The movement of cellular water accompanies changes in growth within dormant buds. To further understand this process, accumulation of tonoplast δTIP1 and plasma membrane PIP2 aquaporin transcripts was measured by quantitative reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction and the water dynamics in dormant peach (Prunus persica L.) flower buds was studied by magnetic resonance imaging. Proton density (PD), spin–spin relaxation time (T2) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) were used to observe water dynamics during dormancy. The expression of δTIP1 and PIP2 aquaporins, PD and T2 in the upper part of the bud including primordia, in the basal part of the bud and the bud trace increased earlier in the low-chill cultivar ‘Coral’ than in the high-chill cultivar ‘Kansuke Hakuto,’ reflecting the difference in timing for the end of endodormancy in the two cultivars. δTIP1 mRNA accumulated mainly in the basal part of the bud, whereas PIP2 mRNA was detected mainly in the upper part. These findings may reflect the activation of inter- and intracell communication through membrane transport properties of aquaporins resulting in a gradual increase in water content to that required for bud activity at the end of endodormancy. An apparent decrease in the expression of δTIP1 and PIP2 mRNAs was, however, observed in late winter in some portions of the buds of both cultivars just before sprouting.