japanese island of Honshu. Here you'll find the beautiful Hirosaki Castle, its park and hundreds of cherry blossoms. A festival is organized here every year and offers magnificent illuminations once night falls.
See also: Hirosaki Castle
Cherry blossom festival in Hirosaki:
From late April to early May
Illuminations from 18:30 to 22:00
Access: Bus Dotemachi Loop Bus to JR Hirosaki Station to Shiyakusho-mae Station