These are the very best places to experience Japan’s cherry blossom season
The magical cascade of pale pink and white leaves that cover Japan every year are truly worth the trip. Japan cherry blossom, or ‘sakura’, won’t just make your Insta feed siiiiiing; the experience is also completely unforgettable.
Where do you go to see Japan’s cherry blossoms though? Our best advice; plan, plan plan!
Cherry blossom season in Japan is April-May every year. Hanami, AKA the welcoming of spring festival and cherry blossom season covers a bit of distance on its island and the trees bloom at different rates, meaning you might head to Tokyo in May expecting to see cherry blossoms and totally miss them.
A good rule is they bloom ‘backwards’. So the southern parts of Japan, like Okinawa, see blossoms first (even as early as January there), and then the season travels up to the north, with spots like Hokkaido blooming until late May.
The main tourist towns and cities like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka usually get their cherry blossom fix in early April. Weather reporters give accurate blooming charts and patterns in the lead up to the festival, so it’s a good idea to check as close as possible to your trip.
Now that you know when to go, let’s decide where to go! There are some undisputed top spots for viewing that are worth checking out if you can…
It’s a bit of a trek to get there BUT the mountain is covered in over 30,000 cherry trees. It’s been the most famous (and crowded) viewing spot in Japan for hundreds of years.
Image source:Adriana Prudencio
This northern Japanese town has stunning temples, shrines and a huge festival. If you want to see your blossoms against a traditional backdrop, this is the place.
Image source: Ilyas Aliev
Come for the geishas, stay for the cherry blossoms. You can dress in traditional kimonos here and walk the old cobbled paths as they’re covered in petals. The Philosopher’s Path is a particular favourite.
Image source: Jake Weirick
Mount Fuji can be a touch shy, but on a clear day with cherry trees framing the snow-capped mountain, it’s a sight to behold from Hakone (one of the best towns for seeing the mountain).
Image source:JJ Ying
Just because you’re in a big city, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the magic. Head to Shinjuku Gyoen (Tokyo’s answer to New York’s Central Park) and see the trees in action. Another great spot that makes for a stunning photo is Meguro Canal. With trees lining the water’s edge, it’s like a fairy tale.
Image source:Yu Kato