Winter is on its way out and spring is slowly marching in. The Setsubun ("seasonal division") festival last month marked this transition and the blossoming plum trees are further proof. Being happy and excited about March approaching is inevitable because, if there is one sight that Japan is world-famous for, it's cherry blossom viewing, or hanami season! Sakura cherry blossoms are among the most magnificent natural spectacles of Japan that you have to witness if you are visiting Japan from early to mid-spring!*
Osaka again does not disappoint, and the prefecture is so abundant with places that allow you to enjoy and admire these gorgeous flowering cherry trees! But, as always, there is something for every taste and budget. Are you already an avid fan of sumo or wish to witness this exceptional Japanese sport for the first time? Then the March Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka will give you this opportunity. For lovers of art, the Osaka Asian Film Festival brings you fresh Asian films. As for the manga and anime lovers, the Nihonbashi Street Festa will be the place to go. Dreamers and aficionados of architecture, check out the Impossible Architecture Exhibition at the National Museum of Art in Osaka. Last but not least, whether you're a veteran of board games or just curious, make sure to pay a visit to the Osaka Game Market 2020!
Small tip before we start. If you have received chocolates or cookies on Valentine's Day, White Day is your chance to return the gift. Customary in Japan, men reciprocate with a gift in return. Still, it is a wonderful opportunity to find some beautiful romantic spots or enjoy a delicious sweets buffet. So, be sure to check out other ongoing events from February events in Osaka, like the night illuminations, the strawberry sweets buffets, and the plum wine festival!
*For more accurate dates regarding the beginning of the blooming times and full bloom days, make sure to take a look at this cherry blossom forecast.
Here are some fantastic events in Osaka this month!
Architecture is everywhere around us. It has shaped and keeps on shaping all of our human-made surroundings, leading our sense of aesthetics and giving us new points of view. In this exhibition, you will be able to admire some "impossible" works of 40 architects and artists that tried to design a kind of architecture that is yet to be achieved. Thus, those works remain (still) only in the realm of fantasy!
Dates: January 7 - March 15, 2020
Time: Monday-Thursday 10 am - 5 pm, Friday & Saturday 10 am - 8 pm
University student: ￥500
(Various discounts, check the website for more details)
Location: The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Kita
Whether you're already a diehard fan of Kurosawa or Park or you are just now entering the realm of Asian cinema, the OAFF is an excellent opportunity to indulge in this fantastic celebration of filmmaking that sometimes can be really heartwarming, sometimes quite brutal, but for sure eye-opening!
Dates: March 6 - 15, 2020
Time: See the website for the schedule
Price: ￥1,300 - 1,500
Location: Various venues throughout Osaka
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OsakaAsianFF/
Regardless of whether you were a player during your school and college years or are still active, Osaka Game Market provides you with the opportunity to learn about and "test" all the new board games from several major and indie publishers. You will also have the chance to find many second hand stalls with popular games of previous years. So, asobimashou!
Dates: March 8, 2020
Time: 10 am - 5 pm
Regular entry: ￥1000
Entry with a souvenir guide: ￥1500
Location: INTEX Osaka, Suminoe
As this extraordinary wrestling sport is gaining wider fame and world-wide interest, another honbasho (one of the six annual sumo tournaments taking place in Japan) will take place in March in Osaka this time. Nothing beats the close-up experience, so make sure to book your tickets in advance or be there really early in the morning to get the day tickets. Dosukoi!
Dates: March 12 - 26, 2020
Time: Check the schedule on the website
Price: ￥3,800 - 38,000
Location: EDION Arena Osaka, Naniwa
Otakus of the world unite! The Nihonbashi (or Nipponbashi) Street Festa is one of the most significant cosplay events outside of Tokyo. So, if you are a manga/anime and video game lover or are just curious about modern J-pop culture, this event is for you! Make sure to check out the Night Festival After The Nihonbashi Street Festa, too.
Dates: March 15, 2020
Time: 12 pm - 3 pm
Price: ￥3,000 at the door, including food (buffet style) and drinks
Location: Yolobase, Naniwa
There is little to say about the blossoming sakura. It is a sight better to behold than to describe, and there are several locations to admire the stunning little flowers, like the EXPO '70 Commemorative Park, where about 5,500 sakura trees of different varieties open up their flower buds at almost the same time! Both night and day are excellent opportunities to visit this marvelous hanami site. For a full list of our top hanami spots in Osaka, check out our article, Where to See Cherry Blossoms in Osaka.
Dates: March 20 - April 12, 2020
Time: 9:30 pm - 9 pm (last admission: 8:30 pm)
Elementary & Junior High School Student: ￥80
Location: EXPO '70 Commemorative Park, Suita
That's all for now. If you're in a playful mood, heated up for a sumo match, or want to dive into the worlds of Asian cinema and impossible architecture, Osaka has it all! And if you make it there in proper time, a pink-blossomed landscape will welcome you in the most Japanese way possible, so make sure not to miss the hanami cherry blossom viewing.
For tips on celebrating the sakura season and organizing your own hanami, check out our article, How to Celebrate Cherry Blossom Season in Japan. Or, if you'd prefer, join the 2020 Osaka Cherry Blossom Food Tour!