Spring is a magical time of year in Japan, when the cherry blossoms, or sakura, burst into bloom, transforming the country into a sea of pink and white. From late March to early May, millions of people flock to parks, temples, and shrines to admire the delicate petals and celebrate the arrival of spring.
If you’re planning a trip during Japan’s cherry blossom season, you should know a few things to make the most of your visit. Here’s our guide to chasing Sakura in Japan.
Outline of the Article
Best Time to Visit to enjoy Japan’s Cherry Blossoms
Japan’s Cherry blossom season typically lasts about two weeks, depending on the location and weather conditions. In general, the Sakura blooms first in southern Japan and gradually moves northward. Here are some of the best times to visit different parts of the country:
- Tokyo and Kyoto: Late March to early April
- Osaka and Hiroshima: Early to mid-April
- Hokkaido: Late April to early May
Keep in mind that Japan’s cherry blossom season is also a very popular time for travel, so be sure to book your accommodations and transportation well in advance.
Best Places to See Sakura
There are countless places to see Japan’s cherry blossoms, but here are a few of the most popular:
- Ueno Park in Tokyo: One of the most famous cherry blossom spots in the country, with over 1,000 cherry trees lining the paths and ponds.
- Arashiyama in Kyoto: A picturesque district with cherry trees along the river and in the nearby hills.
- Himeji Castle in Hyogo: A UNESCO World Heritage site with over 1,000 cherry trees, making it one of the most stunning cherry blossom spots in the country.
- Hirosaki Castle in Aomori: Another castle with a beautiful cherry blossom garden, featuring over 2,500 cherry trees of various varieties.
Traditional Hanami Celebrations
Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, is a beloved tradition in Japan. People gather with friends and family to picnic under the cherry trees, enjoying food, drinks, and good company. Some popular hanami foods include bento boxes, onigiri (rice balls), and sakura mochi (sweet rice cakes wrapped in cherry blossom leaves).
If you’re interested in joining a hanami party, you can bring your own picnic supplies or purchase food and drinks from vendors in the parks. Some parks also offer nighttime hanami events, where the cherry trees are lit up and visitors can enjoy a different kind of atmosphere.
Other Activities During Cherry Blossom Season
In addition to hanami and sightseeing, there are plenty of other things to do during cherry blossom season in Japan. Here are a few ideas:
- Take a stroll through a Japanese garden, like Ritsurin Garden in Takamatsu or Korakuen Garden in Okayama, to see the cherry blossoms in a more serene setting.
- Visit a temple or shrine with cherry trees, such as Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto or Senso-ji in Tokyo, and participate in traditional rituals like washing your hands and praying.
- Attend a cherry blossom festival, like the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival in Aomori or the Kitakami Tenshochi Sakura Matsuri in Iwate, for a full day of food, entertainment, and cultural activities.
You May also Love to Read:
Journey Through Japan: Exploring the Country’s Hidden Gems
Japan’s Cherry blossom season is truly a magical time of year. From bustling cities to the tranquil countryside, the pink and white petals of the Sakura create a stunning backdrop for any adventure. Whether you’re picnicking under the cherry trees, admiring the blooms at a temple or shrine, or simply taking a stroll through a Japanese garden, there’s something for everyone during this special season.
If you’re planning a trip during Japan’s cherry blossom season, be sure to plan ahead and book your accommodations and transportation in advance and this is the Travel Japan – Japan National Tourism Organization official website. And don’t forget to bring your camera – you won’t want to miss capturing the beauty of Japan in bloom. With our guide to Chasing Sakura in Japan, you’re sure to have an unforgettable springtime adventure.