Osaka Spring – Things to do in Osaka in Spring
With our guide, find out the best cherry blossom viewing spots and other spring attractions and events in Osaka.
From late March to the beginning of April, Osaka’s sakura (cherry blossoms) trees bloom into life, coloring the city in fantastic pink and white. Japanese people cherish this short period by having picnics with friends, family and lovers in their shade. In Osaka, you can find some of the most beautiful hanami (flower viewing) spots in Japan.
Away from the cherry blossoms, there’s plenty more going on in Osaka in spring. It is a season packed to the rafters with special events and festivals, all waiting to be checked out.
Stick with us for the highlights:
Osaka Plum and Cherry Blossoms Viewing
1. Osaka Castle Park – Nishinomaru Garden
Nishinomaru Garden at Osaka Castle is probably the most famous hanami spot in Osaka. Six-hundred fully bloomed cherry trees against the backdrop of a beautiful castle is scenery you cannot afford to miss. The opening hours extend until 21:00 during the cherry blossom season.
Admission: 200 yen (normal days), 350 yen (cherry blossom season)
Access: JR Osakajokoen Station & Tanimachiyonchome Station (18 min walking distance)
Official Site: Nishinomaru Garden
2. Domyoji Tenmangu
In early March, a plum festival is held at Domyoji Tenmangu shrine, but throughout the season, head here to experience first-hand the pleasant floral scent from over 800 red and white plum trees. The shrine also holds an offering ceremony to deities and performs outdoor tea ceremonies for the public.
Admission: 300 yen
Access: Kintetsu line Domyoji Station (4 min walking distance)
Official Site: Domyoji Tenmangu
3. Nagai Botanical Garden
Housing over 1,000 species of trees and flowers, the Nagai Botanical Garden provides a small escape from busy urban life. Also enjoy the Osaka Museum of Natural History and a reserved forest within the grounds.
Admission: 200 yen
Access: JR Tsurugaoka station & Midosuji line Nagai station (15 min walking distance)
Official Site: Nagai Botanical Garden
4. Japan Mint
Japan Mint is the government agency responsible for the production and circulation of coins. However, the place is better known for its tunnel of some 300 cherry trees. The garden has a special opening to the public for a week in mid-April. After the viewing, enjoy a nice stroll along the Okawa river where food stalls are lined up. Have a little peak at what is waiting for you:
Admission: 200 yen
Access: JR Osakatenmangu station & JR Osakajokitazume station (10 min walking distance)
Official Site: Japan Mint
5. Banpaku Kinen Koen- Expo Commemoration Park
Famous for its landmark Tower of the Sun, Expo ’70 Commemoration Park consists of various educational and recreational facilities including a Japanese Garden, the National Museum of Ethnology and Osaka ’70 Stadium.
Admission: 250 yen
Access: Banpaku Kinen Koen Station & Koen Higashiguchi Station on the Osaka Monorail
Official Site: Expo Park
Osaka Spring Festivals and Events
6. Sumo Tournament
Sumo is the Japanese national sport, similar in style to wrestling. Weighing over 150 kg, competitors wrestle with all their strength to push each other out of the ring. It is told that sumo wrestlers train for hours every day and eat a large amount of “chankonabe” (high-protein stew) to maintain their weights. Only the most skilled, diligent and humble can seize the “yokozuna” (highest ranking) title. There are six annual grand sumo tournaments and Osaka hosts one of them every March.
Official Site: Japan Sumo Association
7. Golden Week
A number of holidays cluster between the end of April and the beginning of May, becoming a week-long holiday called Golden Week. If you’re planning to visit famous attractions such as Universal Studios Japan or Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan in March, keep in mind that almost the entire population of Japan is on holiday during this period.
8. Spring Higan-e Ceremony
Higan is a Japanese holiday that celebrates the spring/autumnal equinox. Spring Higan takes place in mid-March for seven days (three days before and after the equinox). During this period, Japanese people visit Buddhist temples and leave offerings at their ancestors’ graves to pay respect. At Shitennoji Temple, you can watch the rituals and enjoy various stalls lined up around the temple.
Official Site: Shitennoji
9. April Bunraku Performance
Bunraku is a traditional Japanese performing art. The term originates from the first puppet show theater built in 1684. The Bunraku show consists of three performers – a narrator, a shamisen (three-stringed lute) player and a puppeteer. Bunraku was recognized by UNESCO in 2003 for its intangible cultural value.
Official Site: National Buraku Theatre
10. Manbu Oneri Ritual
Between May 1 and 5, Dainenbutsuji temple holds the Manbu Oneri ceremony. A man wearing a golden mask walks around the temple while monks chant 10,000 sutras for the Buddhist saints’ ascension to paradise.
Official Site: Dainenbutsuji