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Nothing heralds that spring has arrived along with the new golf season like the cherry blossom. Each year, as soon as the national flower appears in late March and early April, the Japanese golfers hit the fairways to enjoy the new season and indeed life, which the blooms remind them is both precious and fleeting.

The blooms came a little early this year, but if you are planning on heading out this week or next, here are eight courses in eight prefectures that are within driving distance from Tokyo, that are open to the public, and that celebrate the Sakura in style!

Kanagawa Prefecture (Right now! late March)

Located about an hour from central Tokyo by car, the course is convenient to get to, yet feels secluded and off the beaten track hemmed by picturesque mountains. The course and surrounding mountains have stunning sakura blooming right now throughout its 27 holes.

https://www.golf-in-japan.com/courses/kanagawa/kanagawa-cc

Yamanashi Prefecture (Early April)

As it is a mountain course there should be cherry blossoms from early to mid-April. There are over 500 cherry trees on this course including ‘Double Blossom’ and ‘Oyamu’ varieties. The holes to check are 1, 6, 8, and 9. With the mountain backdrop, they are breathtaking.

https://www.golf-in-japan.com/courses/yamanashi/kitanomori-cc

Shizuoka Prefecture (Late March/Early April)

The little brother of the Fuji Course, the Oshima course is also a great track and has over 9,000 cherry blossom trees and 3 different varieties of Sakura to be found on the course with beautiful views of the ocean to boot. Unlike the Fuji course, it is available to play without staying at the hotel. 

https://www.golf-in-japan.com/courses/shizouka/kawana-hotel-golf-course

 

Chiba Prefecture (late March)

Desmond Muirhead probably didn’t know too much about Sakura when he designed this fantastic course! But Sakura trees are part of the rich natural environment here. The dappled colors of spring and the quick greens are a must-visit.

https://www.golf-in-japan.com/courses/chiba/brick-wood-club

Saitama Prefecture (Late March)

Just 50km from Tokyo this is an easy jaunt from the capital and is surrounded by the beautiful Oku Musashi Nature Park. The course is mostly flat and is always immaculately maintained. The weeping Sakura variety is featured on this course. This is a tree whose petals are slightly pinker with branches that drape to the ground. They also hold a Sakura festival with plenty of on-the-day events and a seasonal food menu too.

Gunma Prefecture (Early April)

The East course 2nd and 7th have their greens surrounded with blossoms which give you raining petals when in full bloom!. A classic risk and reward course, encouraging you to play aggressively, the hazards make the best use of the valleys and slopes, and the in-course design is an intricate experience you will enjoy.

https://www.golf-in-japan.com/courses/gunma/hoh-oh-gc

Tochigi Prefecture (Early April)

Mature Sakura trees guide you up the long driveway in a tunnel of Sakura. Sakura is everywhere on this course but none more so than the Saotome course 2nd hole which is end-to-end completely surrounded by Sakura trees. 

Sample traditional sakura mochi at the tea house in the day and stick around past sunset to enjoy the sakura lit up at night over dinner and a beer or two at the on-site hotel.

https://www.golf-in-japan.com/courses/tochigi/murasakizuka-gc

Ibaraki Prefecture (Early April)

About two hours from Tokyo and up the Ibaraki coast is the Ocean Golf Club. As well as stunning ocean views (as you would expect), this wide and forgiving course is synonymous with the Japanese national flower, especially on holes 1, 2, 12, and 17. 

https://www.golf-in-japan.com/courses/ibaraki/ocean-gc

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