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Cherry Blossoms in Japan

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Cherry Blossoms in Japan

Cherry blossoms in Japan have been a major attraction for tourists. The most common question people ask is “when is the cherry blossom season?” It is an easy yet difficult answer because it depends on the area we are talking about. The earliest you can see sakura (cherry blossom) would be in late January. The great allure of the flower is the short blooming period it has. It is popular amongst the Buddhist belief of impermanence and the beauty of life before it ends. There are many varieties of the flower that have been introduced into Japan. The most common one people will see are the Somei Yoshino variety which are almost white with pink hues and five petals.


Previous forecast data for cherry blossom in Japan from 2011 to 2016

2011
First Blossom
Full Blossom
2012
First Blossom
Full Blossom
2013
First Blossom
Full Blossom
2014
First Blossom
Full Blossom
2015
First Blossom
Full Blossom
2016
First Blossom
Full Blossom
Sapporo 7-May
12-May
1-May
2-May
13-May
17-May
29-Apr
1-May
22-Apr
26-Apr
25-Apr
1-May
Hakodate 2-May
6-May
2-May
5-May
8-May
12-May
28-Apr
1-May
21-Apr
24-Apr
24-Apr
26-Apr
Sendai 12-Apr
15-May
18-Apr
23-Apr
9-Apr
15-Apr
7-Apr
11-Apr
3-Apr
9-Apr
11-Apr
18-Apr
Tokyo 28-Mar
6-Apr
13-Mar
6-Apr
16-Mar
22-Mar
25-Mar
30-Mar
23-Mar
29-Mar
21-Mar
31-Mar
Matsumoto 15-Apr
21-Apr
18-Apr
21-Apr
6-Apr
15-Apr
11-Apr
17-Apr
4-Apr
10-Apr
3-Apr
8-Apr
Takayama 8-Apr
11-Apr
12-Apr
16-Apr
29-Mar
6-Apr
2-Apr
8-Apr
31-Mar
4-Apr
29-Mar
1-Apr
Kanazawa 7-Apr
12-Apr
10-Apr
13-Apr
30-Mar
5-Apr
1-Apr
7-Apr
31-Mar
4-Apr
30-Mar
4-Apr
Kyoto 28-Mar
7-Apr
3-Apr
9-Apr
22-Mar
30-Mar
27-Mar
2-Apr
27-Mar
1-Apr
23-Mar
2-Apr
Nara 31-Mar
8-Apr
3-Apr
9-Apr
22-Mar
29-Mar
27-Mar
1-Apr
27-Mar
31-Mar
23-Mar
2-Apr
Osaka 31-Mar
7-Apr
2-Apr
9-Apr
21-Mar
29-Mar
27-Mar
2-Apr
26-Mar
1-Apr
23-Mar
1-Apr
Himeji 31-Mar
10-Apr
2-Apr
9-Apr
21-Mar
31-Mar
27-Mar
1-Apr
27-Mar
2-Apr
26-Mar
3-Apr
Hiroshima 1-Apr
10-Apr
2-Apr
9-Apr
22-Mar
29-Mar
25-Mar
30-Mar
24-Mar
30-Mar
23-Mar
2-Apr
Takamatsu 31-Mar
8-Apr
2-Apr
6-Apr
22-Mar
30-Mar
26-Mar
31-Mar
24-Mar
1-Apr
3-Apr
4-Apr
Fukuoka 22-Mar
2-Apr
27-Mar
1-Apr
13-Mar
22-Mar
19-Mar
27-Mar
22-Mar
29-Mar
19-Mar
30-Mar
Nagasaki 23-Mar
7-Apr
26-Mar
2-Apr
16-Mar
23-Mar
20-Mar
27-Mar
22-Mar
31-Mar
22-Mar
30-Mar

When and Where to see Cherry Blossoms in Japan

Cherry Blossom When and Where Map

The first sightings of cherry blossoms start in Okinawa due to the warmer weather reaching the area first. The next area where cherry blossoms blooms is in the Kyushu area. The Mifuneyama Rakuen in Saga has 5000 cherry blossoms that contrast with the rugged Mount Mifune. It makes for a spectacle when it is combined with the 50,000 azaleas in the garden. After the Kyushu then the Chugoku region comes into season. On Miyajima Island surrounding the Itsukushima Shrine you can see the sakura blooming around the religious site that is ranked one of the three top views in Japan. The illusionary floating torii gate with cherry blossoms in the back drop is a sight worth the trip.

In the Kansai region the cherry blossoms bloom around the end of March to the beginning of April. In this area you can venture to Kyoto and walk through historical structures while enjoying the petals falling. This would include famous sites like Kiyomizudera, a Buddhist temple with scaffolding that overlooks the cherry blossom trees. Maruyama Park located in the center of Kyoto is one of the most popular spots to experience a hanami (flower viewing) picnic. There is a 70 year old shidarezakura (weeping cherry blossom) in the center of the park. Even the typical tourist spots like Kinkakuji, Fushimi Inari, Arashiyama, Imperial Palace, etc. gain an extra charm during the spring season. During this time you can see the Miyako Odori, which is show performed by Geisha (traditional artisans) and Maiko (apprentice Geisha). In the mountains away from Tokyo is a museum called Miho Museum. The special thing about this place is that there is a tunnel that leads to a road lined with cherry blossom trees. The combination of the man-made structures with the natural environment is a nice atmosphere.

The Chubu region’s cherry blossom season starts off right after Kansai, but in the mountains the timing differs due to the colder weather in the high altitude. In the city of Ina is Takato Castle Ruins where the Kohigan variety grows. This means the lifespan of this species last much longer than the other types. For the full month of April you can see the ruins covered in clouds of cherry blossoms. In Shiga Prefecture is the original castle Hikone Castle. In Mt. Fuji is one of the most iconic symbols of Japan and from the Gotemba Peace Park located at the mountain you can see it with cherry blossoms surrounding it. As famous as Mt. Fuji in there are two other places where you can see cherry blossoms. In Kawazu you can start seeing the flower at the end of February to early March. The reason being that the kawazuzakura trees in the area bloom much earlier compared to the other varieties. In Atami it is much earlier as they start appearing at the end of January to mid-February. Along the Itogawa River are the cold resistant cherry blossoms that make for a nice stroll. Take the time to the Kawazu and Atami Cherry Blossom Festivals while in the area.

In the Kanto region the cherry blossoms start appearing towards the end of March to the beginning of April. Tokyo is the country’s capital and biggest metropolis. At Ueno Park in the city there are 1000 cherry blossoms lined up along the path to the entrance. There are places all over the city where you can see some of the trees in season as you tour around. Close by Tokyo you can travel to Hakone and see Mt. Fuji in the distance while either cruising or traveling around the lake with cherry blossoms blooming around the body of water. North of the Kanto is the Tohoku region where the cherry trees start blooming around mid-April. In Morioka there are castle ruins that are a popular hanami spot for visitors. It is located in the center of the city and consists of just the castle walls. Still it is a great to visit in mid-April to see the grounds covered in cherry blossoms.

Hokkaido is one of the last places to see cherry blossoms in season. It usually begins from late April and ends by the beginning of May. There are some amazing sites in Hokkaido to visit like Fort Goryokaku. The star shaped fort is littered with cherry blossoms that can be seen around the complex. You can go to the nearby tower to see the phenomenal structure from above. Then north of Matsumae Castle is a park with over 10,000 cherry blossom trees planted with about 250 varieties. During this time there is a festival at the park from the end of April to late May.