Come spring, and Japan waits with bated breath for the blooming of the sakura, the cherry blossoms season. Beginning in the south in Kyūshū sometime in March, the sakura zensen moves northward, steadily painting the country in subtle shades of pink and pristine white, while all of Japan celebrates its fragile beauty.
Japan participates enthusiastically in hanami (cherry blossom viewing), picnicking under the blooms and revelling in its beauty. Thousands of travellers do too, making this season one of the busiest. The only drawback is the unpredictability of the blooming.
While hanami may be enjoyed anywhere you see the flowers in bloom, there are a few spots that have gained popularity over time.
- Shinjuku-gyoen, Tokyo
One of Tokyo’s largest parks with over a thousand cherry trees of both early and late blooming varieties, it’s the perfect destination in case you miss the main blooming season. Its serene atmosphere is ideal to admire nature’s magnificence. No alcohol is allowed here.
- Ueno-kōen, Tokyo
Tokyo’s first public park is also its most popular hanami spot. With wooded pathways and over a thousand cherry trees that wind their way to the National Museum around Shinobazu Pond, it sets the tone for springtime.
- Kema Sakuranomiya Park, Osaka
Visit the Osaka Castle during springtime, for a special treat to your senses. The Osaka Castle Park is one of the city’s most popular hanami spots, with four thousand cherry trees in the castle grounds offering a stunning setting for the castle. But, the flowers themselves capture and hold your attention.
- Mount Yoshinoyama, Nara
Early – Mid April
Fall in love with nature in this fairytale land of cherry blossoms. The elevation causes the blooming season to be staggered between the lower, middle and upper Senbon areas, with the cherry blossoms blooming at ground level first, and then slowly moving upwards. Enjoy panoramic views from the Hanayagura Viewpoint in the upper regions of the mount
- Takato Castle Park, Ina City, Nagano
One of Japan’s top 100 hanami spots, and definitely number 1 in Nagano, the unique Takato-kohigan variety of cherry blossom is the main attraction here, with its dense branches and soft pink flowers. When in full bloom, the flowers form an alluring canopy overhead. Enjoy the sights while savouring Takato’s soba and grilled miso.
- Omachi Park, Nagano
Halfway up Mt. Higashiyama, overlooking Nagano city, lies Omachi Park, with sprawling lawns that are perfect for hanami parties and stupendous views of the cherry blossoms season with the Japanese Alps in the background. Stop at the Omachi cemetery or follow the nearby tourist trail for more viewing pleasures.
These places are just a few among the numerous other amazing locations for hanami viewing in Japan. Catch this fleeting beauty by checking the cherry blossom season forecasts and booking your stay well in advance, because you won’t be the only one headed to see the ethereal beauty of springtime in japan.
If you are planning a trip to experience Cherry Blossoms season in Japan, do not hesitate to contact your luxury travel designer Mr. Isao Numano.