3 Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Kyushu In 2023 | CoolJapan

We've officially entered March with a buzz of excitement. Why? Because cherry blossom season is here again! There are many wonderful places in Japan where one can enjoy the cherry blossoms and Kyushu, being Japan's third largest island, is one of the first to show signs of spring.

Kyushu Cherry Blossom Spots 2023

(Photo from: Nagasaki Prefecture Convention and Tourism Association)

Located in the southwestern part of Japan, the Kyushu region (comprising seven prefectures namely, Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki and Kagoshima) is famous for its fertile land and incredible natural beauty across all seasons. However, springtime is an exceptional sight. Sakura trees start to bloom and colour the landscape in lovely shades of pink, slowly making their way across the rest of Japan like a beautiful pink wave.

This is known as the Sakura Zensen or the cherry blossom front.

Due to Japan's long geographical coastline, cherry blossoms bloom at different times during spring. The first flowers typically start to appear in the south, where temperatures are warmer, and gradually move northwards as the warm weather spreads across the country.

Kyushu Cherry Blossom Forecast 2023

Sakura flowers bloom for a short time, with the blooming period lasting only about two weeks. To enjoy the fleeting beauty of these flowers in their full glory, many people keep close tabs on the Japanese Meteorological Agency, which releases a forecast of the Sakura Zensen with estimated dates of first bloom and full bloom during sakura season.

Before you book that ticket to Japan, let us show you three of the best cherry blossom spots and the hidden natural gems that Kyushu has to offer!

1. Omura Park in Nagasaki Prefecture

Omura Park

Omura Park is one of Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots. (Photo from: Nagasaki Prefecture Convention and Tourism Association)

Built over the ruins of Kushima Castle that overlooks Omura Bay, Omura Park transforms into a dreamy pink wonderland during cherry blossom season. Around 2,000 sakura trees of various varieties go into bloom from late March to mid of April, earning it a well-deserved place in Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots.

Here, visitors can admire the delicate pink of the iconic Somei Yoshino blooms as well as catch a glimpse of the rare Omura-zakura. The gorgeous Omura-zakura species is a nationally designated natural monument that blooms in two layers and has many petals. Unlike the standard five-petal sakura, Omura-zakura can have up to 60 to 200 petals per flower!

Omura zakura

The rare Omura-zakura species has gorgeous blooms with two layers of petals. (Photo from: Photo AC

This scenic park will also be illuminated at night during the Omura Flower Festival, held from late March to mid-June, which attracts many visitors to come to enjoy the beautiful night scene.

2. Mifuneyama Rakuen in Saga Prefecture

Mifuneyama Rakuen in Saga Prefecture

A picturesque springtime scenery that is reminiscent of a painting. (Photo from: Saga Prefectural Tourism Federation)

The magnificent Minefuneyama Rakuen is a sprawling 500,000 sq-meter garden that was created in 1845 for Shigeyoshi Nabeshima, the reigning ruler of the Takeo region during the Edo period. Located at the foot of Mt. Mifune, this park is a living work of art that was designed to offer breathtaking landscapes throughout the seasons.

The trees and flowers that fill the vast garden grounds change colour according to the season but it is particularly stunning when spring arrives. Clouds of pink blossoms cover the garden as some 2,000 cherry trees start to bloom around the end of March, including Yoshino cherries, Oshima cherries, mountain cherries and double-flowered cherries.

Mifuneyama Rakuen night illumination

Night lights lend a romantic ambience at Mifuneyama Rakuen. (Photo from: Kyushu Tourism Organization)

When night falls, the sakura trees come aglow with soft lighting in one of Kyushu's largest illumination events of its kind. The enchanting scene of cherry blossoms and lanterns reflected in the tranquil pond is a sight to behold.

Hagino Ochaya Tea House

Take a break under cherry blossoms at Hagino Ochaya Tea House. (Photo from: Kyushu Tourism Organization )

The flower festival at Mifuneyama Rakuen does not end with cherry blossoms. In late spring, visitors are in for another visual feast as 200,000 azaleas explode into a patchwork of vibrant colours against a backdrop of the ragged cliff of Mt. Mifune. Take a stroll to smell the flowers or stop for some Japanese snacks at the beautiful Hagino Ochaya Tea House which will be open to the public during the flower festival.

3. Saitobaru Burial Mounds in Miyazaki Prefecture

Saitobaru Burial Mounds in Miyazaki Prefecture

A beautiful contrast of soft pink sakura and yellow rapeseed flowers. (Photo from: Miyazaki Prefecture Tourism Association)

It may sound like a strange spot for cherry blossoms but the Saitobaru Burial Mounds is home to an impressive variety of flowers that includes rapeseed blossoms, sunflowers, colourful cosmos and more!

Situated on a vast plateau with an elevation of around 60 to 70 metres, this is actually a park with more than 300 ancient burial mounds that were built around 1,700 years ago during the Kofun period. In 1952, the Saitobaru Burial Mounds were designated as a national historical site to preserve the ancient tombs and their heritage.

At this peaceful park, one can enjoy splendid views of cherry blossoms and rapeseed flowers blooming together in spring. Enjoy a hanami picnic while gazing out to an unforgettable sight of a field of 30,000 bright yellow rapeseed flowers blooming against 2,000 pink cherry blossom trees under blue skies.

Saitobaru Burial Mounds landscape

Be surrounded by flourishing nature at Saitobaru Burial Mounds. (Photo from: Miyazaki Prefecture Tourism Association)

Those with time to spare can visit the Saitobaru Archaeological Museum to discover more fascinating insights about these well-preserved tombs such as their construction, the archaeological process and the life of the ancient people who lived in this area.

Japan in spring is definitely a favourite among travellers and the spectacular view in these locations proves why. Which of these three Kyushu spots are you looking to visit this cherry blossom season? 

Speaking of exploring Kyushu, here's a one-day itinerary to make the most out of the port city, Nagasaki.