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What to Do in Osaka & Kyoto in April 2024: Enjoy Japan's Exciting Spring Events

What to Do in Osaka & Kyoto in April 2024: Enjoy Japan's Exciting Spring Events

Date published: 28 March 2024

April in Japan, heralded by blooming cherry blossoms and mild weather, is the ideal time for outdoor outings, especially with the unique events in Osaka and Kyoto. Osaka's vibrant festivals combine modern and traditional themes, while Kyoto offers serene cherry blossom viewing at historic sites. This season is perfect for experiencing the diverse celebrations of cherry blossoms and Easter across these cities, highlighting the beauty and cultural richness of April in Japan.

Table of Contents
  1. Theme Park Events
  2. Traditional Events
  3. Art Events
  4. Food Festivals

Theme Park Events

Universal Studios Japan Universal Easter Celebration (Osaka)

Universal Studios Japan Universal Easter Celebration (Osaka)

Universal Studios Japan (USJ), renowned for its captivating attractions, is welcoming spring with an exclusive Easter event! Throughout this festive period, the park will transform into a springtime wonderland, boasting vibrant and adorable decorations along with characters that are just perfect for snapping those envy-inducing social media photos.

A major attraction of the celebration is the "Go! Go! Easter March," a dynamic street show that brings together visitors in a jubilant procession. This year's march promises to be particularly lively, showcasing beloved characters such as Sesame Street, Hello Kitty, Peanuts, and the Minions, all dressed in festive Easter attire and ready to parade.

Moreover, for a limited time, the Universal Wonderland area will come alive with the "Universal Wonderland Fun Fun Music" greeting show. In a setting enriched with Easter-themed decorations, including bunnies and eggs, guests can interact with a variety of characters, making it an unforgettable part of the Easter celebrations.

WIZARDING WORLD and all related trademarks, characters, names, and indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s24)
Minions and all related elements and indicia TM & © 2024 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
© Nintendo
TM and © 2024 Sesame Workshop
© 2024 Peanuts Worldwide LLC
© 2024 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. EJ4020203
TM & © Universal Studios & Amblin Entertainment
TM & © Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

Event Details
  • Dates: March 8, 2024 to June 30, 2024
  • Time: From 9 AM (subject to change)
  • Venues: Universal Wonderland, Minion Park, etc.
  • Ticket Prices: From 4,700 yen to 6,500 yen
  • Official website
  • Universal Studios Japan
    • Address 2-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
    • Nearest Station 3 minutes walk from Universal City Station on JR Yumesaki Line
    • Phone Number 0570-20-0606
    • ・Hours: Please check the official website
      ・Closed: Open daily

Nijigen no Mori Spring Homecoming Festival: Invitation from Shinobi Village (Hyogo, Awaji Island)

Nijigen no Mori Spring Homecoming Festival: Invitation from Shinobi Village (Hyogo, Awaji Island)

At Nijigen no Mori on Awaji Island, fans can immerse themselves in a world filled with attractions themed around their favorite anime and manga. This spring, the park's NARUTO & BORUTO Shinobi-Zato area, dedicated to NARUTO and BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS, is set to host captivating special events.

This year marks the return of four fan-favorite special missions from 2023, along with the introduction of an exciting new special mission titled Hana Akari no Denrei Hen. This latest adventure shines a spotlight on the cherished characters Sasuke and Sakura, inviting participants to dive into the memories of the iconic couple through a thrilling puzzle-solving quest.

Those taking part in the missions will be rewarded with exclusive merchandise featuring Sasuke and Sakura. Moreover, attendees who participate in all five events will have the unique opportunity to receive an original bromide. This makes the event an unmissable experience for enthusiasts!

© Masashi Kishimoto Scott / Shueisha, TV Tokyo, Pierrot

Event Details
  • Dates: March 30 - May 26, 2024
  • Time: 10 AM to 8 PM
  • Venue: NARUTO & BORUTO Shinobi-zato
  • Ticket Prices: From 3,300 yen
  • <@Official website|https://nijigennomori.com/@>
  • Nijigen no Mori
    • Address Hyogo Prefectural Awajishima Park, 2425-2 Kusumoto, Awaji City, Hyogo Prefecture
    • Phone Number 0799-64-7061

Shima Spain Village: Happy Easter (Mie, Ise-Shima)

Shima Spain Village: Happy Easter (Mie, Ise-Shima)

Shima Spain Village, a theme park that brings the charm of Spanish streetscapes to life, is gearing up for an Easter celebration. This festive season, the park will transform, taking inspiration from Cordoba, Spain's "Patio Festival." Imagine white walls bursting with colorful flowers and Easter-themed surprises featuring the park's beloved characters hidden throughout. Guests are invited to immerse themselves in this vibrant setting, capturing photos, seeking out Easter decorations, and exploring in their own unique ways.

For a limited time, the park will also feature exclusive merchandise adorned with Easter bunnies and eggs, alongside dining options that embrace the Easter spirit with special lunches and buffets.

Adding to the excitement, from April 27 to May 5, during the Golden Week holiday, Shima Spain Village will extend its hours into the enchanting night. This period will be illuminated by fireworks and night parades, providing a magical backdrop to the Spain Village Easter event and offering visitors a spectacular evening experience under the stars.

Event Details
  • Dates: March 30 - May 10, 2024
  • Time: 9:30 AM to 5 PM (subject to change), Night operation from April 27 to May 5
  • Ticket Prices: From 5,700 yen
  • Official website

Toei Kyoto Studio Park: Uzumasa Edo Tavern Night Cherry Blossom Blizzard (Kyoto City)

Toei Kyoto Studio Park: Uzumasa Edo Tavern Night Cherry Blossom Blizzard (Kyoto City)

The Toei Kyoto Studio Park, a cornerstone of Kyoto's cultural landscape, offers a unique journey back in time to the Edo period with its traditional Japanese streetscapes and costumes. For more than half a century, this venue has been a pivotal location for filming movies and dramas. In April, the park is set to undergo a significant renovation. To celebrate this milestone, it will highlight collaborations with iconic films that were shot on its historic grounds, such as Ooku, Migawari Chushingura, Kimi to Yukite Saku - Shinsengumi Seishunroku, and Muromachi Burai.

Visitors will have the opportunity to dive into the narratives of these films, brought to life through engaging stage dance performances and interactive games that draw inspiration from memorable movie scenes. These activities include bottle breaking, shoji tearing, and table flipping, offering a taste of cinematic action.

Moreover, the park will host stalls throughout this celebratory period, serving an array of drinks and culinary delights. These will feature sake sourced from Kyoto's esteemed liquor stores, along with traditional sushi and obanzai, enriching the cultural experience. This event promises a fusion of history, film, and traditional Japanese culture, making it an unmissable occasion for visitors.

Please note the following for the event:
・Admission of minors, including infants and young children, is not permitted due to the nature of the event.
・The event will proceed in the case of rain but will be canceled in the event of severe weather. Cancellations will be announced on the Studio Park's official website.
・Food and beverages within the park are available at an additional cost. Special currency, "Uzumasa Koban," will be sold on the day at the venue (3,000 yen for a booklet of 5 coupons, each worth 600 yen).

Event Details
  • Dates: April 6 & 7, 2024
  • Time: 6 PM to 9 PM (Doors open at 5:30 PM)
  • Venue: Toei Uzumasa Eigamura (Toei Kyoto Studio Park)
  • Ticket Prices: From 7,000 yen to 10,000 yen
  • Official website

Traditional Events

Hirano Shrine Cherry Blossom Festival (Kyoto City)

Hirano Shrine Cherry Blossom Festival (Kyoto City)

Hirano Shrine, with a venerable history that traces back to its original location in Heijō-kyō before relocating to Heian-kyō over 1200 years ago, is steeped in cultural and historical significance. It has earned the moniker "Sakura no Yashiro" (the Shrine of Cherry Blossoms) due to the breathtaking sight of approximately 400 cherry trees, encompassing around 60 different varieties, that grace its grounds. Among these varieties is the distinctive "Kinugasa," which is native to Hirano Shrine and allows for an extended cherry blossom viewing season.

The shrine's Cherry Blossom Festival is particularly famous for its "Jidai Gyōretsu" (Period Procession), an event that features 200 participants adorned in historical costumes. These participants engage in a solemn parade around the shrine, taking part in worship and traditional Shinto rituals, thus connecting the present with the past in a vivid display of Japan's rich heritage.

Furthermore, from late March to mid-April, coinciding with the peak cherry blossom bloom, Hirano Shrine becomes a mesmerizing setting for nighttime cherry blossom viewings and illumination events. These offerings transform the shrine into a magical, picturesque destination that captures the essence of spring in Japan, drawing visitors from near and far to revel in its beauty.

Event Details
  • Date: April 10, 2024
  • Time: Cherry Blossom Festival from 10 AM, Historical Parade Departure at 1 PM
  • Venue: Hirano Shrine
  • Official website

Rurikoin Temple (Kyoto, Mt. Hiei)

Nestled at the base of Mount Hiei, bridging the scenic landscapes of Kyoto and Shiga, Rurikoin Temple is a hidden gem that remains secluded from the public eye for most of the year. Exceptionally, it welcomes visitors during select times in spring, summer, and autumn, with its "Spring Special Viewing" occurring annually from April to June, offering a rare glimpse into its serene beauty.

Rurikoin is renowned for its historic "Shoin" (study hall), a structure dating back to the Taisho to Showa periods, which harmoniously blends with the surrounding exquisite garden. The garden itself, covered in a lush carpet of moss that lends the temple its name, paired with the verdant greenery, creates an atmosphere of unparalleled tranquility.

The spring viewing period is a coveted time at Rurikoin, as visitors have the opportunity to gaze upon the burst of fresh greenery through the Shoin's windows. This experience is highly sought after by those wishing to immerse themselves in a unique facet of Kyoto's beauty, accessible only during this fleeting season.

Event Details
  • Dates: April 13 - June 16, 2024
  • Time: 10 AM to 5 PM (Last admission at 4:30 PM)
  • Venue: Rurikoin Temple
  • Admission: 2,000 yen
  • Rurikoin Temple
    • Address 55 Higashiyama, Kamikoya, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
    • Nearest Station Yase-Hieiyamaguchi Station on the Eizan Dentetsu Eizanmoto Line
    • ・Hours: 10 AM - 5 PM (*Special opening in spring, summer, and autumn, closed to the public otherwise)

Kinosaki Onsen Festival (Hyogo, Kinosaki)

Kinosaki Onsen Festival (Hyogo, Kinosaki)

Kinosaki, in Hyogo Prefecture, stands as a cherished destination with a rich history that has captivated numerous notable personalities over the years. Renowned as a hot spring haven, this quaint town is dotted with inns and hotels, each presenting their distinct hot springs. This characteristic makes Kinosaki an ideal spot for leisurely explorations, inviting visitors to meander through its scenic streets over the course of a day.

The Kinosaki Onsen Festival is a highlight of the year, organized to honor the memory of Dōchi Shōnin, the town's revered founder. The festival is distinguished by its "Classical Procession" and a "Children's Procession," creating a vibrant spectacle as participants, accompanied by the rhythmic beat of drums, parade through the town.

Throughout the festival, Kinosaki transforms into a bustling hub of activity. The streets, alive with the spirit of celebration, are adorned with stages for various events and lined with an array of food stalls.

Event Details

Art Events

Monet: Scenes from a Series (Osaka, Nakanoshima)

The Water Lily Pond, c. 1918, oil on canvas, 131.0 x 197.0 cm, Hasso Plattner Collection ©Hasso Plattner Collection
The Water Lily Pond, c. 1918, oil on canvas, 131.0 x 197.0 cm, Hasso Plattner Collection ©Hasso Plattner Collection

Claude Monet, the illustrious Impressionist painter known for seminal works such as Impression, Sunrise and Water Lilies, is celebrated in the exhibition "Monet: The Series" at the Nakanoshima Museum of Art in Osaka. This exhibition delves into Monet's innovative approach to capturing the ephemeral beauty of nature through his series paintings, where he meticulously depicted the nuanced shifts in seasons and times of day.

Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the inaugural Impressionist exhibition in 1874—a pivotal moment that heralded the dawn of Impressionism—"Monet: The Series" offers a profound celebration of this groundbreaking art movement.

The exhibition showcases approximately 70 of Monet's renowned works, drawn from both domestic and international collections. It features celebrated series such as Haystacks and Water Lilies, and proudly presents the debut in Japan of the portrait The Luncheon. This remarkable assemblage makes the exhibition an essential experience for enthusiasts and scholars alike, providing a deep dive into Monet's artistic evolution and the enduring legacy of Impressionism.

Event Details
  • Dates: February 10, 2024 to May 6, 2024 (*Closed on Mondays (Feb 12, Apr 1, 15, 22, 29, May 6 open), during the exhibition period, there will be changes in some displayed works)
  • Time: 10 AM to 6 PM (Last admission at 5:30 PM)
  • Venue: Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts, Nakanoshima
  • Admission: General 2,500 yen, High school/college students 1,500 yen, Elementary/middle school students 500 yen
  • Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka
    • Address 4-3-1 Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, 530-0005

Osaka Maishima Seaside Park: Nemophila Festival 2024 (Osaka)

(Photo from 2022)
(Photo from 2022)

Osaka Maishima Seaside Park in Maishima, Osaka, becomes a breathtaking spectacle each spring, as it plays host to an expansive sea of Nemophila flowers. Set against the picturesque Osaka Bay, this event showcases around 1 million Nemophila plants, blanketing approximately 44,000 square meters. This magnificent display is recognized as one of the largest of its kind in the Kansai region, drawing visitors from near and far to witness the stunning blue bloom.

The festival enhances the experience by integrating zones that merge the delicate beauty of spring flowers such as cherry blossoms and tulips with the vibrant blue of the Nemophila. Attendees can also explore themed merchandise and enjoy collaborative food items that celebrate the season.

Adding to the festive atmosphere, the "Kitchen Car Fest in Maishima" coincides with the Nemophila Festival, offering visitors a delightful assortment of street food and beverages. From savory waffle potatoes and beef skewers to delicious kebabs, the festival caters to a variety of tastes, making it a perfect outing for food enthusiasts and flower lovers alike.

Event Details
  • Dates: April 6 - May 6, 2024
  • Time: Weekdays 10 AM to 5 PM (Last entry 4:30 PM), Weekends and holidays 9 AM to 6:30 PM (Last entry 6 PM) (*On May 6, 9 AM to 5 PM / Last entry 4:30 PM)
  • Venue: Osaka Maishima Seaside Park
  • Admission (incl. tax): Adults: 1,500 yen (Groups: Weekdays 1,000 yen, Weekends and holidays 1,300 yen), Elementary and middle school students: 500 yen, Preschool children: Free
  • Official website
  • Osaka Maishima Seaside Park
    • Address 2-1 Kitako-ryokuchi, Konohana-ku, Osaka, 554-0042
    • ・Hours: 9 AM - 5 PM
      ・Admission: Adults (Junior high school students and above) 1,300 yen, Children (4 years old to elementary school students) 600 yen
      ・Closed: Open daily

Awaji Island National Park, Akashi Kaikyo Park: Spring Carnival 2024 (Hyogo, Awaji Island)

(Photo: PIXTA)
(Photo: PIXTA)

Awaji Island, celebrated as a top-tier resort destination in the Kansai region, is surrounded by the sea and boasts an abundance of natural beauty. Situated in the island's northern reaches, approximately 45 minutes by bus from Sannomiya, the Awaji Island National Akashi Kaikyo Park becomes a vibrant hub of activity during its annual "Spring Carnival."

This sprawling park serves as a canvas for a diverse array of spring flowers, including nemophila, tulips, ranunculus, and lupins. One of the park's signature features is the Flower Relay, which occurs from March to May, presenting a sequential bloom of different flowers, providing visitors with a continually changing tapestry of color.

In addition to the natural spectacle, the park hosts a range of events and activities centered around its floral bounty. Flower Guide Tours, led by knowledgeable park volunteers, offer insights into the various blooms, while hands-on workshops, such as cardboard crafts and succulent planting, allow visitors to engage creatively with their surroundings. A garden marché adds to the festive atmosphere, showcasing local crafts and produce.

Event Details
  • Dates: March 16 - May 19, 2024
  • Time: Varies by venue
  • Venue: Prefectural Awaji Park
  • Admission: Adults 450 yen, Seniors (65 and above) 210 yen, Junior high school students and younger free (*Additional fees may be required for each event)
  • Official website
  • Awaji Island National Park, Akashi Kaikyo Park
    • Address 8-10 Yumebutai, Awaji City, Hyogo 656-2306
    • ・Hours: 9:30 AM - 5 PM
      ・Closed: Year-end and New Year holidays
      ・Admission: Adults (15 years old and above) 450 yen, Junior high school students and below free

NAKED Cherry Blossom Festival 2024 at World Heritage Site Nijo Castle (Kyoto City)

NAKED Cherry Blossom Festival 2024 at World Heritage Site Nijo Castle (Kyoto City)

Nijo Castle, a former imperial palace and a World Heritage site in Kyoto, attracts countless visitors with its rich history and splendid natural beauty. The castle grounds boast an impressive collection of about 50 varieties and 300 cherry trees, including early to late bloomers. This diverse flora ensures a stunning display of cherry blossoms, with varieties such as Kanhi-zakura, Somei-Yoshino, Yamazakura, and Weeping cherry trees gracing the landscape.

In an exciting collaboration with the digital art powerhouse "NAKED," Nijo Castle is set to host a mesmerizing event that marries traditional beauty with contemporary digital artistry. This event will see the iconic Karakami gate illuminated by projection mapping, alongside cherry blossom light-ups and digital art installations that draw inspiration from the fusuma (sliding door) paintings inside the revered Ninomaru Palace.

This innovative art event redefines the Hanami (flower viewing) experience by intertwining the allure of cutting-edge technology with the elegance of tradition. Attendees can savor Hanamizake (flower-viewing sake) and traditional Kyoto confectioneries accompanied by matcha from a time-honored tea shop, offering a unique way to appreciate the iconic blooms in one of Kyoto's most historic settings.

Event Details
  • Dates: March 8 - April 7, 2024
  • Time: 6 PM to 10 PM (Last entry at 9 PM)
  • Venue: Former Imperial Palace Nijo Castle (Karomon Gate, Inner Moat, Kitchen Front Garden, etc.)
  • Admission (incl. tax): Regular Ticket: [Mon-Thurs] Junior high school students and above: 2,000 yen, Elementary school students: 1,200 yen / [Fri-Sun, Holidays] Junior high school students and above: 2,400 yen, Elementary school students: 1,600 yen
  • Notes: Open every day during the event period (rain or shine, may be canceled in case of severe weather). In case of cancellation or other unforeseen circumstances, announcements will be made on the official website or official social media channels. Content may be subject to change without prior notice.
  • Official website

Food Festivals

THE MEAT OSAKA 2024 (Osaka, Nagai Park)

THE MEAT OSAKA 2024 (Osaka, Nagai Park)

A meat-focused event is set to take place at the Freedom Plaza in Nagai Park, Osaka. Previously, Nagai Park has hosted events like "Chicken Fest" and "Beef Fest," and this time, leveraging the expertise gained, the event will feature a wide variety of meats including beef, pork, and chicken.

The venue will gather eateries from across the country, offering a feast of meat dishes prepared in various styles such as Yakiniku, steak, hamburgers, offal, Churrasco, sausages, skewers, cutlets, and meat sushi.

In addition to the meat dishes, there will be perfectly paired side menus and drinks like shaved ice, ice cream crepes, and craft beer that enhance the umami of the meats. Why not indulge in a plethora of meat dishes while enjoying the warm spring weather at Nagai Park?

Event Details
  • Dates: April 26 - May 6, 2024
  • Time: 10 AM to 8 PM (Weekdays: 11 AM to 8 PM)
  • Venue: Nagai Park Free Square
  • Admission: Admission is free, food and beverage purchases are separate (Food vouchers are 200 yen each)
  • Official website
  • Nagai Park
    長居公園 自由広場
    • Address 1-1 Nagai Koen, Higashisumiyoshi-ku, Osaka City

April, with its warm climate and comfortable weather, is the perfect time for outdoor food festivals and events that take advantage of scenic locations.

It's also a season for flower events and Japan-specific "sakura" (cherry blossom) themed events, offering unique experiences that can only be enjoyed in spring.

(*Please note that the information in this article is as of March 2024. For the latest information, please check the official websites.)

Written by:

Shiro Tsuchida

Shiro Tsuchida

After graduating from university, Shiro worked with an advertising agency for about a year. Leveraging her experience from a journalism club she was part of during her college days, she began her career as a freelance writer. Based in the Kansai region, she capitalizes on her local insights, writing event coverage and reports spanning genres like art, music, comedy, food, and entertainment within the Kinki area. She also handles photography. Additionally, she focuses on region-specific anecdotes and deep dives into local culture and history. Currently, she regularly contributes articles to more than five media outlets.

*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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