It’s difficult to convey in words how great this time of the year really is. Cherry blossom viewing season or hanami (花見) in spring. There is something truly nice about the way Japanese people get excited with the changing seasons. Grab yourself a picnic sheet, some snacks and beer, find a space, plop yourself down and just enjoy. If you’re lucky, every now and then when a light wind blows, delightful blossom petals will dance before you in the sunlight for a few seconds. The atmosphere is festive and pleasant, and although crowded (especially weekends), you won’t really mind.
There is a nice walking track along the river and hundreds of cherry blossom trees dotted along the perimeter. During hanami season, there are also stalls selling beer, Japanese snacks and other goodies. You might come across some rowdy folk singing on their portable karaoke machine, and in the evening definitely some tipsy folk as well, but it’s all good natured fun. Shukugawa is said to be one of the most beautiful cherry blossom viewing locations in Japan; it is certainly one of the best known in Hyogo. The leaves in summer are a brilliant green, and in autumn the deep red hues are spectacular too. In the distance is Mount Kabutoyama, which is very appealing to outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy a leisurely hike.
At Shukugawa station right on the platform is Ikari Supermarket which is perfect for stocking up on picnic supplies, such as sandwiches, bread, rice balls (onigiri), cheeses, snacks and alcoholic beverages. There are also toilet facilities at the station and near Shukugawa Park.
For me, spring in Japan is the best season and hanami the best day out of the year. Get together with friends or a loved one and just enjoy the splendour of nature. Cherry blossoms only bloom for around a week or two in late March/early April in the Kansai region. Gorgeous.
Shukugawa Park, in Nishinomiya, Hyogo prefecture is famous for its cherry blossoms. Shukugawa Park is along Shukugawa river and is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot. About 30 minutes from Umeda station in Osaka. Enjoy!