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Captivating Sakura Viewing in Miyazaki’s Majestic Nature

“Hanami,” (花見) the traditional Japanese custom of viewing cherry blossoms, has become one of the biggest reasons for foreign tourists to visit Japan in spring nowadays.

The most common and popular way to enjoy hanami is by setting up a picnic blanket under the cherry trees and sharing homemade bento boxes and drinks with family and friends. Another tradition is “yozakura,” (夜桜) where the cherry blossoms are illuminated at night. At some places, you may find food stalls and games, allowing you to savor a festive atmosphere while enjoying the views of the beautiful cherry blossoms.

The essence of hanami lies in appreciating the beauty and fleeting nature of the cherry blossoms while spending enjoyable moments with people. However, especially in big cities, the extreme population density and surrounding artificial structures often make it feel cramped and difficult to enjoy the cherry blossoms peacefully.

If you’re looking to appreciate Japan’s cherry blossoms set against their natural surroundings, there is every reason to consider visiting Miyazaki during springtime. Miyazaki offers numerous locations where you can enjoy Japan’s hanami culture surrounded by breathtaking nature, where there is enough room for everyone. Let’s explore one of Miyazaki’s best cherry blossom spots and feel the refreshing spring breeze as we go.

Located about forty minutes by car northwest of Miyazaki City, the Saitobaru Burial Mounds (西都原古墳群) is recognized as one of Japan’s largest tumulus groups and has been designated as a Japan Heritage site. Spanning approximately 2.6 kilometers east to west and 4.2 kilometers north to south, this vast tumulus cluster boasts over three hundred tumuli scattered across the area.

Looking around, you can gaze upon ancient burial mounds scattered throughout the majestic landscape—a truly unique and awe-inspiring sight! At the Saitobaru Archaeological Museum (西都原考古博物館), you can learn about the lives of ancient people who lived here during the Kofun period. Saitobaru attracts countless visitors seeking to discover its ancient allure and unique atmosphere every year.

The Saitobaru Burial Mounds is also renowned for its stunning spring flowers. Every year from late March to early April, two thousand cherry blossom trees and three hundred thousand rapeseed blossoms burst into full bloom. The breathtaking contrast of vibrant yellow rapeseed fields stretching endlessly, soft pink cherry blossom trees lining the landscape, and the clear blue sky leave visitors speechless. In summer, the plains are blanketed with sunflowers, and cosmos flowers adorn the landscape in fall.

On a sunny day, you can see the mountains clearly beyond the rows of cherry blossom trees.
The cherry blossoms seen in Saitobaru are the variety called “Somei-yoshino.”
They have lovely pale pink flowers with five petals.
Photo shoot time! Let’s capture unique photos here with cherry blossoms and rapeseed flowers as the background.
The cherry blossom-lined area is set amidst expansive land with ancient burial mounds,
making it ideal for a relaxing stroll with scenic views.

In Saitobaru, the annual “Saito Sakura Festival” is held during the peak cherry blossom season. The festival features performances by local taiko drum teams, dances, Kagura stage shows, and family-friendly workshops. During the festival period, you will find food stalls offering various foods and games lined up. While enjoying the cherry blossoms, be sure to stop by and experience the lively festive atmosphere of Saitobaru.

Let’s take a stroll through the food stall alley and find your favorite festival (matsuri) food!
“Hmm, the enticing aroma of sauce coming from the takoyaki stall… Let’s take a peek!”
“I got the festival classic, takoyaki!”
Skewer food is a must-try! The lively atmosphere and delicious aroma at the food stalls boost the excitement.
A mask stall that’s fun for both kids and adults. “Which one is your favorite?”
Aim and…shoot! Shateki (射的), a Japanese shooting game, is one of the popular attractions of festivals.
Indulging in cute and delicious desserts is also a highlight of festivals.
Let’s enjoy them under the cherry blossom trees!

Immerse yourself in Japan’s hanami culture surrounded by majestic nature by visiting Saitobaru. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss!

There are many more enchanting cherry blossom spots in Miyazaki. Please check the information below.

Amagajo Park (天ヶ城公園) – Miyazaki City
In late March every year, approximately twelve hundred cherry blossom trees, including somei-yoshino and yamazakura varieties, bloom in Amagajo Park. You can enjoy a panoramic view of Takaoka town from the observation deck at the Amagajo Historical Folklore Museum. The town comes alive during the annual Amagajo Kaimon Sakura Festival with stage shows and lively street vendors.

Mochio Park (母智丘公園) – Miyakonojo City
Mochio Park has been selected as one of Japan’s Top hundred Cherry Blossom Viewing Sites. The park is home to approximately twenty-six hundred cherry blossom trees, creating a stunning landscape with a beautiful cherry blossom tunnel stretching over two kilometers. From the summit of Mochio Shrine on the hill, you can gaze down upon the entire park and surely be captivated by the enchanting sight of this carpet of cherry blossoms.

Kannonike Park (観音池公園) – Miyakonojo City
Kannonike Park boasts an expansive area of approximately 63 hectares and is adorned with around five thousand cherry blossom trees each year. The park offers a variety of enjoyable attractions, including a 720-meter-long slide, go-karts, and grass skiing with dedicated boots. Visitors can also enjoy camping facilities, bungalows, and a hot spring facility with thirteen types of hot springs within the park, making it a popular destination for families.

Josen Temple (浄専寺) – Gokase Town
On the grounds of a prestigious ancient temple said to have been built over four hundred years ago stands a three-hundred-year-old weeping cherry tree. In spring, its branches droop gracefully, adorned with pink blossoms. The sight of this tree against the backdrop of the towering three-story pagoda within the temple grounds is breathtakingly beautiful. When illuminated at night, it presents a different charm, distinct from its daytime appearance.

Hanatate Park (花立公園) – Nichinan City
Located on Mount Hanadate with an elevation of approximately 489 meters, this park boasts about twenty hectares of land. Around late March when more than ten thousand cherry blossom trees are in full bloom, the Nichinan City Hanatate Park Sakura Festival takes place, featuring events, food trucks, and stalls. After enjoying cherry blossom viewing, relaxing in the natural hot springs of Kitago Onsen Village would be a wonderful way to unwind.

To get more information about Miyazaki’s cherry blossom spots and festivals, please visit the website below.