Why do Japanese people love cherry blossoms so much? Find the perfect sakura or picnic spot in central Osaka!


It seems to be a uniquely Japanese cultural custom to have a party while viewing the cherry blossoms.

So why is it that Japanese people love cherry blossoms so much?

The tradition of "hanami" (cherry blossom viewing parties or picnics, is said to have originally been a practice of aristocrats in the Nara period (710-794), and gradually became popular after the Edo period (1603-1868), as food stalls appeared in major cities during the cherry blossom viewing season for hanami go-ers. In the Meiji period (1868-1912), the Japanese government planted cherry trees in parks and riverbeds, and the event spread nationwide.

The ephemeral beauty of cherry blossoms, which bloom and fall in a flash, have a poetic quality that resonates deeply with Japanese people. Picnicking while viewing the flowers and letting off stress by sharing some drinks and chatting have become a popular spring pasttime.

Prep for cherry blossom viewing

  • ・Before heading out, be sure to check the opening hours and any information on the progression of the blooms at the location where you plan to do hanami.
  • ・During the cherry blossom viewing season, parks are at their most crowded point of the year, and it can be easy to get separated from your companions. Try to set up a meeting place in advance so everyone can find one another.
  • ・If you plan to have a picnic, please be sure to figure out the best place to do your cherry blossom viewing by the day before.

Things to bring with you for cherry blossom viewing

  • ・It's best to bring a picnic blanket or plastic sheet to sit on. You can use water bottles to pin it down so it doesn't get blown away in the breeze.
  • ・In addition to some boxed lunches, you may want to bring along some other snacks, like sakura-flavored sweets, little bites, or sandwiches.
  • ・Bring along a blanket, disposable hand-warmers or other warming devices to keep out the chill.
  • ・Don't forget paper plates, paper cups, disposable chopsticks, and garbage bags.

Useful items for cherry blossom viewing, and the best products to keep out the spring chill!

Cute Everyday Items: THANK YOU MART (HEP FIVE)

*Availability subject to change.

This is a popular brand for home goods among young people in Japan. Most of the products are priced at just 390 yen (tax not included), so it's easy to buy cosmetics, accessories, fashion items, and other cute little items here even if your budget is limited.

THANK YOU MART offers many authentic products made featuring famous animated characters and many limited products that cannot be purchased anywhere else. There are new collaborative products made with popular characters from Japan and abroad sold every month, including practical lunch boxes for daily use and environmentally friendly resuable chopsticks, which have become very popular!

Floor: 6F
Business Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Put together items for your picnic: Kitchen Kitchen

Kitchen Kitchen wants you to feel like your home, too can be your own relaxing café, offering a wide variety of casual, simple home goods.

With prices ranging from 100 yen to 1,500 yen (both excluding tax), the shope stocks a wide range of practical and modern products from tableware to kitchenware and interior design. Their popular bento box is divided into four small squares of different colors, allowing for a variety of dishes to be placed in the box without any unpleasant flavor mixing. The color scheme is elegant and vibrant - very useful for eating out.

Floor: Minami-kan (South Building) B2
Business Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Great take-out foods for a picnic under the cherry blossoms

Put your drink in a limited edition Osaka tumbler for take away at Starbucks!

The "Been There" series, available at Starbucks locations around the globe, is a favorite of travelers worldwide.

The Osaka "Been There Series" stainless steel bottle is designed to evoke the bright, lively, and gourmet elements for which Osaka is famous. Using bright red and orange colors, the bottle vividly depicts classic Osaka dishes like takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and mixed juice, as well as comedians, and the crowded Ebisu Bridge.

You can even put your drink order in a tumbler to go! The tumbler will keep the drink warm, so you can drink it hot even outside.

Starbucks' rich New York cheesecake, soft and moist cinnamon rolls, and fluffy filone are also perfect picnic snacks.

For drinks, you have a variety of options, like the Caramel Frappuccino, popular for its mild and sweet flavor, and the TEAVANA series of Tea Creations and Tea Frappuccinos. The Yuzu Citrus Lavender Sage Tea, in particular, contains a lot of fruit juice and has a wonderful flavor that comes from the flowers and herbs within.

*Sold at the GRAND FRONT OSAKA Kita-kan (North Building) 1st floor shop.

Floor: Minami-kan (South Building) 6F
Business Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Floor: Kita-kan (North Building) 1F
Business Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Mall: NU chayamachi +
Floor: 1F
Business Hours: Mon-Fri: 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m., Weekends & Holidays: 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Floor: 7F
Business Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.

A peculiar nigiri sushi bento lunch at Ganko Sushi

Ganko Sushi, which began as just a small 3.5 square meter shop in the Juso area of Osaka City, is a chain of restaurants that boasts inexpensive and fresh, local sushi. You can find it by its symbol, an image of the face of its founder, Atsushi Kojima.

Ganko Sushi offers an extensive take-out menu featuring traditional and authentic Japanese sushi dishes like sashimi, nigiri-zushi, tempura, and grilled fish. You'll also find a surprisingly extensive variety of bento boxes!

The sushi shop also has a signature dessert, a Soy Milk Baumkuchen cake, soft and moist, and made with Japanese soybeans and homemade soy milk. It's not too sweet, but has a rich flavor that rivals that of western sweet shops, and it's been awarded the Monde Selection Gold Award for five consecutive years since 2011!

Floor: Minami-kan (South Building) B2
Business Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. (Last order 9:30 p.m.)

Authentic New York flavors at the City Bakery

A popular bakery from New York City, The City Bakery is also popular for its trendy urban interior.

The shop's best-selling croissant (Pretzel Croissant), hot chocolate, and other desserts, beloved by New Yorkers, are also available at GRAND FRONT OSAKA.

The shops is a bakery, but it's famous not only for its bread, but for its delicious food. The City Bakery chef selects the freshest ingredients and prepares them on a daily basis. Whether you dine in or take out, you are sure to have a delicious meal.

Floor: Umekita Plaza B1
Business Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Premium chocolates from England at Hotel Chocolat

Founded in 1993, this UK cocoa brand quickly gained a high reputation and opened up a physical store in 2004. Now, it has more than 100 shops, cafés, and restaurants in the UK, as well as branches in Denmark, the US, and Japan.

Aiming to make the best chocolate in the world, Hotel Chocolat uses cacao beans from its own plantation, and the brand has gained popularity for its innovative and delicious chocolates.

"Hotel Chocolat NU chayamachi +, the flagship store in the Kansai area, is a pink-toned store festooned with a wall of unique chocolates. You can taste hundreds of select chocolates imported from England, including milk caramel, fruit, nut, and dark chocolate. You can also purchase chocolate drinks in the store, as well as the chocolate drink maker ""Velvetizer."""

Mall: NU chayamachi +
Floor: 1F
Business Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Cherry blossom spots within 30 minutes of Umeda, central Osaka

Osaka Castle Park

Built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1583, Osaka Castle is one of the city's best sightseeing spots, where 3,000 cherry trees bloom one after another from late March to early April. It's even been selected as one of the "100 best cherry blossom viewing spots" in Japan.

Nishi-no-maru Garden, located on the grounds of Osaka Castle, is a 6.5-hectare grassy park famous for its cherry blossoms. With beautiful Yoshino cherry trees blossoming along the castle moat and the majestic castle keep rising within it, this is the most beautiful place in the castle grounds to view both the cherry blossoms and the castle itself.

Kema Sakuranomiya Park

Kema Sakuranomiya Park is a spectacular 4.2 km-long riverbank area that stretches from the Kema Dam to Tenma Bridge. All along the banks 4,700 cherry trees bloom, creating a tunnel of blossoms. The cherry blossoms under the blue sky are beautiful, of course, but the passing of a train over the railway bridge in the distance also adds to the atmospheric effect.

The cherry blossom season is always a lively one, with people coming to lay out their picnic sheets beneath the trees for some "hanami." Along the right side of the riverbank, you'll also see other points of interest, like early Meiji era (1868-1912) buildings, like the Mint and the Sempukan (once a guest house for the Mint), as well as water taxis along the river.

Nakanoshima Park

Nakanoshima Park, the first urban park created in Osaka City, is famous for its rose garden. Located between the Dojima River and the Tosabori River, Nakanoshima Park is 1.5 km long and covers an area of 11.3 hecatres. During the cherry blossom season, visitors can enjoy some 100 Yoshino cherry trees in full bloom in the park. Be sure to try enjoying some "hanami" on the nearby lawn, too.

You'll also notice some retro, Western-style buildings in the park vicinity, Osaka City Central Public Hall, the Bank of Japan, and Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library. Despite Osaka's bustling image, this area offers a more historical and cultural atmosphere.

Why not enjoy a picnic while you take in the beautiful blossoms? It's a simple pleasure to enjoy the view while you lay out your picnic sheet and enjoy your tasty take out, so try doing a "hanami" picnic when you visit Osaka during the sakura season!

If traveling to Osaka by bullet train, from Shin-Osaka Station you can access Osaka’s Umeda district by JR train or by taking the Midosuji Subway Line to Umeda station.
If you are traveling from Namba Station, take the Midosuji or Yotsubashi Subway Line to Umeda or Nishi-Umeda Station.

For more information on Umeda, check out some of our Trip Ideas.

*Business hours may be altered due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

*Information in this article is accurate as of the date of posting. There is a possibility that details regarding these products and services have changed, or that some shops have since closed.


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