Niigata's Murakami City: Enjoy Fun Events, Sightseeing, and Local Cuisine!

Nara: 8 Splendid Cherry Blossom Locations in 2024

This service includes sponsored advertisements.
article thumbnail image

In Nara, the cherry blossoms can be enjoyed from late March to early April. This article features eight cherry blossom spots in Nara where you can enjoy nature and history, forecasted blooming dates for 2024, and travel tips when using your JR Pass!

Latest update :

Nara: The Birthplace of Cherry Blossom Viewing

Nara was the capital of Japan during the Nara Period (710-784) and prospered as a city long before Kyoto. Nara is also famous for temples and historic sites designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites; these include Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Horyuji Temple, Mt. Yoshino, and others.

This article introduces 8 cherry blossom spots in Nara with travel access tips when using the JAPAN RAIL PASS―a free pass that offers overseas visitors unlimited travel on JR trains!

Table of Contents:

The Special Features of Cherry Blossoms in Nara
Cherry Blossom Dates for Nara: First Day and Peak Bloom
Nara's Top 8 Cherry Blossom Locations
1. Nara Park
2. Nara Park, Mount Wakakusa
3. Nara Park, Himuro Shrine
4. Mount Yoshino
5. Hongo no Takizakura
6. Koriyama Castle Ruins
7. Tsubosakadera Temple
8. Saho River

The Special Features of Cherry Blossoms in Nara

Nature and History! Nara: 8 Splendid Cherry Blossom Locations in 2023

Cherry Blossoms on Mt. Yoshino. Photo by Pixta
In Nara, the cherry blossom viewing experience has two distinct features.

First, visitors can enjoy a long cherry blossom season. In late March, there are early-blooming cherry tree varieties while early May sees the arrival of the late-blooming cherry varieties. You can enjoy the blossoms for about one and a half months.

Second, the cherry blossom scenery allows one to sense the area's historical significance . For example, there are historic buildings unique to this ancient city, and legends that have been passed down for generations.

Cherry Blossom Dates for Nara: First Day and Peak Bloom

Nara's first day of cherry blossoms and peak bloom for 2023 and the forecast for 2024 are listed below (as of March 14, 2024).

Year First Day of Blossoms Peak Bloom
2023 March 20 March 27
2024 March 24 (forecast) March 31 (forecast)

First Day of Blossoms:
Peak Bloom:
Forecasted first blooming dates and peak blooming dates:

1. Nara Park: A Beautiful Park with Deer and Cultural Heritage Sites

Nara Park

Nara Park is known for its approximately 1,200 wild deer―the "divine messengers" of deities―roaming the precincts. It's one of Nara's top sightseeing spots, and several heritage sites dot the expansive grounds, including Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Kofukuji Temple, and Todaiji Temple.

1,700 cherry trees come into full bloom during the spring. Moreover, the park was selected as one of Japan's top 100 cherry blossom spots.

This scenery showcases deer leisurely roaming on a carpet of cherry blossoms. The additional historical buildings convey the flavor of the ancient capital of Nara. Nara Park offers incredible sights that can't be experienced anywhere else.

Also, Nara Park has an evening illumination that can be seen year-round. A collaboration between the Ukimido Gazebo and the cherry blossoms creates a mystical and mesmerizing sight. Be sure not to miss out on this!

Access using the Japan Rail Pass

Use your JR PASS to get to Nara Station, then walk.
Access: 20 minutes on foot from JR Nara Station, 6 minutes on foot from Kintetsu Nara Station.

Nara Park
Location: Nara, Kasuganocho
Admission Fee: Free *Please note that some facilities require an entrance fee.
Official Website:

2. Nara Park, Mount Wakakusa: A Cherry Blossom Spot with Outstanding Views!

Mount Wakakusa

Mount Wakakusa is another famous cherry blossom spot in Nara Park.

This 343-meter-tall mountain is covered with green grass. It takes about 50 minutes to reach the summit, where you'll find the Uguisuzuka Burial Mound. This historical site, believed to be built during the 5th century, is another famous attraction on the mountain.

The cherry trees typically bloom in April. Halfway up the mountain, you can see the seasonal blossoms and get a panoramic view of Nara City. This view also extends to Todaiji Temple's Great Buddha Hall, which was constructed during the Nara Period (710-794).

Despite being a mountain, visitors can comfortably hike up to the summit. Families with children and first-timers can visit without any worries. How about having an enjoyable hanami (cherry blossom viewing) experience at a spot offering spectacular views?

Access using the Japan Rail Pass

Use your JR PASS to get to Nara Station, then walk. Alternatively, take a bus from the station (JR PASS not accepted).
Access: About 40 minutes on foot from JR Nara Station A bus from JR Nara Station plus walking takes a total of about 20 minutes.

Mount Wakakusa
Location: Nara, Zoshicho 469
Admission Fee: Adults (Junior High School and up) 150 yen, Children (3 years old and up) 80 yen
Official Website:

3. Nara Park, Himuro Shrine: Nara's Top Cherry Blossom Spot!

8 Cherry Blossom Spots in Nara 2024: Nature and History in One Place!

Nara Park's Himuro Shrine is said to be the spot in Nara where cherry blossoms first bloom every year.

This shrine―even unique throughout Japan―is where the guardian deity of ice is enshrined. The shrine's approach, which passes through the vermillion torii gate, is a historical spot highlighted by the front gate and the east-west corridor. Both have been designated cultural properties by Nara Prefecture.

The shrine precincts have early-blooming shidarezakura (weeping cherry tree) which start blooming during the first part of March. Deer also wander near the cherry trees. If you're lucky, you just might be able to take a photo of these wild creatures with pink blossoms in the background.

Himuro Shrine is enveloped in a peaceful and soothing atmosphere. This sacred site is ideal for those interested in experiencing nature and history in a quiet surrounding.

Access using the Japan Rail Pass

Use your JR Pass to get to Nara Station, then walk or transfer to a bus (JR Pass not accepted).
Access: About 26 minutes on foot from JR Nara Station A bus from JR Nara Station plus walking takes a total of about 10 minutes.

Himuro Shrine
Location: Nara, Kasuganocho 1-4
Admission Fee: Free
Official Website: (Japanese)

4. Mount Yoshino: Beautiful Cherry Blossoms Cover the Entire Mountain!


One of Japan's most famous cherry blossom spots is Mount Yoshino. The entire mountain has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Here, every year from early March until mid-April, this picturesque spot is blanketed with 30,000 cherry trees of 200 different varieties in full bloom. However, these cherry trees did not originally exist here. According to legend, followers of a local religion continued to donate cherry trees starting from 1,300 years ago.

Mount Yoshino―from its entrance all the way to its summit―is generally divided into four main areas: the lower section (Shimo Senbon), middle section (Naka Senbon), upper section (Kami Senbon), and top section (Oku Senbon) of the mountain.

One of the highlights is the Hanayagura Viewpoint in the Kami Senbon. From here you get treated to a spectacular view of cherry blossoms spreading out directly below.

Also, during the Cherry Blossom Festival held in conjunction with the blossom season, visitors can enjoy an evening illumination of the cherry blossoms.

Access using the Japan Rail Pass

Use your JR Pass to get to Yoshinoguchi Station from Nara Station, then transfer to a Kintetsu train (JR Pass not accepted) and go to Yoshino Station.
Access: It takes about one hour and 50 minutes by train from Nara Station.

Mount Yoshino
Location: Nara, Yoshinogun, Yoshinocho, Yoshinoyama
Admission Fee: Free *Some facilities and services require a fee (the ropeway, etc.)
Official Website: (Japanese)

5. Matabei Zakura: A 300-Year-Old Cherry Tree Named After a Shogun


Matabei Zakura is a famous cherry tree that stands 13 meters tall and is said to be about 300 years old.

Matabei comes from Matabei Goto, a shogun who played an influential role in the Seige of Osaka. This was a battle that occurred near Osaka Castle from 1614-1615. Folklore has it that Matabei retired on this land at the conclusion of the battle. It was said that this one cherry tree came to be called Matabei Zakura.

Standing behind Matabei Zakura there's a peach tree featuring bright pink blossoms and in front there's a rapeseed field with yellow blossoms. In other words, here you can enjoy spring-like scenery.

There are no other sightseeing spots nearby. However, this cherry tree stands above the stone wall with a powerful presence, forming an interesting contrast with the delicate beauty of its hanging branches. So it's worth coming here just to take at look at this Matabei Zakura.

Access using the Japan Rail Pass

Use your JR Pass to get to Sakurai Station from Nara Station, then transfer to a bus (JR Pass not accepted).
Access: A train from Nara Station plus a bus ride takes about 40 minutes.

Matabei Zakura Cherry Trees
Location: Nara, Uda, Odahongo
Admission Fee: Free
Official Website:

6. Koriyama Castle Ruins: Enjoy Some Stunning Views!

Koriyama Castle

The Koriyama Castle Ruins has about 800 cherry trees standing along its moat. This beautiful location was also selected as one of Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots.

Construction on Koriyama Castle first began in 1585, but after the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 it became an abandoned castle.

In recent years it has undergone some renovations. The castle tower and the observation deck facility were completed in 2013. Then afterwards, as Koriyama Castle Ruins, it was chosen as one of the Continued 100 Fine Castles of Japan. It has since become one of Nara's main sightseeing spots.

Every year, the Yamato Koriyama Castle Festival coincides with the local cherry blossom season running from the end of March until early April. In the evening, visitors can enjoy the sight of cherry blossoms illuminated by 500 paper lanterns.

Access using the Japan Rail Pass

Use your JR Pass to get to Koriyama Station from Nara Station, then walk.
Access: A train from Nara Station plus walking takes about 20 minutes.
A bus from Nara Station plus walking takes about 30 minutes.

Koriyama Castle Ruins
Location: Nara, Yamato Koriyama, Jonaicho
Admission Fee: Free
Official Website: (Japanese)

7. Tsubosakadera Temple: Feel the Power of the Sakura Buddha Statue!


Tsubosakadera Temple, said to help cure eye disease, is a historic temple built in 703.

One of the highlights is the giant historical Buddha statue (Dai Shaka Nyorai Sekizo) which stands an impressive 15 meters in height. When spring arrives the temple precincts are filled with cherry trees in peak bloom. The giant Buddha looks just like it's floating on a cloud of cherry blossoms so it's also referred to as Sakura Daibutsu.

From the end of March, when the first blossoms appear, until early April, the temple also has evening cherry blossom viewing. Visitors are treated to a mystical view that combines blossoms and Sakura Daibutsu.

Access using the Japan Rail Pass

Use your JR Pass to get to Unebi Station from Nara Station, then transfer to a bus (JR Pass not accepted).
Access: A train from Nara Station plus a bus ride and walking takes a total of about one hour and 35 minutes.

Consider Renting a Car!

When going to Tsubosakadera Temple by public transit, it's a 30-minute walk from the nearest bus stop. We recommend renting a car for those who don't want to walk that far. If you rent a car you'll be able to visit several cherry blossom spots in an efficient manner.

MATCHA is currently offering international visitors a 10% off coupon on car rentals. Please take advantage of this great offer!

Tsubosakadera Temple
Location: Nara, Takaichigun, Takatoricho, Tsubosaka 3
Admission Fee: adults (18 years old and up) 600 yen, teenagers and children (17 years old and under) 100 yen, infants (5 years old and under) free.
Official Website: (Japanese)

8. Saho River: A 5 Kilometer Row of Cherry Trees!

saho river

The row of cherry trees that extend for five kilometers along the banks of the Saho River is one of Nara's largest cherry blossom spots.

The main highlight of this area is the cherry blossom tunnel. These trees were planted during the latter stages of the Edo Period (1853-1868). This stunning view is woven by some 1,000 cherry trees―including one that's 170 years old.

This spot is conveniently located just 15 minutes on foot from JR Nara Station.

From March 23 to April 3, 2024 there's an event featuring an evening illumination with lanterns called the Saho River Kawaji Sakura Festival. This event is held between the Saho River Bridge Pier Remains and the Funahashi Shotengai. Please visit at dusk when the lanterns are lit!

Access using the Japan Rail Pass

Use your JR Pass to get to Nara Station, then walk or take a bus (JR Pass not accepted).
Access: About 20 minutes on foot from JR Nara Station A bus from JR Nara Station plus a short walk takes about 13 minutes.

Saho River
Location: Nara, Daianji Nishi, plus other locations.
Admission Fee: Free
Official Website:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is it okay to touch the cherry blossoms?

A. No, the cherry blossom petals are very delicate and can be easily damaged. Please enjoy the blossoms without handling them.

We also have a MATCHA article that introduces cherry blossom viewing etiquette to help you have an enjoyable experience. Please feel free to take a look before you start your sightseeing excursion!

Q. Is Free Wi-Fi Available in Nara?

A. Yes. Free Wi-Fi service is available in Nara City.

However, please keep in mind that places offering this service are limited. So we recommend that international visitors rent pocket Wi-Fi during their visit here. MATCHA is offering a 20% off coupon (English) to be used with Ninja-WiFi, so please make use of this offer.

For details please refer to this MATCHA article.

Q. What's the best way to get to Nara from Kyoto and Osaka?

A. It's possible to get to Nara from Kyoto and Osaka by train in less than one hour. So access is highly convenient.

Please see this MATCHA article for more details.

Enjoy Cherry Blossom Viewing in Nara!

We introduced our forecasted cherry blossom viewing dates for 2024, tips on how best to use your JR RAIL PASS, and also Nara's Top 8 Cherry Blossom Spots.

Nara is easily accessible from Kyoto and Osaka―one hour or less by train. So please enjoy a visit to the Kansai area during the cherry blossom season!

Disclaimer regarding access tips: The required travel times listed in this article can sometimes vary depending on the route and also when the information was researched.

All pictures courtesy of PIXTA


Written by



Tokyo, Japan

Editorial assistant at MATCHA since 2022. I'm from Tokyo, and I often go to parks on weekends to see nature and dogs.

I have loved international exchange since I was a child, and during my university years I studied abroad in San Jose, USA. Now, I'm really enjoying discovering new things by seeing Japan from the perspective of a tourist visiting Japan.

Hobbies: Walking, coffee, art, movies, traveling
Favorite places: Shibuya, Yoyogi Park, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Isshiki Beach, Aso in Kumamoto
The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting. Some of our articles contain affiliate links. We kindly ask our readers to exercise careful judgement when making a purchase or booking a service online.