How do pink and white cherry blossom trees look like at night? When illuminated with the right amount of light at the right angle, a stunning view of cherry blossoms would captivate the hearts of many.
Hanami 花見 or cherry blossom viewing during daytime are common, but yozakura 夜桜 or viewing sakura at night has a unique charm that puts it on par with Hanami. However, not all places that you could view cherry blossom during daytime have yozakura, so you need to find out where are these night illuminations are happening and plan your way there. Some locations may require you to pay a small entry fee, which is worth the experience for first-timers and tourists. In this article, I would introduce five places that you could enjoy yozakura in Japan.
Tucked away at the side of the Imperial Palace, Chidorigafuchi has big cherry blossom trees that look absolutely stunning when in full bloom. Whether you are taking a walk in the park or walking alongside the river, you will be mesmerised by the fascinating pink you see everywhere. During night time at the Chiyoda Sakura Matsuri Festival, the trees are lit with different colours of light – creating different scenes of cherry blossoms.
Nearby Chidorigafuchi is the Yasukuni Shrine – dedicated for those who sacrificed their lives for the country during the Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods. You could plan ahead to visit the shrine in the early evening and then followed by yozakura at Chidorigafuchi after that.
Chidorigafuchi Address: Kudanminami, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Chiyoda Sakura Matsuri Festival Period: March 29 – April 8, 2018
Illumination Hours: 6 PM – 10 PM
Roppongi may be a city with upscale trends and lifestyle, but it also has its cherry blossom charms. There is a street here called Sakurazaka which is well-known for cherry blossom viewing. Located just beside Roppongi Hills, the night illumination here is not forecasted but instead starts as soon as the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. A simple walk routine along this beautiful street with night illumination would be relaxing!
Roppongi Hills Address: Roppongi 6-11-1, Minato-ku, Tokyo
3. Maruyama Park
Maruyama Park is the oldest park in Kyoto with 800 cherry trees and other flowers. The one tree that steals the limelight and gets the most attention would be the huge weeping cherry tree called Gion Shidarezakura. You would not miss this tree in the park as it is surrounded by fences. At night, this tree looks majestic and there is no other cherry blossom tree that could compare to it. Gion Shidarezakura has been around since the Edo period, so you can imagine the number of years and seasons that this tree has gone through.
In this park, you could do picnic under the cherry tree even at night. Yes, you heard that right! A picnic under the cherry trees is possible at night beacause the park will be brightly lit. Get ready some snacks or bento and a picnic mat, and you are ready for a picnic yozakura!
Address: 473 Maruyama-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Illumination Period: March 28 – April 6, 2018
Illumination Hours: Sunset to 1 AM
4. Hirosaki Park
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
This park is said to be on par with Ueno Park in Tokyo when it comes to cherry blossom viewing. It looks stunning during the daytime, and spell bounding during nighttime. I would recommend you to visit this park for the upcoming Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival for yozakura as that is when the night illumination would start. Hirosaki Park is located near Hokkaido, but the cherry blossom here is said to be one of the most beautiful in Japan. So if you are travelling towards the north between late April to early May, do drop by this park for the festival!
Address: 1 Shimoshiroganecho, Hirosaki 036-8356, Aomori Prefecture
Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival: 21 April – 6 May, 2018
Illumination Hours: Sunset to 9 PM
Fee: 310 yen
5. Osaka Castle
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Like most castles, there is usually a garden landscape around the castle grounds that you could stroll about and enjoy the scenery. Not far from Osaka Castle is a garden called Ninomaru Garden with cherry trees and there’s a good view of the castle. The castle will also be lit up and it blends with the illumination of the cherry blossom. This is a popular spot for yozakura as the location is easily accessible from Osaka City, making travel hassle-free.
Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka 540-0002, Osaka Prefecture
Illumination Hours: 6 PM – 9 PM
Fee: 350 yen
Yozakura is pretty cool to check out even if you’ve experience hanami during the daytime – definitely worthy to be on your bucket list if you are visiting Japan in spring. If you are interested to take beautiful yozakura photos, I would advise you to get a camera that could take a decent night photo. On top of that, do remember to bring enough cash if you need to pay the admission fee. Last but not least, I hope this article is informative and helpful for you to look for a yozakura location!