If you're visiting Japan during spring, you are no doubt planning to visit some of Japan’s famous Sakura (cherry blossoms) spots. Spring is one of the loveliest times for a good stroll, so it’s good to know some locations with exceptional natural beauty. Here are six spots you must visit while in Hyogo prefecture during spring.
１.Sakura in Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle is one of the most aesthetically pleasing castles in Japan. One reason is the property is home to multiple species of Sakura trees which number close to 1,000.
The pink Sakura against the backdrop of the white walls of the castle offers a stunning contrast. No wonder Himeji Castle was chosen as one of Japan's top 100 Sakura viewing sites.
Don’t miss out on Sakura viewing at night as well. In early April, the castle and Sakura are illuminated for night viewing. Certainly a different way to view Sakura.
|Address||68 Honmachi, Himeji City, Hyogo|
|The best time for Sakura||early April|
2.Great Sakura tree in Tarumi
This sakura tree has been living quietly in the woods for 1000 years. It is known as an immortal mountain hermit because of it’s longevity.
In fact, because of it’s age and size (6.3m trunk circumference), it was registered as a special natural monument in Japan about half a century ago.
Though the trunk is now hollow, locals take care of the tree so well that every spring it blossoms, gracefully covering the entire tree. The surrounding Sakura trees were started from the seeds of this magnificent Sakura.
Though you have to hike up mountainous paths to access the tree, every year about 10,000 people visit this Sakura when it’s in blossom. It is truly a hidden gem and I can tell you it’s worth the hike.
|Address||85 Kejime, Aza, Tarumi, Oyacho, Yabu, Hyogo|
|The best time for Sakura||From early to mid April|
3. Rent a car and enjoy a scenic drive on Mount Rokko
Mt. Rokko is perhaps Hyogo prefecture’s most well known mountain. The peak has several lookout points with stunning views. The night view of Kobe from Kikuseidai is amongst the top 3 night views of Japan.
|Address||2-2 Mayasancho, Nada-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo|
There are various day time activities on Mt. Rokko as well.
Experience the changing seasons through the changing alpine plants at the Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden.
Visit in spring gives you the chance to see the enchanting white skunk cabbage.
|Address||4512-150 Kita Rokko, Rokkosan town, Nada-ku, Kobe City,Hyogo|
|Admission||Adult (12 and over) ¥620 , Child (4-11) ¥310|
4. Ono Sakura bank corridor
5 different species of Sakura tree are planted along the banks of the Kakogawa river for a total distance of 4km. Apparently this is one of the longest Sakura corridors in western Japan.
It’s breath taking to see the Sakura start to bloom up stream and gradually bloom all the way down.
|Address||Suminagacho, Ono City, Hyogo|
|The best time for Sakura||From late March to early April|
If you make it to Ono city, visit a temple called Jodo-ji. It’s another great spot to enjoy Sakura viewing. On the grounds of this temple is a Jododo building which was built more than 800 years ago. Worth a visit if you are into visiting shrines and temples.
|Address||2094 Kiyotanicho, Ono City, Hyogo|
|Time||9:00-12:00/ 13:00-17:00 * may change seasonally|
5. Shibasakura specialized garden Flower Carpet (Hananojuutan)
Here, gentle hills are covered with white, pink, and light purple moss phlox.
In Japanese, moss phlox are known as Shiba Sakura, which literally means ground Sakura (cherry blossom).
This garden specializes in moss phlox, and they are proud of nursing over 50 different kinds.
The contrast of the blue sky and the vivid colors of the carpet of moss phlox is just spectacular!
This garden is surrounded by mountains and feels like you’re in a secret retreat!
Why don’t you bring your lunch and enjoy a picnic surrounded by great nature.
|Address||170 Eitakuji, Sanda City, Hyogo|
|The best time for Shiba Sakura||From mid April to mid May|
6. Akashi Kaikyo National Government park
Awaji island is located in the Seto Inland sea. The concept of the Akashi Kaikyo National Government park is to have a picturesque seaside garden where one can enjoy seasonal flowers and the beautiful blue ocean year-round. In March, one kind of Sakura called “Kawazu Sakura” will start to bloom in this park. This makes it a famous place amongst locals for the earliest Sakura viewing picnic spot. Even after Sakura season, you can enjoy various flowers such as narcissuses, tulips, and anemones. There are always beautiful flowers warmly welcoming you to the park.
|Address||8-10 Yumebutai, Awaji City, Hyogo|
|Business Hours||9:30-18:00 * may change seasonally|
|Admission||Ages over 65 ¥210 / Adult (Ages over 15) ¥410 / Under 14 ¥80|