Osaka sakura at Osaka Castle and the Kyu-Yodo River (旧淀川 Kyu-Yodo gawa) cherry blossoms show off all I like about sakura season. The cherry blossoms are free to enjoy and these types of events always seem more for everyone. Also it’s a stretch of land that’s nice but becomes absolutely gorgeous in Spring. It draws a lot of people out and especially on weekends and everyone is having a good time. Free and for everyone, proletariat sakura!
I know there’s such beautiful photos of tons of sakura creating a pink universe for Japan, but they’re everywhere. Sometimes just in basic places: a lone old sakura tree in a schoolyard, a public park, or in someone’s garden.
Atashida and I decided to have an impromptu hanami and the Kyu-Yodo River was perfect for it. Then I went back last year to enjoy again. Two years of Osaka sakura in one post!
Sakura and Osaka castle! The grounds are free to walk around in so you can spend zero and enjoy.
Although not as plentiful as summer or fall festivals a few food stalls pop up around hanami viewing spots.
Some people get really serious to reserve a spot for hanami.
And some people just pull up a bench and enjoy the view. It’s definitely a whatever you feel like atmosphere.
From the river the view is spectacular and tour boats traverse the area filled with people on weekends.
Lots of boats traveling down for Osaka sakura
People waiting in line for the boat tours.
There were even different types of sakura on the river.
I can’t find out what this cherry blossom flower type is but I love the double color.
Last year I went back and it was on a weekday past the prime sakura viewing season so the river was mostly empty except for joggers. Working out through sakura season must be nice!
Falling sakura on water are so pretty.
Last year the leftover Osaka sakura were so nice. We were there in early afternoon and everything was reflecting and peaceful.
The quick gets at a local Sunklus conbini for the hanami. The drinks are Kirin’s special sakura can beer and a peach chu-hai. Those dango say 3-color dango but they’re actually known as “hanami dango” and they’re special to the sakura season. The candied apple was an actual candied apple with a hard candy shell. I thought I would lose some teeth eating it.
Osaka sakura aren’t as fancy as its neighbor Kyoto but it’s a lovely free time to have.
Travel savings tip: I recommend to people especially during sakura and koyo season to stay in Osaka. You’ll get a better hotel deal and travel to Kyoto is only 10 mins via shinkansen or an hour via regular train. Kyoto hotels book up months in advance and the ones left over are usually very pricey. Osaka hotels can be around 7,000-12,000 yen a night ($65-110) for a good location and a decent place. Plus Osaka has a lot of shopping and food options especially at dinner time compared to Kyoto.
Estimated cost of travel day, because I like to show that traveling Japan doesn’t have to be expensive:
Travel: We stayed in Osaka but used transit to get to Osaka castle. About 500 yen roundtrip rail pass unnecessary. 14 day rail pass is around $30USD a day.
Lodging: My hotel was 7,400 yen a night in Osaka.
Food: Breakfast was bakery breads and canned coffee 500 yen, Lunch was Kushi katsu at Daruma around 1,400 yen, refilled bottle of waters (free), dinner was a splurge at Kani Doraku crab for 2,500 yen.
Total spent without lodging or travel: 4,200 yen or $39
Total including everything (food, lodging, travel): 14,000 yen or $126 for two people: 18,000 yen or $160. I also bought some Donki eyelashes and makeup for 5,000 yen.