How to see Japan’s Cherry Blossoms

Laura Hampson

Cherry Blossoms have captivated artists for centuries and continue to captivate the world’s attention through platforms like Instagram.

Japan has become synonymous with the Cherry Blossom, the tree that flowers from April through May each year.

The iconic sea of pink washes through the country come spring where tourists flock to see the gorgeous hues first-hand.

Known as Sakura, Japan has mastered the art of Cherry Blossom appreciation, with retailers decorating their stores in the pink florals months before the first flower emerges and they even have a dedicated Cherry Blossom forecast, where the trees are analysed to predict when they will bloom.

When the blossoms finally arrive, this calls for the nation to indulge in hanami which translates to ‘looking at flowers’. This is where people will have picnics under the trees and appreciate the blooms.


When is the best time of year to see the Cherry Blossom?

The tricky part of seeing the Cherry Blossom is the timing. If the weather has been particularly warm that year, they might appear earlier than if there has been a cold winter.

The best time to visit the blooms is April as they generally last from late March through to early May.

The first blossoms often appear in Okinawa, sometimes as early as January, and move north before reaching Hokkaido in early May.

According to the Cherry Blossom Forecast, this year the blooms are expected to begin flowering in Tokyo on March 26 and the first full bloom day will be April 2.


Where are the best places to see the Cherry Blossom?

Mount Yoshino has been Japan’s most popular Cherry Blossom viewing spot for centuries as the mountain is covered in over 30,000 cherry trees. Crowds gather in the tree-covered slopes and you can also visit temples or hike up to the Hanayagura View Point. The blossoms here often last until May.

For easy access, Tokyo is also home to a number of hanami nature spots like Ueno Park or Shinjuku Gyoen – the latter which has 1,500 cherry trees. Early April is the best time to see these blooms.

For a truly magical spot, you can visit Himeji Castle in Himeji, with its striking white walls contrasting with the pink hues of the blossoms. The best time to visit here is early April and it’s just a 60-minute train ride from Osaka.

Mount Fuji’s Five Lakes region is the perfect spot to get a glimpse of two of Japan’s best-known natural wonders. Head to Chureito Pagoda in mid to late April to get the best view of the trees with Mouth Fuji in the background.

Philosopher Nishida Kataro used to walk along a path on his way to Kyoto University every day, and thus is became known as the Philosopher’s Path. Now, each year around early April, the path is in full bloom which makes for one of the more beautiful walks you will ever take.

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