The last time I was in Japan in April I was a toddler; so my memories are few and far between. This time around I researched the best places for "hanami", which translates to cherry blossom (sakura) viewing.
If you can only choose one destination for hanami in Osaka, it's the Mint Bureau, or Mint Museum grounds. In mid-March, dates are announced for the one week viewing in April. This year, they fell on April 9 to 15. Just those few days to walk just over 500 meters and view 350 trees with 132 varieties of sakura trees. It's a cluster of incredible.
My first viewing was on day 2, April 10, when the rains went from a drizzle to mildy heavy with winds. Despite that, the crowd was decent and the sights made up for it. The next morning, it was cloudy but rainless. So I went back again. It's amazing to see the change in blossoms over 24 hours. That's why the viewing is only for a strict week. After that the weather, rain, wind, and heat of the sun, will take the blossoms away until next year.
Parallel is a food festival with vendors that seemed to match the number of sakura trees. Mainly filled with local street food, like okonomiyaki, the vendors are freshly preparing hot food and snacks to make a day of your cherry blossom viewing.
In the past, Japan gifted countries around the world with cherry blossom trees. While it is beautiful there, it's truly a sight to see in its homeland.
|Massive weekend crowd|
|Rainy day cherry blossom viewing|
|132 different varieties|
|350 trees along 500 meters|
|Shades from whites to pinks|
|A good crowd despite the rains|
|Local street food vendors parallel to the Mint Bureau|
|Sweets, savories, and souvenirs|
|Admiring it again with the crowds|
|Locals, Japanese tourists, and international tourists all clustered together|
|And at eye sight|