The Best Time To Visit Japan For Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms are as synonymous with Japan as the samurai, or geisha. The sakura, as it is referred to in Japanese, heralds the beginning of spring and brings with it a veil of beautiful white and pink petals that travel the breadth of the country. They may only bloom for a week, but people journey across the world to see them flourish.

The cherry blossoms in Japan flower at a time of new beginnings, and the Japanese await this occasion eagerly. News coverage, reports, forecasts and predictions are extensive and, once the flowers bloom, the nation welcomes the change together by taking part in Hanami, a celebration of the beauty of nature. In our search to find the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms, we came upon a number of questions:


Why are cherry blossoms in Japan so significant?

Picnic in the park underneath the Japan Cherry Blossoms

The cherry blossom only flowers for a week after it has fully bloomed, their brevity is a metaphor for the beautiful, but fleeting nature of life. It's for this reason that the Japanese people celebrate the occasion with Hanami, a long-standing tradition of welcoming spring by appreciating the beauty of nature. People come together to sing, dance and socialise beneath these pink petals. During this time, it's not unusual to see multiple groups of friends enjoying a picnic beneath the flowers.

The blossom's flower buds are actually formed during the summer of the preceding year and continue to slumber before awakening with a vibrant flourish. Their disappearance is known as the Sakura snow, a beautiful, yet bittersweet, event when the flowers drift from the trees and create a canvas of white blanket of petals.


The History Of Japanese Cherry Blossoms

Japan Cherry Blossoms artwork

Interest in the cherry trees dates back as early as the eighth century, when the imperial courtiers would pause to admire the gentle colours of the flowers. Many musicians, artists and photographers have immortalised the cherry blossom in pieces of exquisite art, songs, anime and films.


Where To See Cherry Blossoms In Japan?

Japan Cherry Blossoms with view of Mount Fuji from Chureito Pagoda in Fujiyoshida Japan

Early Cherry Blossom: The blooming season begins in the south of Japan, in the likes of Nagasaki and Fukukoka, and continues on northwards, progressively covering the country in pink. The town of Kawazu, southwest of Tokyo in the Izu Peninsula is renowned for its early blooming cherry trees, which spring in late February.

Festivals and Celebrations: These are an excellent way to see the blooming season of cherry trees in Japan, a centuries-old cultural tradition with picnics, get-togethers, sake and viewing parties. One of the best times to visit Japan for cherry blossoms is for the famous Sakura Cherry Blossom Festival at Ueno Park, Tokyo. One thousand cherry trees transform these picturesque landscaped gardens into seas of pink blossom through March and into early April - marking the start of the blooming season.

Popular Locations: Meguro River is another iconic location for cherry blossom viewing holidays in Japan. Located in central Tokyo, Meguro River meanders through stylish neighbourhoods, before arriving at Tokyo Bay. Here, cherry trees curve across the river, creating an enchanting pink bridge of flowers, and one of the most well-known Japanese backdrops for your travel photography. Finally, the Chureito Pagoda in Fujiyoshida Japan occupies one of the most photographed viewing spots for blossom viewing, surrounded by cherry trees and backdropped by Mount Fuji. Here, the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms is during the blooming season - between late March and early April.


Best Time To Visit Japan For Cherry Blossoms?

where to go to see Cherry Blossom in Japan

The blooming season often begins in mid-to-late March and lasts until the end of April - even sweeping into May on the occasional year, and is the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms.

Predicting the initial bloom is serious business in Japan. News coverage on the blossom season grows exponentially the closer it gets to spring, covering TV screens in equations, predictions and expert opinions. Of course, much of the bloom relies on the weather, which can make it tricky for travellers who want to travel at the right time to see the phenomenon.

To aid in this, Google Maps has engineered a function that allows users to seek out cherry blossoms on its map of Japan for a limited time. There are also numerous websites with relatively accurate predictions of the bloom.


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