The Best Places to Have a Hanami Picnic in Osaka

| © Brooke Larsen / Culture Trip contributor

The appearance of striking pink petals signals the start of spring in Japan. Cherry blossom season, also known as hanami (which means “flower viewing”), begins at the end of March, and the number one activity during this time is to simply take in the views. Combine the site-seeing with copious amounts of eating and drinking for a truly good time at any of these top spots for picnics among the cherry blossoms in Osaka.

1. Expo ‘70 Commemorative Park


© cotaro70s / Flickr
Osaka Expo Park, as it’s known locally, is a haven of activity all year, but especially during cherry blossom season. Originally the site of the 1970 World Exposition, today the park is home to gardens, sports facilities, museums, the famous Tower of the Sun, and plenty of cherry blossom trees, which draw springtime crowds from all over. Have a picnic surrounded by the flowers, and then enjoy the swan-shaped paddle boats.

2. Osaka Castle Park

Museum, Park

© pelican / Flickr
Few places rival the scenic beauty of Osaka Castle Park on any given day, but during hanami season, it’s truly something special. Hundreds upon hundreds of sakura (cherry blossoms) trees cover the grounds of this massive park that houses the historic Osaka Castle. The pink flowers frame the towering fortress and make the park look like something out of a traditional Japanese painting. The spacious grounds easily accommodate the hordes of spectators who come to picnic and enjoy the sakura in early spring. There are also food stalls and other attractions for additional entertainment.

3. Kema Sakuranomiya Park


© lasta29 / Flickr
In case the name doesn’t give it away, Sakuranomiya is the place to see cherry blossoms in Osaka. Thousands of trees line both sides of the scenic O River, and there is plenty of green space to set up a picnic or barbecue and hang out, which they do in droves this time of year. There is even a man-made beach to enjoy while there. Although there isn’t much else to do in Sakuranomiya, the cherry blossoms are reason enough to make the excursion.

4. Japan Mint

Museum, Park

© lasta29 / Flickr

The Japan Mint is exactly what you think you think it is—a governmental building responsible for making and monitoring Japanese coins. It is also home to more than 300 cherry trees in more than 100 varieties. For just one week, at the start of every April (usually the second week of the month), the grounds are open to the public so anyone can enjoy the flowers. A stroll through the Mint this time of year is quite beautiful. While there, be sure to check out the Mint Museum, as well.

5. Tsurumi Ryokuchi Expo ‘90 Commemorative Park


© lasta29 / Flickr

Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park’s main claim to fame is flowers, so it would stand to reason that the grounds would thrive during cherry blossom season. Originally the site of the 1990 International Garden and Greenery Expo, the park has remained home to a variety of exotic flora, as well as the largest greenhouse in the nation. There is a lot to do at the park, and there is even a restaurant, if you’d rather pick up your picnic when you arrive. Head across the grounds to have your picnic among the cherry trees, and be sure to check out the traditional Japanese tea house when you’re finished.

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