Hanami, which translates as “looking at flowers” causes both locals and tourists to flock to the best parks all over Japan to observe, photograph, paint and write about the iconic cherry blossoms which usually come into bloom around April. Setouchi also has some of the best and most beautiful parks in Japan to catch a glimpse of the blossom in bloom. Here’s five of the top locations for catching cherry blossoms in bloom this April.

Matsuyama Castle, Ehime

Matsuyama Castle in Ehime Prefecture not only provides visitors with over 200 cherry blossoms in its grounds, but panoramic views of the Seto Inland Sea and Matsuyama itself. The castle is accessible by chairlift, cable car or foot, making this an amazing spot for all travellers to enjoy. Also, as one of the 12 original castles in Japan, this spot has a fascinating history for visitors to discover among the blossoms, as it still maintains its original 17th Century charm.

Kinosaki Onsen, Hyogo

Running alongside the Otani River in Hyogo Prefecture is a flurry of cherry blossoms which are lit up at night time illuminating the area with a pink glow. Travellers can also admire the cherry blossoms near the castle in Izushi Castle Town for a different perspective of this pretty pink display of colour where there are two different types of cherry blossom to be seen each April.

Ritsurin Gardens, Kagawa

The gem that is Ritsurin Gardens can be found in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture, and is considered by many to be one of the best and most beautiful gardens in Japan as well as the largest, making this a perfect spot to view the cherry blossoms which fill the garden, especially when they’re illuminated at dusk. Complete with traditional tea houses, bridges and a stunning boating lake to view the blossoms from, it’s no surprise that this spot is popular with budding photographers and wedding photoshoots. Easily accessible from Kotoden or Japan Railways with an entrance fee of only 410 yen, there’s no excuse not to visit this park.

For more cherry blossom viewing all over the country, check out our Cherry Blossom Season Japan write-up.

Hiroshima Castle, Hiroshima

Visit the impressive grounds of Hiroshima Castle to experience the magic of the cherry blossoms. With around 450 trees in bloom surrounding Hiroshima Castle and its own moat, this is a great spot to sit back and observe nature. The castle is only a 10 minute walk away from Kamiyacho-higashi tram stop so it is easy to access throughout the season.

Kintai-kyo Bridge, Yamaguchi

Already a popular spot, come cherry blossom season the Kintai Bridge becomes even busier as tourists and locals all flock to the area to see the trees lining the river from either side of the bridge. If you’re lucky, the cherry blossoms might still be around for the Kintai-kyo bridge festival which takes place every year on 29th April to commemorate the birthday of the Showa Emperor, Hirohito.

Photos from Setouchitrip. For more information visit Setouchitrip.com