Spring in Japan is a time of complete transformation, when vast blankets of bright pink cherry blossoms spread over the cities and countryside. The beautiful Sakura, or cherry blossoms, that flower between January and May are one of the biggest attractions for travellers, and seeing them in their full glory is a real Tinggly feeling – we recommend collecting a few from the ground and pressing them in a book to make your own personalised artworks. If you’ve ever tried the fragrance-making workshop in France from our experience collection, then perhaps you could use some to make your own essential oil.
If you do want to see cherry blossoms in Japan though, it’s important to know which prefecture will be in bloom at what time, as it does vary. Here’s a short guide.
Where can I see cherry blossoms in Japan?
Cherry blossoms appear all over Japan during spring, but there are certain areas that are most popular.
To understand how the direction in which the cherry blossoms flower in Japan, think of the country as being shaped a little like a seahorse.
At the tail-end or most southwesterly point, Okinawa usually sees the first cherry blossoms of the year. Then, over the next four-five months to mid-May, the cherry blossoms move to higher elevations in a northeasterly direction, normally finishing on the northernmost island of Sapporo.
Best place to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo?
We recommend heading to the Shinjuku Gyoen Garden to see the Tokyo cherry blossoms. It’s usually a bit less crowded than other parks, which tend to get rammed at this time of year, and the display here is truly gorgeous. The national garden was once owned by a samurai family, and then became an imperial park.
Best place to see cherry blossoms in Kyoto?
Breathtaking weeping cherry trees are found in several places around Kyoto. Two reliable locations include Daigo-Ji Temple, a World Heritage Site where the autumnal maple leaves are also a big draw, and Maruyama Park, the oldest park in Kyoto, which is best seen in the evenings.
Best place to see cherry blossoms in Aichi?
If you’re visiting Aichi prefecture in central Japan, then you’ll certainly want to visit the incredible Nagoya castle, built by a former shogun and famous for its paintings on sliding doors and ceiling panels. Several rare cherry blossom varieties are found throughout the grounds but do remember there is only a short season, between late March and early April.
Another picture-perfect ancient castle is found in Aomori – the Hirosaki Castle. Over 2000 cherry tree grow in the park here, and one of them, planted early in the Meiji era, is thought to be among the oldest in Japan.
Best place to see cherry blossoms in Osaka?
Osaka is a lovely place for a holiday – the okonomiyaki, an omelette-type dish, is one dish you must try. For one week during mid-April, when the cherry blossoms are at their height of their perfection, the Japan Mint opens up a stretch of path along the Yodo river for the public to wander along.
When is the right time to see Japanese cherry blossoms?
Naturally there can be variations in the season every year, but it’s generally thought that mid-February to early-May is the best time to see cherry blossoms in Japan. Travel either side of then and you may still get lucky though, especially if the weather is warm.
Most holidays to Japan will usually start in either Tokyo or Kyoto – temples, robots, ramen and cat cafes, what more could you ask for? The cherry blossom season in Tokyo and Kyoto usually runs from late March until late April. If you want to catch them, you’ll want to book early, because accommodations fill up well in advance – as mentioned above, the sakura are one of the most iconic attractions in Japan.
Visiting Japan for the cherry blossoms? There’s plenty more to see and do, and this is a really fascinating country to use a Tinggly gift voucher if you’ve been lucky enough to receive one! Our Japan gift experiences range from kayaking to cookery classes, with the chance to meet a genuine samurai warrior as well!