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Cherry blossom viewing is an experience that anyone traveling to Japan in spring should enjoy. We introduce amazing places, both famous and lesser-known, to view the blossoms in Kyushu, southwestern Japan. Check out the sakura in Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Oita, Kagoshima, and other wonderful areas!
The Kyushu region is in the southwestern part of Japan. It is known for its warm climate and abundant nature that allows visitors to enjoy a wide variety of scenery during the cherry blossom season.
Travelers will feel captivated by these spectacular and unique cherry blossom spots that are unlike anything you could see in eastern Japan. In this article, we’ll introduce ten of Kyushu’s best cherry blossom spots.
In 2022, the cherry blossoms are expected to bloom around March 20 in Fukuoka Prefecture, around March 21 in Kumamoto, and around March 23 in Kagoshima.
*Please note that many cherry blossom festivals may be canceled in order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 outbreaks. If you are interested in a particular event, please make sure to check their official website for the latest information.
The average annual dates when cherry blossoms first flower in the Kyushu region are as listed below.
|Start of Bloom (Annual Average)||Full Bloom (Annual Average)|
|Fukuoka||March 23||April 1|
|Kumamoto||March 23||April 1|
|Kagoshima||March 26||April 4|
|Nagasaki||March 24||April 3|
|Saga||March 24||April 3|
|Oita||March 24||April 3|
|Miyazaki||March 24||April 2|
1. Fukuoka: Beautiful Illuminations at Maizuru Park
2. Kumamoto: The Impressive Kumamoto Castle
3. Kagoshima: Grand Landscapes at Sengan-en Garden
4. Nagasaki: Rose-Like Cherry Blossoms at Omura Park
5. Saga: A Magical View at Mifuneyama Rakuen
6. Oita: A Sea of Blossoms at Isshinji Temple
7. Miyazaki: Flowers and Historic Ruins at Saitobaru Burial Mounds
8. Kumamoto: Magnificent Blossoms From the SL Hitoyoshi
9. Kumamoto: A Cherry Blossom Tree in a Sea of Flowers
10. Miyazaki: A Long Cherry Blossom Tunnel at Darumizu Park
Photo by Pixta
Maizuru Park is one of Fukuoka’s most famous cherry blossom spots. The park was built around the ruins of Fukuoka Castle. You can also enjoy other flowers and plants in the park during other seasons.
Fukuoka Castle has a 400-year-old history, but the surrounding area is used for relaxation and leisure by locals today. During the spring, the Fukuoka Castle Cherry Blossom Festival is also held, allowing visitors to admire the cherry blossoms blooming within the stone walls.
During this time period there are also illuminations and food stalls opened for business, creating an exciting atmosphere in the park.
Picture courtesy of Pixta
Kumamoto boasts magnificent natural landscapes such as Mt. Aso. The region's iconic Kumamoto Castle was built approximately 400 years ago. It played an important role in Japanese history following its construction.
Kumamoto Castle alone is impressive with its majestic form towering over the vast grounds. However, the pink of the cherry blossoms when in full bloom on the grounds in spring shines and contrasts beautifully against the monotone castle.
*Since February 2018, the entrance to several areas of the castle has been restricted due to the effects of the Kumamoto earthquake. Please check the official website for the latest information.
Picture courtesy of Senganen Garden
Kagoshima is well-known in Japan for its active volcano called Sakurajima. Its name may include “sakura,” which means "cherry blossom" in Japanese, but it is not famous for cherry blossoms. There are theories that it was named as such because cherry blossom petals were found floating on the sea surrounding Sakurajima when it erupted long ago.
We recommend Senganen Garden for viewing the cherry blossoms in Kagoshima! This garden is where the villa of the Shimazu family, the daimyo that once governed over this area, was located. Gorgeous nature spreads across a vast ground of 50,000 square meters with a view of Sakurajima.
Restaurants and souvenir shops are also found inside the garden. Visitors can also observe Satsuma Kiriko, a type of traditional Kagoshima glasswork, being made in the workshop adjacent to the garden.
Fees: Entrance into the garden, Shoko Shuseikan Museum, and mansion is 1,300 yen for adults (high school and up) and 650 yen for children (elementary and junior high school students). Entrance into only the garden and museum is 1,000 yen for adults and 500 yen for children
Official Website: https://www.senganen.jp/en/
Picture courtesy of Pixta
Omura Park is one of Nagasaki’s best cherry blossom spots. The entire park transforms in spring when the 2,000 cherry trees of 21 different varieties go in bloom. One type of sakura that can be enjoyed here is the government-designated natural monument, Omura Zakura.
The Omura Zakura flowers bloom in two layers and have many petals and sepals. This variety has ten sepals compared to the five sepals in typical cherry blossoms. They also grow a minimum of 60 petals and can even have up to 200. The flower has an appearance similar to that of a rose, making it a rare cherry blossom that even the Japanese don’t usually see.
Approximately 300 Omura Zakura trees are planted within Omura Park, allowing visitors to admire these elegant blossoms.
Mifuneyama Rakuen, located in Saga, is a park spreading over 50 hectares where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
Spring brings the blooming of 2,000 cherry blossom trees as well as 200,000 azalea trees that create a magical, picturesque landscape of various colors.
During the Flower Festival there are illuminations in the park. From the end of March to mid-April, the cherry blossoms will be lit up: from mid-April to early May, the azaleas, wisterias, and spring maples (a type of green maple seen during the early summer) are illuminated.
You can spend the whole day here or visit in the evening as there are restaurants and teahouses, as well as Chikurintei, a lodging facility, in the garden.
Chaya Tea Bar is adjacent to Chikurintei, allowing visitors to drink sake and other beverages while gazing at the garden from a tatami room.
Fee: 400 yen for adults, 200 yen for those elementary school and under
*Between March 17 and April 14, admission will be 600 yen for adults and 250 yen for children. From April 15 to May 7, prices are 700 yen for adults and 300 yen for children.
Official Website: https://www.mifuneyamarakuen.jp/en/
Picture courtesy of Isshinji Temple
The places introduced below are for people that often go flower viewing. These spots may be somewhat difficult to access, but they are worth the effort to see truly stunning cherry blossoms.
Isshinji Temple in Oita is in a valley filled with cherry blossoms in the spring, surrounded by mountains. The flowers in the valley are stunning and are often described as a sea of cherry blossom clouds.
Access to Isshinji Temple: Take the bus from the bus stop in front of JR Oita Station bound for Tokiwa Wasada Town for 20 minutes (330 yen), then exit at Tokiwa Wasada Town. From there, it will be 10 minutes by taxi (2,000 yen). Or 40 minutes by car from Oita Station.
Entrance Fee: Adults 700 yen, elementary students 200 yen
Official Website: http://issinnji.jp/index.html (Japanese)
Picture courtesy of Pixta
Saito in central Miyazaki is the prefecture's leading agricultural area. It is also a town where much historical heritage dating from Japan's ancient times and middle ages remains.
The flowers are simply magnificent in this city! At the Saitobaru Burial Mounds, a special historical park, you’ll find rapeseed blossoms blooming brilliantly in the spring and cosmos in the autumn.
Of course, we can’t forget about the cherry blossoms. 2,000 cherry blossom trees and 300,000 rapeseed blossoms bloom around Goryohaka-mae, a spot within the burial grounds.
On evenings during Saitobaru Flower Festival held from late-March to the early April, you can view the cherry blossoms illuminated.
Picture courtesy of Hitoyoshi City
In Kumamoto, you can view cherry blossoms while riding an antique-looking steam locomotive. Visitors can enjoy the cherry blossoms blooming on the riverside during the ride from Kumamoto Station to Hitoyoshi Station for approximately 2.5 hours. Ekiben, train bento boxes, and shochu with ice, an alcoholic beverage, are also sold inside the railcar.
Please make a reservation before coming as the train seats are all designated. A one-way ticket from Kumamoto to Hitoyoshi costs 2,640 yen for adults and 1,320 yen for children. To make reservations, make a phone call or go to any JR ticket office and inquire at the counter about reservations for the Hitoyoshi SL. You can book your seat as early as one month in advance. The train runs only a few times a day so be sure to purchase your return ticket too.
Please check the schedule on the SL Hitoyoshi webpage beforehand to see the days when the SL operates.
Platform: Board from JR Kumamoto Station. It will take about 2 hours and a half to reach the final stop at Hitoyoshi Station.
Phone Reservation: 050-3786-3489 (JR Kyushu Phone Reservation Center)
Picture courtesy of Minamiaso Village
This single, giant cherry blossom tree amid rapeseed blossoms is unforgettable to those who see it in-person. The tree is estimated to be around 400 years old. Its unique shape that resembles a bird spreading its wings, is from lightning and typhoons that have bent and moved its branches outwards.
Trains that travel nearby are not running currently due to the effects of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake. You will need to travel by car from Higo-Ozu Station instead.
Access: 40 minutes by car from JR Higo-Ozu Station
Official Website: http://www.vill.minamiaso.lg.jp/map/oozakura.html (Japanese)
Picture courtesy of Miyazaki City North Regional Center
Around 3,500 cherry blossom trees are planted at Darumizu Park. Countless visitors enjoy Cherry Road, a two kilometer-long row of cherry blossom trees.
Every year festivals occur between late-March and early April, where the park lights up with illuminations that last until 22:00. It is necessary to travel by car from Miyazaki Station, and no public transportation will take you nearby.
This article introduced cherry blossom spots in some areas only accessible by car. Also, depending on the spot, public transportation may be inconvenient to use even if it is available. We suggest using a rental car when going to view the cherry blossoms in Kyushu.
As an additional tip, the second most convenient transportation means in Kyushu is the highway and local bus network. Consider using the 4-day or 3-day SUNQ Pass, which allows unlimited bus rides in Kyushu for a reasonable price.
Kyushu is a very large region in Japan. As such, you cannot travel to all the destinations introduced in this article in one day. In some places, public transportation is limited, so we suggest including these spots in your travel plans only after you've decided on the details of your Kyushu trip.
These ten places, however, are worth making a trip out to visit. If you are currently planning a vacation to Japan, visit Kyushu for stunning and unique flower viewing!