Top Five Hanami Sites Near Nagoya

ByRay Proper
Feb 22, 2023

Top Five Hanami Sites Near Nagoya

“Hanami” literally means flower viewing, but it is much more than that to Japan’s people. Hanami signals the end of another long winter’s chill. Besides simply enjoying the beauty of flowers, especially cherry blossoms (桜 sakura), hanami means time spent with friends and family outdoors with copious food and drinks, to excess by the younger generations of Japan.

The practice is so popular that finding and securing a good spot in a popular park during the peak season may require arriving the day before and camping out on one. The experience is different depending on where and who you go with, but it feels like the entire country collectively casts off the winter in a sudden rush of energy.

Hanami is a picnic, though with the flowers and often lights and music, it is more like a picnic at a festival. You are golden if you can get yourself a spot, some gear, and some friends to enjoy it all with. Here is a list of things to bring and some basic rules, followed by Nagoya’s top five hanami spots!

Must have Hanami Gear

  • Picnic sheet (plastic tarp, bamboo straw, etc.) to sit and eat on
  • Thin cushion for sitting, or a small folding chair
  • Garbage bags
  • Warm clothes (nights get chilly!)
  • Paper cups, plates, and disposable chopsticks
  • Wet wipes/tissues
  • Bottle opener / Wine opener
  • Food (you can buy special bentos, or get whatever)
  • Drinks (drink what you like, but pack it out)

Hanami Etiquette

Picnic spots are first-come-first-serve

Finding a spot can be challenging, especially in the most popular areas or seemingly anywhere at “peak blossom.” Arriving early, literally with the birds at 5 am, will help ensure you get something. The ONLY surefire way to get a spot is to come early, spread your picnic sheet(s) and sit on them until your guests arrive. Leaving a sheet and a note is tempting but risky.

Make sure picnics are OK.

Be sure you can picnic there before you set up; the presence of cherry trees and blossoms does not mean you can use the area! Check first.

Pack out your garbage.

In big popular areas, you may find garbage areas set up for you, but most do not, and despite what you may see drunken college students do, DO NOT leave your garbage behind, especially not your picnic sheet and beer cans!

Don’t mess with the trees!

I know the flowers are lovely, but DON’T break off a branch to take home. It is not appreciated and is likely illegal.

Take your shoes off

A picnic sheet on the ground here is considered an inside area, and shoes are not to be worn, so wear shoes that are easy to take off!

Don’t be “that guy” or girl!

You know what I mean here! Just be cool; you can be cool, right?

If you are looking for a spot to enjoy the blossoms, you are in luck; plenty of options are available to you in and around Nagoya. To get you started, here are the…

Top Five Hanami Sites Near Nagoya

Okazaki Park (Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture)

Okazaki_park_aichiOkazaki Park includes Okazaki Castle, the museum, and many historical points. For 300 years, Okazaki Castle has been honored as the birthplace of deified local historical figure Tokugawa Iyeyasu and the Tokugawa Shogunate cradle. You can enjoy views of cherry blossoms and Japanese wisteria along the Oto River in spring, nearly unparalleled in the region; Okazaki Park is listed among “Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots.” Another point to note is the “Great Iyeasu Kou Aoi Bushoutai” warlords strutting around the park to entertain tourists in their armor. You can take photos with them, or see their show.

While this park is about an hour outside Nagoya, you will find the park’s scenery and relative peace worth the trip out of town.

 Okazaki Park 〒444-0052 愛知県岡崎市康生町561-1 (map link)

Inuyama Castle (Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture) 

inuyama_castle_aichiInuyama Castle is located north of Nagoya in the city of Inuyama. The castle and grounds overlook the Kiso River separating Aichi and Gifu prefectures. This area has some great fireworks festivals in summer, and you can also see cormorant fishing, which is a very relaxing activity. Inuyama Castle is one of the few Japanese castles built before the Edo period and is a national treasure.

Inuyama is also about an hour outside Nagoya. While less of a place to lay out the tarp and drink, the castle is an excellent place to walk around and enjoy the flowers. If you want to picnic, you can go just down the hill to the river.

 Inuyama Castle 〒484-0082 Aichi, Inuyama, 犬山北古券65−2 (map link)

Four Seasons Road at Yamazaki River

Yamazaki-RiverYou can find one of the best places in the region for cherry blossoms in a very convenient location, near Mizuho Undojo Nishi Station (on the Sakuradori Line), at Mizuho Park.

Just a bit of a walk from the station, you will find more than 500 trees adorning a 2.5 km /1.5-mile stretch of the Yamazaki River between the park and the baseball / recreational fields.   Strolling along this path is quite the experience and is very popular, especially with couples.

Four Seasons Road at Yamazaki River is listed among “Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots.”

Mizuho Park 瑞穂公園 愛知県名古屋市瑞穂区萩山町3丁目 (map link)

Gojo River (Oguchi-cho, Aichi Prefecture)

iwakura_sakura_aichiThis is another excellent spot for hanami along the river for our list. You can access the Gojo River and its 1400 trees via Iwakura Station on the Meitetsu Inuyama line this time. You can find the trees just a short walk, about 5 minutes away. The official start/stop points are “between Meiji Bridge and Daiichiba Bridges,” but I have not figured out which those are. The last time I visited this spot, I walked from Iwakura to Ishibotoke Station and rode back.
Tsuruma Park (Tsuruma Koen)

Iwakura Station, Aichi (map link)

Tsuruma Park (Tsurumai, Nagoya)

tsuruma_sakura_aichiTsuruma Park (often mistakenly called Tsurumai Park) is the oldest park in Nagoya. It was established in 1909.   The park features a large fountain and gazebo constructed in a decidedly  European style. Long-time residents of Nagoya would be familiar with the park from the Nagoya Walkathon! While the 1200 trees themselves are worth the trip, I include the park on our top five list. With only this caveat, only go here if you plan to get very drunk and have fun with a large group of people. It is the most popular spot in Nagoya to enjoy hanami…

The hanami party season is packed with revelers, and 90% are full-on-tossed. If a quiet day at the park is what you seek, this is not for you. Tsuruma Park is the happening spot among the party people of Nagoya, so get there early to get your spot, and plan to be cozy with the neighbors!

Tsuruma Park, near Tsurumai Station (map link)

More Information

Cherry Blossom Forecast – Japan Guide
Kikuo Nagoya’s List
The Bloom of Cherry Blossoms (JNTO)

Photo: 名古屋太郎  [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons -Modified
Photo: “Okazakikoen” by Japandr (CC BY-SA 3.0) -Modified
Photo:Creative Commons “Castle in Inuyama” by ThorstenS (CC BY-SA 3.0) -Modified
Photo:Creative Commons “Yamazaki-River” by KAMUI (GNU Free License) -Modified
Photo:Creative Commons “Gojo Gawa” by Gnsin (GNU Free License) -Modified
Photo:Creative Commons “Cherry blossoms in Tsuruma Park” by アラツク (GNU Free License) -Modified

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