There are many well-established spots across Japan to view cherry blossoms in the spring months, including the likes of Ueno Park and Shinjuku Gyoen. However, they also attract quite a significant number of spectators. If you're after some secret sakura spots, the small Niigata town of Urasa has quite a few - with zero crowds in sight. Here are a few of the best!
This small local parkland area is exceptionally scenic. It's flanked by mountains, and not only are there a significant number of cherry trees, there are also other blooms like daffodils in the spring months. The vibrant yellows and the delicate pinks create a beautiful scene! If you visit in the lead up to Children's Day on May 5th, you'll also see koinobori, or carp streamers, hanging over the dam.
Located by the famous Mt. Hakkai, Hakkaisan Shrine is known for its annual fire walking festival and some spectacular color as the autumn leaves change to their blazing reds, oranges, and yellows. There are also some sakura trees by the entrance to the shrine, and most of the time you'll have the place completely to yourself. Parking is available right out the front.
Home to the annual Naked Pushing Festival in early March and a wonderful chrysanthemum festival in late October, Bishamondo Temple is a place that really encapsulates all four seasons. There are a number of cherry blossoms right out the front too, and sometimes you'll even get to enjoy early-blooming azaleas at the same time. A real feast of springtime color!