Japan, the birthplace of anime, is famous not only for Mount Fuji and sushi but also for its beautiful cherry blossoms, which is also known as Sakura, in spring. In Japan, which has distinct four seasons, the latter part of March to early April, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, is bustling with many tourists. There are numerous anime where cherry blossoms are beautifully depicted, adding a more emotional touch to the narrative. The depiction of petals falling from fully bloomed cherry blossom trees showcases the evolution of animation technology.
Cherry blossoms are also symbolic of new beginnings. Schools in Japan start in April, coinciding with the peak bloom of cherry blossoms in many regions. Thus, cherry blossoms often appear in anime that are categorized as drama, slice-of-life, coming-of-age, and romance. We have carefully selected 7 best anime that features stunning cherry blossoms. Where the depiction of cherry blossoms not only adds beauty but also plays a significant role in the narrative. Let’s enjoy cherry blossom viewing (hanami) within these anime.
Apart from the element of cherry blossoms, I guarantee that the storylines of the following anime are engaging on their own.
1. 5 Centimeters per Second
The first anime with beautiful cherry blossoms that comes to mind is 5 Centimeters per Second (秒速5センチメートル). This is an early masterpiece of Makoto Shinkai, who is now one of the world’s greatest directors, and is one of my top three favorite anime films in his works. Released in 2007, it is a mere hour-long anime film, but in that hour it is packed with emotional narration and wordless descriptions of landscapes. The movie is made up of three short films, each of which is connected to the other, so they should all be considered as one film. The title comes from the fact that, as the heroine Akari says, the petals of a cherry blossom fall at a speed of 5 centimeters per second.
The three films, Cherry Blossom, Cosmonaut, and 5 Centimeters per Second, focus on different periods in the life of the main character, Takaki. In the first, Cherry Blossom, he and Akari attend the same elementary school, but are separated due to Akari’s father’s work. The story begins when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. In Cosmonaut, Takaki’s life on Tanegashima Island, where he transferred to during his high school years, is depicted, and a girl in love with him appears. In 5 Centimeters per Second, Takaki, now an adult, is living an unsuccessful life in Tokyo. The focus is on what will happen to his destiny with Akari, whom he has always had feelings for somewhere in his heart. Yamazaki Masayoshi’s “One more time, One more chance” played in the third episode brings tears to the audience at the climax of the story.
Runtime: 63 min
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Studio: CoMix Wave Films
2. Your Lie in April
As you can see from the title of Your Lie in April (四月は君の嘘), the season is spring, April, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. And from the very beginning of the story, there are many descriptions of beautiful cherry blossoms with petals fluttering in the air. Many fans may remember the heroine, Kaori, as a character who looks good in cherry blossoms. Your Lie in April is based on the manga by Naoshi Arakawa, which was published in 11 volumes between 2011 and 2015. The famous A-1 Pictures adapted the manga into an anime.
Set in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward, Your Lie in April focuses on two junior high school students. One is Kosei Arima, who has shown his talent on the piano under the guidance of his strict mother since he was a child, and the other is Kaori Miyazono, a cheerful and free-spirited violinist. The scene of their meeting under the cherry blossoms in full bloom is very impressive in this anime. It is a dramatic story that symbolizes the beautifully dancing and falling cherry blossoms.
Studio: A-1 Pictures
3. Akebi’s Sailor Uniform
Speaking of relatively recent anime, Akebi’s Sailor Uniform (明日ちゃんのセーラー服) starts its story from spring, a season of beginnings, and evokes memories of cherry blossoms. One of its key visuals even features cherry blossoms. Aired in 2022 with 12 episodes, while it might not have been a massive hit, it strongly captured the hearts of many fans. CloverWorks adapted the manga written by Hiro and serialized in Tonari no Young Jump since 2016 into an anime. It’s recommended for those who want a laid-back viewing experience and seek solace in watching anime.
Akebi’s Sailor Uniform is an anime that beautifully captures the rural scenery and delicately illustrates the feelings of young girls. Raised in the countryside where there are few children, the protagonist Komichi Akebi is filled with anticipation as she prepares to attend middle school, looking forward to interacting with many friends her age and wearing the sailor uniform she’s always admired. Indeed, complementing Komichi’s fresh start, cherry blossoms flourish splendidly around the school. The anime shines a spotlight on the innocent and pure daily life of Komichi and her classmates, as well as the diverse fetishes subtly sprinkled throughout.
4. A Silent Voice
A Silent Voice (聲の形) is one of the most highly acclaimed anime films of the 2010s. From this emotional anime film, some might associate it with the cherry blossoms of spring, while others might think of the fresh greenery of summer. The original manga by Ryoichi Oima was serialized from 2013 to 2014 and was published as a seven-volume manga series. The anime movie adaptation was done by Kyoto Animation, renowned for its slice-of-life anime. The director was Naoko Yamada, who directed the K-On! series, and the screenplay was written by Reiko Yoshida, who also worked on Violet Evergarden. This explains the high quality of the film produced.
The story of A Silent Voice revolves around the backdrop of cherry blossoms during their elementary school beginnings and their high school years as they grow older. Shoko Nishimiya, a girl who was bullied in elementary school due to her hearing impairment, and Shoya Ishida, the one who instigated the bullying, reunite after several years when they are in their third year of high school. While it can be seen as a tale of love and redemption from a serious perspective, the work features the beautiful everyday scenery drawn by Kyoto Animation and offers a heartwarming story that is sure to touch viewers.
Runtime: 129 min
Director: Naoko Yamada
Studio: Kyoto Animation
5. My Happy Marriage
Despite not being well-known in its pre-release, My Happy Marriage (私の幸せな結婚) is one of the anime that saw the most rapid increase in popularity and acclaim in 2023. Among its predecessors, it might be one of the anime where cherry blossoms are depicted the most beautifully. One could even say cherry blossoms are the main motif. In contrast to the unfortunate circumstances of the heroine, Miyo, beautiful cherry blossoms are portrayed. The anime had a strong start with its initial 12 episodes. The original light novel has also been steadily published since 2019.
Born into a prestigious household, Miyo Saimori has been oppressed because she doesn’t possess the “special ability” that has been treasured in her family’s history. Subjected to harsh treatment from her father, stepmother, and half-sister, she’s lived a life of despair. Amidst this, she’s sent away to serve under Kiyoka Kudo, the head of the Kudo family, who’s rumored to be ruthless and cold-hearted. However, it becomes evident that Kiyoka is merely someone who struggles to express emotions but is genuinely kind-hearted. Their meeting happens during the cherry blossom season. This anime distinctly portrays both the kindness and cruelty of people.
Studio: Kinema Citrus
Wasn't My Happy Marriage possibly the most beautiful anime of 2023? It was also a production with almost no pre-broadcas[…]
While Hyouka (氷菓) is not primarily centered around themes of cherry blossoms or spring, the scene in which the protagonist Hotaro and the heroine Eru have a pivotal conversation amidst falling cherry blossoms is memorable. Cherry blossoms are also depicted in one of the key visuals. Hyouka is the title of the first novel in the Classics Club series by Honobu Yonezawa, and the series was adapted into an anime by Kyoto Animation. A total of 22 episodes were broadcasted in 2012, and with an additional OVA episode, it makes up a 23-episode series. The genre of this anime is mystery, however, it doesn’t focus on significant societal events but rather pursues small mysteries embedded within high school life.
Hotaro Oreki is a male student of the “energy-saving” type, disliking the attitude of giving one’s all and being proactive. It’s the ever-curious girl, Eru Chitanda, who inspires him to take on a detective role. They are joined by Mayaka Ibara and Satoshi Fukube, and as a core group of four, they solve mysteries hidden in everyday life. The setting is based on the real-world location of Takayama City in Gifu Prefecture, the hometown of the original novel’s author, which makes the depicted cherry blossoms feel even more real. Particularly, the depiction of fluttering petals in the final episode is poignant.
Episodes: 22 + 1 OVA
Studio: Kyoto Animation
7. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas (君の膵臓をたべたい) is an anime that cannot be talked about without mentioning cherry blossoms. The story is a good combination of a crying story and beautiful cherry blossoms. The fact that the heroine’s name is Sakura is also noteworthy. The anime is based on a novel by Yoru Sumino published in 2015, which was made into a live-action movie in 2017 and this anime movie in 2018. The quality of the story is assured because the original author, Yoru Sumino, is firmly involved in the production of the anime film.
I don’t want to spoil too much, so I would urge you to watch I Want to Eat Your Pancreas which takes just less than two hours. The first-person narrator is a high school student, Haruki Shiga,
The first-person narrator is Haruki Shiga, a high school student, and his classmate Sakura Yamauchi. The two have little contact with each other, but one day he discovers a secret hidden from her. Can you guess what the plot is about? No, I bet you can’t predict this ending. Anyway, enjoy the beauty of “Sakura” and its faintly sad drama.
Runtime: 108 min
Director: Shinichiro Ushijima
Studio: Studio VOLN
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