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10 Best Places for Cherry Blossoms in Kobe: Where and When to See Sakura in 2021

10 Best Places for Cherry Blossoms in Kobe: Where and When to See Sakura in 2021

Date published: 4 March 2021

Hyogo Prefecture is one of Japan's most popular tourist destinations, thanks to its mix of the ancient with the modern. With historical spots like Himeji Castle and Byakugoji Temple, plus a vibrant old quarter and a number of parks and leisure facilities, it's the perfect spot to explore for a day! And March, when the cherry blossoms in Kobe bloom, is one of the best times to visit.

Let's look at the best places to see cherry blossoms in Kobe and the surrounding area when they're at their peak!

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Himeji Castle: The famous white-walled castle floating among clouds of cherry blossoms
  2. 2. Kobe City's Oji Zoo: The best place to enjoy both animals and cherry blossoms in full bloom
  3. 3. Sogoundokoen Park: Go through a tunnel of cherry blossoms and enjoy the spring!
  4. 4. Sumaura Park: Panorama of the Seto Inland Sea and cherry blossoms in full bloom
  5. 5. Omotozan Sumadera Temple: Cherry blossom spot filled with the romance of literature and history
  6. 6. Takarazuka Hana-no-Michi: Cherry blossom path leading to the Takarazuka stage
  7. 7. Shukugawa Park: Beautiful combination of cherry blossoms and pine trees
  8. 8. Hiokayama Park: 1,000 cherry trees decorate the vast grounds!
  9. 9. Akashi Park: 1,400 cherry trees surround the ruins of Akashi Castle
  10. 10. Ono Dzutsumi Sakura Corridor: Where cherry blossoms bloom in long waves up

1. Himeji Castle: The famous white-walled castle floating among clouds of cherry blossoms

1. Himeji Castle: The famous white-walled castle floating among clouds of cherry blossoms
Himeji Castle: a national treasure and a World Heritage Site

Himeji Castle is one of the most famous castles in Japan and a national treasure. It's the only fortress that has survived the ravages of war in its 400-year history.

The castle, which is also a World Heritage Site, sits in a vast area of 233 hectares (576 acres), and is surrounded by roughly 1800 cherry trees, mainly of the Somei Yoshino variety.

If you look at Himeji Castle during cherry blossom season from the rooftop garden of Eagle Himeji, a viewing spot located south of the castle, the entire fortress seems as though it's floating in a cherry blossom-colored cloud.

The scene created by the architecture and the flowers is breathtakingly beautiful

A popular spot for cherry blossom viewing is among the rows of trees in the San-no-Maru Plaza, in front of the castle tower. You can admire the splendid view with the castle in the background. The Nishinomaru Garden, where you can enjoy nighttime cherry blossom viewing, is another must-see corner. The pond in the garden reflects the castle (also nickednamed "White Heron Castle" for its graceful appearance) and the beautiful weeping trees around it, creating a magical image.

On the west side of Himeji Castle, there is a moat that has been left intact. You can cross it via the Shiromibashi Bridge, approaching the spectacular sight of the tower rising beyond the trees.

There are many places to take a stroll along the Himeyama Park moat

Best time to see cherry blossoms: Early April

Himeji Castle Night Cherry Blossom Viewing
*To be held in 2021. Please visit the official website for detailed information
・Annual illumination-event period: 5 days in early April from 6pm to 9pm (admission until 8:30PM)
・Venue: Nishinomaru Garden, Himeji Castle
・Admission: Free
・For inquiries: 079-285-1146 (Himeji Castle Management Office)

Himeji Castle Cherry Blossom Viewing Festival
*Events for 2021 are not confirmed (as of the end of February)
・Venue: San-no-Maru Plaza, Himeji Castle
・Period: one day in early April, 10am-4pm
・Admission: Free
・For inquiries: 079-240-6023 (Himeji Castle Event Executive Committee Secretariat)

Kokoen Garden Night Cherry Blossom Party
As of the end of February, the event has not been confirmed for 2021
・Period: three days in early April, 6pm-9pm (admission until 8:30pm)
・Venue: Himeji Castle West Kokoen Garden
・Admission: 300 yen for adults (18 y/o and older), 150 yen for elementary and junior high school students, and college students.
・Inquiries: 079-289-4120

  • Himeji-jo Castle
    • Address 68, Honmachi, Himeji-shi, Hyogo, 670-0012
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Himeji Station (JR Kobe Line / JR Kishin Line / JR San-yo Line / JR Bantan Line)
      20 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 079-285-1146

2. Kobe City's Oji Zoo: The best place to enjoy both animals and cherry blossoms in full bloom

2. Kobe City's Oji Zoo: The best place to enjoy both animals and cherry blossoms in full bloom
This is a popular spot for families to have fun watching both animals and cherry blossoms

Kobe City Oji Zoo is located a five-minute walk from Nada Station on the JR line. The zoo is home to 800 animals of 130 species. You will be able to see large animals, like lions, tigers, giraffes, and elephants, as well as cute animals like giant pandas, red pandas, and koalas.

One of the highlights of the zoo is the Old Residence of E.H. Hunter, a foreigner's residence in the corner of the zoo, built around 1889 and moved to the zoo from Kitano-cho in 1963. The interior is open to the public, for everyone to see its gorgeous decorations and furnishing.

The combination of animals and cherry blossoms is a must-see!

About 480 Somei Yoshino cherry trees are planted in the park, and only here can you enjoy the special combination of cherry trees in full bloom and pandas. For three days every year, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the park holds a special nighttime illumination event called Night Cherry Blossom Passage (free admission). However, please note that you won't be able to see animals during this event.

(*The event is canceled for 2021)

There is also an amusement park and an anthropological museum in the park. A zoo full of attractions

Best time to see cherry blossoms: From late March to early April
Night Cherry Blossom Passage *Cancelled in 2021
Period: 3 days in accordance with the best time to view cherry blossoms: 6pm-9pm (admission until 8:30pm)
Light-up only during this period
Admission: free (but you can leave 100 yen as a cherry-blossom donation)

3. Sogoundokoen Park: Go through a tunnel of cherry blossoms and enjoy the spring!

3. Sogoundokoen Park: Go through a tunnel of cherry blossoms and enjoy the spring!
You can enjoy the combination of cherry blossoms and many other plants, like rape blossoms

Sogoundokoen Park is a sizeable athletic park located right next to Sogoundokoen Station, about 20 minutes from Sannomiya Subway Station. The park includes Hotto Motto Field Kobe, a professional baseball team's home stadium, and the Univer Memorial Stadium, where international track and field, soccer, and rugby events are held.

You will find the Shade Garden-Sakura Road, a 310-meter magnificent cherry-blossom tunnel on the west side of the park. On the east side, is Cosmos Hill, famous for its 100,000 cosmos flowers in fall and its 50,000 rape blossoms in spring.

Walking under a tunnel of cherry blossoms is exhilarating

The park also has recreational facilities like a large athletic field and the Chappu Chappu Pond, where you can play in the water, making it an ideal place for families to play and enjoy the cherry blossoms.

If the timing is right, you will be able to admire the beauty of both cherry and rape blossoms at the same time. The park is also easy to access.

Shade gardens, cosmos hilltop plaza, and other flower-viewing spots are scattered throughout the season

Best time to see cherry blossoms: Early March to early April

  • Kobe Sogoundokoen Park
    神戸総合運動公園
    • Address Midoridai, Suma Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 654-0163
    • Nearest Station Access: a short walk from Sogoundo-Koen Station on the Kobe Municipal Subway Seishin-Yamate Line
    • Phone: 078-795-5151 (Kobe Sports Park Management Center)
      Free admission

4. Sumaura Park: Panorama of the Seto Inland Sea and cherry blossoms in full bloom

4. Sumaura Park: Panorama of the Seto Inland Sea and cherry blossoms in full bloom
A popular spot to view the Seto Inland Sea through the cherry blossoms

Sumaura Park is a scenic spot by the slopes of Mount Tegai and Mount Hachibuse, which overlook Awaji Island, and the pine forest along the coast. The area is famous as the battlefield of the ancient Genpei War, and of course as a cherry-blossom viewing spot.

You can access it from Sumaura -Koen Station, about 30 minutes from Hanshin-Kobe Sannomiya Station.

Since its opening in 1935, the park has been decorated with black pines and Somei Yoshino cherry trees and has now become a famous cherry blossoms viewing area, selected as one of the best flowering spots in Kobe.

In spring, the park is decorated with about 3,200 cherry trees, and many hikers go enjoy the climb. The Sumaura Yamagami Amusement Park is also within the park, and, on the adjacent beach, you will find a sea fishing park.

From the top of the mountain, you can see Kobe Airport and the Akashi Bridge

This is one of the largest cherry blossom viewing spots in Kobe. It offers a view of the Akashi Bridge, the Kobe Port, the cityscape of Kobe and of Kobe Airport, as well as a panorama of cherry blossoms of many different qualities, like Someyoshino, Yamazakura, and double-flowered varieties.

Take the ropeway to the mountaintop for an aerial view over the trees

Best time for cherry blossoms: From Late March to mid-April

  • Sumaura Park
    須磨浦公園
    • Address 4-4-3 Ichinotanicho, Suma Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 654-0076
    • Phone Number 078-731-2520
    • Free admission (*Ropeway, car lift, observation deck and sightseeing lift are not free of charge)
      Access: a short walk from Sumaura Koen Station on the Sanyo Electric Railway, or a 15-minute walk from Suma Station on the JR line.

5. Omotozan Sumadera Temple: Cherry blossom spot filled with the romance of literature and history

5. Omotozan Sumadera Temple: Cherry blossom spot filled with the romance of literature and history
Sumadera Temple, with its many treasures, is also known for its cherry trees

A five-minute walk from Sumadera Station (about 20 minutes from Kobe Sannomiya Station), Omotozan Sumadera is an ancient temple founded in 886.

The temple is famous for its connection to the Genpei War (the final struggle between the Taira and Minamoto clans), and it's designated as an important national cultural asset.

On the temple grounds is the resting place of Taira no Atsumori, a pine tree where Minamoto no Yoshitsune is said to have sat, plus Benkei's hanging bell and many other historical sites. There are also monuments to the famous Japanese haiku poets Yosa Buson and Matsuo Basho, and near the monument is a beautiful peach-colored weeping cherry tree.

Not far from it is also the Wakagi-no-zakura cherry tree, a historic site associated with the Tale of Genji.

Garden of Genpei. Many historical sights!

The cherry trees rising along the edge of Doyaike Pond next to Sumadera Temple are beautifully reflected in the water's surface, creating a magnificent sight. The beautiful single-petaled early-flowering Kumagai-zakura, named after Naozane Kumagai (who defeated Atsumori Taira), can also be seen here.

A tunnel of cherry blossoms welcomes visitors along the approach to the temple, and it's a place where you can enjoy the beauty of nature no matter what time of the year you visit.

Relaxing at a rest stop under the cherry blossoms

Best time to see cherry blossoms: From late March to early April

  • Sumadera Temple
    大本山 須磨寺
    • Address 4-6-8 Sumaderacho, Suma Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 654-0071
    • Nearest Station Access: 5-minute walk from Sumadera Station on the Sanyo Electric Railway and Hanshin Electric Railway lines
    • Phone Number 078-731-0416
    • Visiting hours: 8:30am-5pm
      Admission: free
      Closed: Open daily

6. Takarazuka Hana-no-Michi: Cherry blossom path leading to the Takarazuka stage

6. Takarazuka Hana-no-Michi: Cherry blossom path leading to the Takarazuka stage
A peaceful walk that makes it feel like you’re in a nostalgic music video

Takarazuka Hana-no-Michi is a promenade extending along the Mukogawa River not far from Hankyu Takarazuka Station (about 40 minutes from Sannomiya Station). Takarazuka Hana-no-Michi connects to the Takarazuka Grand Theater, home of the Takarazuka Revue.

Along the gorgeous path, where students of the Takarazuka Revue come and go, you can enjoy roses and other seasonal flowers, as well as fashionable stores and restaurants along the way.

A walking path lined with fashionable stores
When the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, many people visit

Best time to see cherry blossoms: From early to mid-April

  • Takarazuka Hana-no-Michi
    花のみち宝塚
    • Address 1 Chome Sakaemachi, Takarazuka, Hyogo 665-0845
    • Nearest Station Access: 5-minute walk from Takarazuka Station (JR and Hankyu Railway)
    • Phone: 0797-77-2012 (Takarazuka City Tourism Planning Division)
      Free to walk

7. Shukugawa Park: Beautiful combination of cherry blossoms and pine trees

7. Shukugawa Park: Beautiful combination of cherry blossoms and pine trees
Don't miss the rows of cherry trees that have been selected as one of the 100 best places to see blossoms

Shukugawa Park, in Nishinomiya City, is one of the most famous cherry blossoms spots in Hyogo Prefecture. It's just a short walk from Shukugawa Station, about 15 minutes from Kobe Sannomiya Station.

This is a large-scale urban park covering the entire Shukugawa River (18 hectares and 4 km in length). The park is dotted with 1,700 cherry trees along the river, including 1,200 spectacular Somei Yoshino trees. There are also more than 100 gorgeous double-flowered Kanzan cherry trees that are a sight to behold.

Cherry trees and pine trees together on both banks of the Shukugawa River

There are 1,600 pine trees along the river, and you can enjoy the combination of the dark green of the pine trees with the bright cherry trees.

On the bank that leads down to the Shukugawa River, there are stepping stones where children can have fun playing.

The Katahoko Pond on the park grounds is a cool and refreshing spot for cherry blossom viewing, with a spot where you can see their reflection in the water, where the fountain rises.

A city park along the river

Best time to see cherry blossoms: From late March to Early April
Nishinomiya Sakura Festival *Will be cancelled in 2021
Venue: Oite-cho, Nishinomiya city, Hyogo Prefecture
Period: Early April
Admission: Free
For inquiries: 0798-35-3321 (Nishinomiya City Tourism Association)

  • Shukugawa Park
    夙川河川敷緑地(夙川公園)
    • Address 14, Miyanishicho, Nishinomiya, Hyogo 662-0976
    • Nearest Station Access: Hankyu Kobe Line Shukugawa Station, JR Kobe Line Sakura Shukugawa Station, Hanshin Main Line Kouzeien Station, Hankyu Koyo Line Kurakuen-Guchi Station
    • Phone: 0798-35-3611 (Nishinomiya City Park and Open Space Division)
      Free to enter

8. Hiokayama Park: 1,000 cherry trees decorate the vast grounds!

8. Hiokayama Park: 1,000 cherry trees decorate the vast grounds!
敷地面積は35.8ヘクタール。加古川市(かこがわし)最大級の広さを誇ります

Hiokayama Park, located about 10 minutes walking from Hiokayama Station, and about 40 from JR Kobe Station, is a vast general-sports park complete with a baseball field, swimming pool, sports center, and accommodation facilities.

In the park, there are several important places of archeological importance, known collectively as the Hiokayama Tumulus Group.

The tunnel of cherry blossoms in full bloom is breathtakingly beautiful

About 1,000 cherry trees, including Someyoshino, Oshima cherry, and Kanchizakura cherry are planted in the park. Every year, the rows of cherry trees are lit up at night, and about 330 bonbori (paper lanterns) are lit up as well, attracting many visitors.

The tunnel of cherry trees starting from the Hiokayama Park Management Office is particularly beautiful.

Hiokayama Park is also home to a plum grove, snow willow trees, and many other flowers, making it a relaxing place to enjoy cherry blossom viewing while working up a sweat during sports and leisure activities.

When the trees are in full bloom, the bonbori are lit. a spot for local people to relax

Best time to see cherry blossoms: End of March to early April

  • Hiokayama Park
    日岡山公園
    • Address Ono-1682 Kakogawacho, Kakogawa, Hyogo 675-0061
    • Nearest Station Access: 10-minute walk from JR Hioka Station, or 10-minute bus ride from JR Kakogawa Station to Hiokayama Park
    • Phone Number 079-426-6710
    • Free admission

9. Akashi Park: 1,400 cherry trees surround the ruins of Akashi Castle

9. Akashi Park: 1,400 cherry trees surround the ruins of Akashi Castle
The stone wall that surrounds the pond is the symbol of the park

Akashi Park, located a 5-minute walk from Akashi Station and about 15 minutes from Sannomiya Station, is a vast 55-hectare park built on Akashi Castle's ruins.

The original castle had been erected by Tadazane Ogasawara, the first lord of the Akashi domain, in 1619. On top of a large 20-meter tall stone wall stretching for 380 meters from the west to the east side two rare triple towers stand tall. These are the Tatsumi Tower and the Kunigura Tower, both designated as national important cultural properties.

The cherry blossoms of Ko-no-ike Pond, one of the 100 best cherry blossoms viewing spots in Japan

About 1,400 Somei Yoshino are planted in the park, which gets crowded with many cherry blossom viewers. In particular, the area around the sizeable Ko-no-ike pond, where boating is allowed, is decorated with 1,000 cherry trees and is stunning when the trees are in full bloom. This area has been selected as one of the 100 best cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan.

During the cherry blossom viewing season, many visitors come to relax

Best time to see cherry blossoms: From late March to early April
Akashi Park Cherry Blossom Festival (*2021 event still to be determined as of the end of February)
・Period: Early April: 6pm-9pm (admission until 8:30pm)
・Venue: Musashi Garden
・Usual activities: tea ceremony, trying on handmade armor, opening the Tatsumi and Kunigura towers at the same time.
・Admission: free

  • Akashi Park
    明石公園
    • Address 1 Akashikoen, Akashi, Hyogo 673-0847
    • Nearest Station Access: 5-minute walk from Akashi Station on the JR Kobe Line and Sanyo Electric Railway
    • Phone Number 078-912-7600
    • Free entry

10. Ono Dzutsumi Sakura Corridor: Where cherry blossoms bloom in long waves up

10. Ono Dzutsumi Sakura Corridor: Where cherry blossoms bloom in long waves up
As the name suggests, the rows of cherry trees look like a corridor

The Ono Dzutsumi Sakura Corridor is a 15-minute walk from Awai Station, about 75 minutes from Sannomiya Station.

This is one of the most famous cherry blossom viewing spots in Ono City, and it is said to be the largest in Western Japan, with about 650 trees planted along both banks of the Kakogawa River, which runs through the western part of the city for a total length of about 4km.

There are six varieties of cherry trees here: Edohigan, Oshima cherry, Somei Yoshino, Kawazu-zakura, Yaebeni weeping cherry and Omoigawa cherry. They are planted in the order of their blooming season, so that visitors can enjoy blossoms for a long period of time from mid-March to late April.

Edohigan zakura

As part of the river conservation movement, an ownership system for cherry trees has been established, and each tree has a nameplate with the owner's thoughts. The environment along the walk is maintained through a conservation movement with the participation of citizens, and this is why this is a spot where you can enjoy this splendid scenery.

The 4-km-long cherry blossom tunnel is a sight to behold

Best time to see cherry blossoms: From late March to early April
Nighttime cherry blossom lighting *Cancelled for 2021
・Period: Late March to early April sundown to 9:30pm

  • Ono Dzutsumi Sakura Corridor
    おの桜づつみ回廊
    • Address Suminagacho, Ono, Hyogo, 675-1368
    • Nearest Station Access: 15-minute walk from Awai Station on the JR Kobe Electric Railway
    • Phone: 0794-63-2182 (Community Development Section, Community Development Department, Ono City)
      Free entry

What did you think? There are many cherry blossom spots in Hyogo, including World Heritage Sites, views over the sea, and with zoo animals. Find some time to enjoy cherry blossoms in Kobe!

This article was written in March 2020. The cherry blossom season, event schedule and contents are subject to change.

Text by: Click

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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