A Guide to Japan’s Sakura Season
Japan is synonymous with cherry blossom. With US tourism now reaching pre-pandemic levels, tourists are flocking from the US and around the world to witness the Sakura season each year. So, you might be wondering what makes Japan’s Sakura season so special. Whether you’ve already booked your voyage or you’re looking to arrange a trip of a lifetime, read on for everything you need to know about this wonderful season.
What is Sakura season?
Representing renewal and optimism, Sakura season is an incredible time to visit Japan.
Every year, between late March and early April, Japan’s cherry blossom trees (otherwise known as ‘Sakura’) spring to life. Transforming plain landscapes into swathes of soft pink, Sakura season goes hand in hand with springtime and new beginnings.
When is Sakura season?
Cherry blossom trees usually reach their peak between the end of March and the beginning of April. This short window is generally considered the optimum time to witness the cherry blossoms in bloom if you’re heading to popular tourist spots like Kyoto, Tokyo and Osaka.
If you’re going a little off the beaten track, it’s important to remember that Sakura season might change slightly depending on where you’re going and the climate. Travellers exploring south of Tokyo should plan their visit In January or February, whereas those heading north should plan a trip in April or May.
Where are the best Sakura viewing spots?
One of the best ways to guarantee a good viewing spot is by going on a guided tour of Japan. That way, you’ll have a local guide taking you around, giving you access to all the best vistas.
Some of the most popular viewing spots include:
- Tokyo – You won’t have to travel far to find cherry blossoms in Tokyo. For an all-but-guaranteed Sakura sighting, head to one of the city parks – our personal favourites are Shinjuku Gyoen and Ueno Park. If you prefer getting lost in suburbia, there are plenty of picture-perfect streets in Nakameguro, Shibuya and Kuniatchi where you can see the most beautiful spring blooms.
- Kyoto – There are so many opportunities to see the national tree of Japan when you touch down in Kyoto. Float along the Kamo River with cherry blossom soaring up above you, head to Nijo castle or encounter the awe-inspiring botanicals at the Kyoto Gyoe National Garden.
- Yoshino – For panoramic views during the Sakura season, make a beeline for Mt Yoshino. As you hike up the mountain, you’ll pass several temples and shrines – all adorned with the most beautiful white and pink blossom trees.
- Hiroshima – As well as visiting the famous floating shrine, take the time to admire the wonderful cherry blossom trees.
You can see the influence of Sakura everywhere in Japan. It’s only natural if you want to witness this magical season for yourself. Luckily, with some prior research, expert guidance and a little bit of luck, you too can celebrate the arrival of the spectacular blooms.