The Sakuranomiya and Temma area is located in north Osaka. Divided by the Okawa River, Sakuranomiya’s and Temma’s banks are lined with a spectacular display of around 4,800 cherry trees.
The beautiful mix of natural and urban landscape make this little nook of Osaka a fantastic place for dating couples to escape the fast-paced hustle and bustle of city life. Yet, being only a stone’s throw away from central Osaka, breathing in fresh air and relaxing with your partner doesn’t have to mean long train journeys or trekking up mountains! A gentle stroll along the river bank or a picnic in the park is an ideal date for couples who want to enjoy the outdoors.
In Spring, Sakuranomiya is a hot spot for cherry blossom viewing. Between the end of March and beginning of April the river banks are bursting with hues of pink as the cherry blossoms come into full bloom. Many Japanese people will celebrate this fleeting season by picnicking with friends, families or loved ones under the cherry trees. These picnics are often referred to as ‘hanami,’ or cherry blossom parties.
If you are lucky enough to be visiting Japan during the spring, embrace this Japanese seasonal activity and share a picnic by the Okawa River with your other half. Gaze over beautiful views of the river shrouded by picture-perfect cherry blossoms.
To reach the river bank take the west exit at Sakuranomiya train station. After going through the ticket gates, turn left. You will pass a convenience store on your left. Here you can pick up some picnic foods and drink, such as sushi plates to share, flavored rice balls or Japanese sweets. Then cross the road straight ahead and turn right to go down to the river bank. During cherry blossom season, hot food stalls are set up as you approach the river bank. You can try local foods such as takoyaki, (pieces of octopus cooked in batter and shaped into balls.) Be sure to bring a picnic blanket or something to sit on and enjoy the stunning views of the city’s skyscrapers. With the balcony of pink blossoms overhead, you’ll be spoilt for choice for selfie backdrops.
Whilst many people flock to this area during the spring, Sakuranomiya and Temma are a must-visit at any time of year. Each season is distinct as leaves turn from pink to luscious green to fiery reds. So, whatever the season of your visit to Japan, a stroll along the river is a wonderful way to share a peaceful moment with the significant person in your life.
A nice walking route for your date is to start at Sakuranomiya station (west exit) and stroll south along the river bank. You’ll pass Fujita House Garden on your left which is a small natural garden with a lily pond and a quaint red bridge. Eventually you’ll reach Kawasaki Bridge ahead of you which will take you to across the river. This suspension bridge is only for pedestrians which makes it a pleasant place to stop and take some photos. From the middle of the river there are fantastic views across Sakuranomiya and Temma area and beyond. After you have crossed the river turn right and you can head north to Temma area.
After a few minutes’ walk the Mint Museum will appear on your left. This western style red brick building displays coins, medals and industrial art. Admission is free and it is open daily from 9:00-16:45. Perhaps more famous than its coin exhibits is Mint’s cherry blossom garden that is open to the public for one week a year every April. More than 300 cherry trees of over 100 varieties can be found on its grounds. The dates of the open garden can be found on the museum’s website.
As you carry on your walk up the river you will arrive at Osaka Amenity Park. This is a complex of shops, restaurants, cafes and even has an art gallery. If you’re craving some cultural activity check out the Art Court Gallery and Sculpture Promenade. In the Gallery’s environs there is a sculptural installation entitled “Organic Paradise.” You can explore artists Jaume Amigó and Keiju Kawashima abstract forms as you follow the sculpture trail. Art Court is a contemporary art gallery and is a great place to view established artists work or discover up-and-coming talent. For culture-loving couples this is a must-visit, you can enjoy discussing dynamic artworks and marvel over the artists’ craftsmanship.
After all the fresh air and exercise you may be in need of a coffee break! Next door to Art Court is the Osaka Amenity Park Plaza. In this plaza you can find cafes, restaurants, a convenience store and retail. For a good coffee and a baked treat pop into Foodscape, a chic café and bakery which has indoor and outdoor seating which is perfect for enjoying those warm summer nights.
This is nearly the end of your date around Sakuranomiya and Temma. To get back to Sakuranomiya station carry on walking north and cross the Genpachi Bridge which will lead you back to the station.
A fun alternative to walking this route is to rent a bicycle, the wide, smooth paths make this a pleasant cycling route and is also a great option if you want to explore further afield too. Temma area has several bicycle rental options including Globalwheels, a company that caters specifically for English speaking tourists. Advanced booking is required for this cycle hire company and contact information can be found on their website.
Ginchari is another cycle hire shop which rent out bicycles for a very reasonable 700 yen per day.
Whichever mode of transport you and your partner opt for be sure to hang around this area to catch the sunset. The intoxicating combination of cherry trees, the Okawa River and the city’s skyscrapers are truly stunning against the setting sun.
Umeda station is within walking distance of Sakuranomiya and Temma or a couple of stops away by train. After being rejuvenated by your date in nature with your loved one you’re in the perfect location to go on into the night exploring the bars and restaurants that lively Umeda has to offer.