Want to beat the crowd and see early cherry blossoms earlier on in the year? You might not know this, but there are cherry blossoms that are in full bloom from January to March every year. To visit these blooming flowers, there are many spectacular spots where you can enjoy the bright pink cherry blossoms accompanied by yellow nanohana. Let’s take a look at the 18 best cherry blossom spots for early hanami! 

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Find out more about the types of cherry blossoms, and spring in Japan here: what to do in spring, where to go in spring, wisteria in Japan, spring date ideas, what to eat in spring, where to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo and cherry blossom festivals.

Table of Contents

Early Cherry Blossoms in Japan

1. 河津川 Kawazu River [Shizuoka Prefecture] – Discover the Birthplace of Kawazu Cherry Blossoms in Picturesque Kawazu Town, Izu

18 early cherry blossoms Kawazu River

The cherry blossom season offers a stunning display, varying greatly among the 600+ varieties. Kawazu cherry blossoms, among the earliest bloomers, grace the landscape with vibrant hues starting as early as February.

Nestled in the scenic Izu Peninsula, Kawazu Town is the birthplace of these distinctive cherry blossoms. Discovered as seedlings in the 1950s, they burst into full bloom in 1966 and were formally named Kawazu Sakura in 1974.

Kawazu Town boasts around 850 cherry blossom trees along the Kawazu River, totaling 8,000 in the vicinity. The annual “Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival” celebrates this natural wonder, offering cultural performances and local delicacies.

The optimal viewing period is from early February to early March, ensuring you don’t miss the mesmerizing allure of Kawazu cherry blossoms in full bloom.

2. 朝比奈川 Asahina River [Shizuoka Prefecture] – A Picturesque Haven of Pink Blossoms and Golden Nanohana

18 early cherry blossoms Asahina River 1

Nestled along the scenic banks of Asahina River in Yaizu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, lies the enchanting “Yamanote Sakura.” This stunning area boasts around 200 rows of Kawazu cherry blossom trees, stretching over approximately two kilometers. Cultivated with care by local volunteers since 1997, these cherry blossoms create a captivating contrast against the golden nanohana fields, offering a picturesque backdrop for leisurely strolls and scenic photography.

Experience the beauty of the “Yamanote Sakura” during the annual “Yamanote Sakura Festival,” held in late February. This festive occasion invites visitors to immerse themselves in the splendor of the cherry blossoms while enjoying cultural activities and local delicacies. Plan your visit between mid-February to mid-March for the optimal viewing experience.

Don’t miss the chance to witness the breathtaking beauty of Asahina River’s Kawazu cherry blossoms in full bloom!

3. 佐鳴湖公園 Lake Sanaru Park [Shizuoka Prefecture] – Embracing Spring’s Arrival Amidst Nature’s Haven

18 early cherry blossoms Lake Sanaru Park

Situated west of Hamamatsu City, Lake Sanaru Park is a serene retreat offering a six-kilometer walkway around its tranquil waters, adorned with seasonal flowers and teeming with wild birds.

Each February, the park bursts into color with the blooming of Kawazu cherry blossoms. Top spots to catch these delicate blooms include near the Sakashita parking lot, the clock tower area by the pond, and around the rowing yard parking lot.

Besides Kawazu cherry blossoms, the park hosts various cherry tree varieties like Yoshino, Oshima, Yae, and weeping cherry trees, ensuring a prolonged cherry blossom season extending into late spring.

To get the best views, plan your visit from late February to mid-March. Don’t miss this opportunity to witness the vibrant colors of spring at Lake Sanaru Park.

4. 下賀茂温泉 Shimogamo Onsen [Shizuoka Prefecture] – An Idyllic Hot Spring Haven Adorned with Early-Blooming Cherry Blossoms

18 early cherry blossoms Shimogamo Onsen

Nestled near the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula, Shimogamo Onsen exudes a serene mountainous charm despite its proximity to the sea. This picturesque hot spring town is dotted with traditional ryokan lining the riverbanks, where wisps of steam rise delicately into the air, creating a tranquil atmosphere that beckons visitors seeking relaxation and rejuvenation.

One of the highlights of Shimogamo Onsen is the enchanting sight of approximately 800 early-blooming cherry blossoms that grace the landscape along the Aono River.

Stretching over more than four kilometers, these Kawazu cherry blossoms burst into bloom as early as February, painting the town in shades of pink and white and offering a delightful contrast against the vibrant yellow hues of nanohana flowers.

To celebrate this natural spectacle, the town hosts the annual “Festival of Cherry Blossom and Rapa Flowers in Southern Izu,” a vibrant event that showcases the beauty of the cherry blossoms alongside the colorful rapa flowers that adorn the region.

For those eager to witness this captivating display of nature’s beauty, the optimal time to visit is from early February to early March. Immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance of Shimogamo Onsen and experience the timeless allure of cherry blossoms in full bloom.

5. 糸川遊歩道 Itokawa Path [Shizuoka Prefecture] – Early-Blooming “Atami Sakura” Painting the Hot Spring Town in Shades of Pink

18 early cherry blossoms Itokawa Path

Atami, renowned for its hot spring allure, captivates visitors with its scenic cityscape and the renowned “Atami Seven Hot Springs,” where steam rises delicately into the air. Amidst this serene setting, a remarkable sight awaits: the early-blooming cherry blossoms known as “Atami Sakura,” gracing the town as early as mid-January.

Legend traces the origins of Atami cherry blossoms to an Indian variety introduced by Italians in 1871. Recent analyses suggest they may be a hybrid of kanhi zakura and yama zakura, lending to their unique charm. These exquisite blooms adorn Atami’s landscape, adding natural beauty to the city’s ambiance.

For an unforgettable cherry blossom experience, stroll along the scenic path of Itagawa, meandering through the heart of town. Despite winter’s chill, this area bursts to life with delicate blossoms, offering a delightful preview of spring. Embrace the spirit of early spring as you wander in a traditional yukata, immersed in the timeless beauty of Atami Sakura.

Plan your visit between mid-January to mid-February to witness this enchanting display of nature’s splendor. Don’t miss the opportunity to marvel at Atami’s “super” early-blooming cherry blossoms, painting the hot spring town in hues of pink and heralding the arrival of spring.

6. 香貫公園 Kanuki Park [Shizuoka Prefecture] – Delight in Early-Blooming Cherry Blossoms Along the Scenic Kano River Pathway

18 early cherry blossoms Kanuki Park

Kanuki Park, situated alongside the southern bank of the pedestrian-only “Ayumi Bridge” near Numazu City Hall, offers a serene escape amidst the urban hustle. Teamed with the neighboring Hachiman Shrine, it’s a lush sanctuary boasting ample greenery for both locals and visitors to unwind and recharge.

This hidden gem boasts around 20 Kawazu cherry trees, renowned for their early bloom, gracing the park with delicate blossoms from late January to early February annually. Accessible to nearby residents, it’s an idyllic spot to witness the first hints of spring.

On sunny days, explore the picturesque pathway tracing the Kano River, offering scenic views of the blooming cherry trees. Immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere as you stroll beside the gently flowing river, reveling in nature’s awakening.

Visit between late January to early February to witness the enchanting bloom of Kawazu cherry blossoms. Don’t miss this chance to savor the tranquility and natural splendor it offers.

7. 恋人岬 Lover’s Cape [Shizuoka Prefecture] – Witness the Early Bloom of Toi Sakura in Nishiizu’s Winter Wonderland

18 early cherry blossoms Lover’s Cape

Nishiizu’s Toi Onsen hosts a unique winter spectacle: the early bloom of Toi Sakura cherry blossoms, gracing the landscape with delicate hues from January. Originating in 1958, Toi Sakura trees defy the cold, offering a glimpse of nature’s resilience.

The annual Toi Cherry Blossom Festival, held from late January to early February, features attractions like Matsubara Park and Maruyama Sports Park. “Lover’s Cape,” famed for Mt. Fuji views, offers a romantic touch.

At Lover’s Cape, a bell of love rings three times, invoking romance. Descend the slope to find Toi cherry blossoms adorning the pathway.

Visit between late January to early February to witness the magic of Toi Sakura. Experience romance and nature at Lover’s Cape in Nishiizu.

8. 聖崎公園 Hijirisaki Park [Aichi Prefecture] – Embrace the Beauty of Early-Blooming Kawazu Cherry Blossoms Overlooking the Sea

18 early cherry blossoms Hijirisaki Park

Hijirisaki Park, perched along the shores of the Chita Peninsula, offers a serene retreat amidst the coastal charm. Adjacent to the renowned Hachiman Shrine, this verdant oasis invites locals and travelers alike to rejuvenate amidst lush greenery.

This hidden gem boasts approximately 50 to 60 Kawazu cherry trees, celebrated for their early bloom, adorning the park with delicate blossoms from late February to early March annually. Easily accessible to nearby residents, it serves as an ideal locale to witness the awakening of spring.

On sun-drenched days, meander along the scenic pathways tracing the coastline, treating yourself to breathtaking vistas of the blooming cherry blossoms. Immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance as you wander beside the gently lapping waves, embracing the essence of nature’s renewal.

For those seeking solace and a glimpse of early spring’s splendor, Hijirisaki Park beckons. Plan your visit between late February to early March to witness the enchanting bloom of Kawazu cherry blossoms. Don’t miss this opportunity to bask in the serenity and natural beauty it offers.

9. 西平畑公園 Nishihirabatake Park [Kanagawa Prefecture]- A Magnificent View Extending Beyond Cherry Blossoms

18 early cherry blossoms Nishihirabatake Park

Nishihirabatake Park, also known as “Matsudayama Herb Garden,” sprawls across the slope of Mt. Matsuda, offering panoramic vistas of the Ashigara Plain and Sagami Bay. This picturesque park is adorned with numerous Kawazu cherry blossoms lining its pathways, with pink blooms gracing the landscape from early February. Positioned near majestic Mt. Fuji, visitors can relish the stunning sight of Japan’s iconic peak towering over the cherry blossoms.

Experience the annual Matsuda Cherry Blossom Festival, a celebration that commences in early February, enhancing the park’s natural allure. Plan your visit between early February and early March to witness the enchanting bloom of Kawazu cherry blossoms against the backdrop of breathtaking views, ensuring an unforgettable experience.

Set your sights on visiting between early February to early March to catch the mesmerizing bloom of Kawazu cherry blossoms. Seize this chance to immerse yourself in the serene ambiance and behold the natural splendor this park has to offer.

10. 三浦海岸 Miura Beach [Kanagawa Prefecture]- Early-Blooming Cherry Blossoms Along the Scenic Train Line

18 early cherry blossoms Miura Beach

Embark on a serene journey along the Keikyu Line from Miurakaigan Station to Komatsugaike Park, where a breathtaking display of Kawazu cherry blossoms awaits. These delicate blooms burst into full splendor from mid-February, welcoming you the moment you step off at Miurakaigan Station.

The leisurely walk to Komatsugaike Park, spanning just over 1 kilometer, immerses you in a picturesque landscape adorned with cherry blossoms overhead and vibrant nanohana flowers underfoot. Be sure to capture memorable moments as the passing train adds charm to the scene.

Plan your visit between mid-February to early March to witness this captivating sight, ensuring an unforgettable experience amidst the early spring blooms of Miura Beach.

11. 道の駅みょうぎ Roadside Station Myogi [Gunma Prefecture]- Embrace Mt. Myogi’s Splendor Amidst Early-Blooming Cherry Blossoms

18 early cherry blossoms Roadside Station Myogi

Situated near the entrance to Mt. Myogi, Roadside Station Myogi serves as a welcoming stop for hikers and nature enthusiasts. Even at an altitude of about 420 meters, the station’s surroundings are adorned with cherry blossoms. Anticipate the early bloom of Kawazu cherry blossoms, expected to grace the landscape in early March.

Approximately 60 Kawazu cherry blossoms adorn the station, forming a captivating display along the eastern slope of the parking lot. Witnessing these cherry blossoms bloom simultaneously is truly a spectacular sight.

Plan your visit between early to mid-March to witness this enchanting display, where the scenic beauty of Mt. Myogi harmonizes with the delicate charm of the cherry blossoms.

12. 城山歴史公園 Shiroyama Historical Park [Yamaguchi Prefecture]- A Painting-Like View of the Seto Inland Sea and Cherry Blossoms

18 early cherry blossoms Shiroyama Historical Park

Shiroyama Historical Park, situated overlooking Kaminoseki Town in Yamaguchi Prefecture, holds a rich history dating back to the Northern and Southern Dynasties through the Warring States period, serving as a sea castle for the Setouchi Suigun.

This picturesque park boasts approximately 180 Kawazu cherry blossoms and around 3000 early-blooming daffodils, creating a stunning display expected to be in full bloom from mid-February. The serene sight of the calm sea and the islands floating amidst the cherry blossoms offers a unique experience exclusive to the Seto Inland Sea.

Most of the cherry blossom trees are surrounded by spacious grass areas, providing visitors with the perfect spot to spread out and enjoy a leisurely cherry blossom viewing picnic.

Plan your visit between mid-February to early March to witness this breathtaking sight, where nature’s beauty intertwines with historical charm.

13. 笠戸島 Kasado Island [Yamaguchi Prefecture]- Cherry Blossom Pink Adorns the Seto Inland Sea in Early Spring

18 early cherry blossoms Kasado Island

Located in the southeastern part of Yamaguchi Prefecture, off the coast of Kudamatsu City, Kasado Island is easily accessible via the Kasado Bridge from Honshu. Offering national lodgings and a family travel village, the island bustles with activity, particularly in the summer when visitors flock to its beaches.

Since 2006, approximately 500 Kawazu cherry blossom trees have been planted on Kasado Island, creating a stunning display of pink blooms. A must-visit spot is the Hinamatsuri set up near the three-way junction by the National Dormitory Ojo, where the vibrant pink of the Kawazu cherry blossoms contrasts beautifully with the deep blue of the sea.

The nearby Kasado Island Family Travel Village also boasts numerous Kawazu cherry blossoms, adding vibrant hues to the still-chilly early spring of Setouchi.

Plan your visit between mid-February to mid-March to witness this breathtaking sight, where the cherry blossoms transform the landscape into a stunning sea of pink.

14. 親水公園 Shinsui kōen [Yamaguchi Prefecture]- Early-Blooming Cherry Blossom Plaza Near a Lively Fishing Port

18 early cherry blossoms Shinsui kōen

Located near Hagi city area, Station Hagi Sea Mart sits within a bustling fishing port, offering visitors the chance to procure fresh fish and savor delicious local cuisine. Adjacent to the road station lies the verdant “Water Park,” a serene green space perfect for relaxation.

Approximately 120 Kawazu cherry blossoms grace the Water Park, heralding the arrival of spring with their early bloom from late February. The picturesque row of cherry blossom trees, juxtaposed with the lively atmosphere of the fish market, creates a unique ambiance characteristic of Hagi.

Plan your visit between late February to early March to immerse yourself in the beauty of these early-blooming cherry blossoms, enhancing your experience near the lively fishing port of Shinsui kōen.

15. 鎮国寺 Chinkokuji Temple [Fukuoka Prefecture]- Early-Blooming Cherry Blossoms Announce the New Year at the “Temple of Flowers and Prayer”

18 early cherry blossoms Chinkokuji Temple

Chinkokuji, a temple of the Shingon sect, steeped in history, is believed to have been constructed in 806 (Daido 1) by Kobo Daishi upon his return from China. Revered as the “Temple of Flowers and Prayer,” it boasts a rich display of blossoms throughout the year.

One of its remarkable features is the “Atami Sakura,” a variety that begins to bloom in mid-January, marking one of the earliest cherry blossom blooms in Japan. As early as early February, Chinkokuji is often adorned in full bloom, offering a captivating sight to visitors.

Immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance of Chinkokuji Temple and witness the enchanting beauty of early-blooming cherry blossoms, signaling the arrival of a new year and a new season of blossoms. Whether you visit in mid-January or mid-February, you’re bound to experience the breathtaking display of nature’s beauty at Chinkokuji.

16. 四浦半島 Youra Peninsula [Oita Prefecture]- Discover Your Favorite Cherry Blossom Viewpoint by the Sea

18 early cherry blossoms Youra Peninsula

Youra Peninsula, nestled in the southern part of Oita Prefecture, stretches out into the scenic Bungo Channel. Flourishing amidst this coastal landscape are approximately 3,700 Kawazu cherry trees, meticulously planted and nurtured by the local community.

Unlike traditional cherry blossom destinations, the charm of Youra Peninsula lies in its scattered beauty. Along the roads of the Youra district on the north side of the peninsula, you’ll encounter numerous cherry blossom attractions, each offering its unique perspective of this natural spectacle. Look out for signs guiding you to these cherry blossom spots, ensuring you don’t miss any of the breathtaking views.

Aim to visit between early to late February to witness the vibrant bloom of Kawazu cherry blossoms, harmonizing with the picturesque backdrop of the sea. Whether you prefer a secluded spot or a bustling viewpoint, Youra Peninsula has something to offer for every cherry blossom enthusiast.

17. 八重岳 Yaedake [Okinawa Prefecture]- A Tunnel of Cherry Blossoms Inviting Spring to Bloom at the Summit

18 early cherry blossoms Yaedake

Yaedake, situated in the northern part of Okinawa’s main island, stands at an altitude of 453.4 meters, offering panoramic views and accessible by car. Along the road leading to the summit, approximately 7,000 kanhi-zakura (cold scarlet cherry blossoms) bloom annually, starting their display as early as January.

Prunus campanulata, native to warmer regions, blooms early due to its mechanism awakened from dormancy during autumn and winter. The breathtaking row of cherry blossom trees stretches for about four kilometers along the mountain trail, creating a spectacular tunnel-like effect.

Experience the enchantment of the “Motobu Yaedake Sakura Festival,” held annually in late January. Plan your visit between mid-January to early February to witness the captivating bloom of these cherry blossoms, beckoning the arrival of spring atop Yaedake.

18. 名護城公園 Nago Castle Park [Okinawa Prefecture]- January Cherry Blossoms Coloring the View Overlooking Nago’s Cityscape and the Sea

18 early cherry blossoms Nago Castle Park

Nestled atop Mt. Nagodake, the expansive Nago Castle Park offers breathtaking vistas of the surrounding landscape. Accessible by car, the observatory at the park’s summit provides panoramic views overlooking the East China Sea, offering visitors a magnificent sight to behold.

It is rumored that over 20,000 cherry trees adorn the park, creating a stunning spectacle that reaches its peak bloom in late January. Among the prime locations to admire these blossoms is “Nakayukui Square,” home to the visitor center, and “Sakura-no-en,” a cherry blossom garden.

Head there between late January to mid-February to witness the enchanting bloom of these January cherry blossoms, adding vibrant colors to the cityscape of Nago and the azure expanse of the sea.

While cherry blossoms are traditionally associated with spring, the breathtaking sight of these delicate blooms can actually be enjoyed as early as late January. Imagine experiencing the ethereal beauty of sakura against the backdrop of chilly weather—it’s truly a unique and enchanting experience.

If you’re planning to embark on a journey to witness these early blooms, be sure to explore the official websites of the respective cherry blossom festivals for the latest updates and information. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the timeless charm of cherry blossoms, even amidst the lingering cold of winter.

Find out more about spring in Japan here: what to do in spring, where to go in spring, wisteria in Japan, spring date ideas, what to do eat in spring, where to see cherry blossom in Tokyo and cherry blossom festivals.

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