Watching the magnificent cherry blossom trees in Japan is an experience that everyone has dreamt of. Now, there are rarely any experiences that could make you feel as content, relaxed, and in touch with nature as seeing sakura at its peak.
If you’re planning to make this dream a reality and don’t know where to start, worry not. This article will help you with everything you need to know – including what exactly cherry blossoms are, where and when you can see them best, and so much more!
Cherry blossoms are loved in both Japan and the rest of the world. The Japanese are so fond of this blissful sight that they have a word specifically for the experience of watching cherry blossoms – hanami.
You might have also heard of “sakura”, which translates to cherry blossoms. Although they are usually thought of as light pink in color, cherry blossoms can also be white, yellow, dark pink, or even change color through the blooming season.
Cherry blossom trees are differentiated by the color of their petals, the number of petals, the shape of the tree, and the color of the leaves. Different types of sakura have different blooming periods; some bloom after the leaves and some cherry blossoms bloom together with the leaves.
The most common type of cherry blossom tree is called the “Somei Yoshino.” This is the typical variety that comes to mind when someone mentions cherry blossoms. The Somei Yoshino tree has light pink or white cherry blossoms with five petals.
Cherry blossom trees typically bloom for around 14 days. However, some types of sakura trees bloom for longer whereas others have a blooming period as short as two to three days. So, it is important that you know when the cherry blossom season is.
You might have already guessed that spring is the best season to see cherry blossoms.
But you wouldn’t be surprised to know that different regions of Japan have varying peak cherry blossom seasons. Moreover, as we mentioned, different species of cherry blossom trees bloom for a time span between a few days or up to two weeks. So, it is important to know when exactly is the best time to visit Japan to see cherry blossoms.
Regardless of these differences, the peak time for cherry blossom season all across Japan is from the middle of March to early April. Now, you might be bummed to find out that the peak cherry blossom season is pretty short.
However, you can spot cherry blossoms for almost all of the spring season but they might not be as easy to find. To get the most out of your cherry blossom experience on your trip to Japan, we suggest attending a cherry blossom festival.
Watching cherry blossoms has become an important tradition in Japan. As their blooming period is not very long, cherry blossoms have come to stand for the impermanence of life and the beautiful things in it.
To celebrate this gorgeous sight as well as what it stands for, the Japanese host many cherry blossom festivals in parks and other public places. During sakura festivals, people prepare home-cooked meals, set up barbecues, or treat themselves to a fancy meal while enjoying the beautiful view.
As there are tourists from around the world at these festivals, you can also find many vendors selling traditional foods and handicrafts. Perhaps the most impressive thing that you will find at these little shops is sakura-flavored foods.
Cherry blossom petals are added to foods like candies, sweets, ice cream, etc to give them a slightly sweet flavor as well as a gorgeous hue. You won’t need to make any special arrangements to attend a cherry blossom festival as they are essentially picnics that you can find in most corners of any Japanese city.
However, if you want to double-check that you don’t miss out on this exciting experience, there are many large sakura fests that are held for tourists.
Here, you will get a grand experience immersed in the very best cherry blossom fields, and have the most delicious traditional Japanese food to enjoy. So, to be on the safer side, we recommend planning your trip close to such cherry blossom festivals.
Now that you know everything about cherry blossoms and when to see them, you must be wondering where exactly you can get to see this wonder. So, we have found some of the best places where you can watch cherry blossoms in Japan.
Some good spots for a sakura picnic in Tokyo include Shinjuku Gyoen, Edo Castle, Ueno Park, and Chidorigafuchi. While you’re in Kyoto, visit Philosopher’s Path, Arashiyama district, and Maruyama Park for some good cherry blossom sights.
Moreover, if you’re in Osaka during your trip, we suggest going to Osaka Castle, the Okawa Riverside, and Kama Sakuranomiya Park.
Next, the best spot for watching cherry blossoms in Nagoya is Yamazakigawa Riverside. And for those in Fukuoka, we suggest visiting Fukuoka Castle and Maizuru Park for the best cherry blossom views.
We hope that all your questions about planning a trip to Japan were answered after reading this article. Now that you know everything about the life-changing experience of watching cherry blossoms in Japan, what are you waiting for?