How to see cherry blossoms in Japan

Cherry blossom season is the most popular time to visit Japan, but if you’ve ever tried to plan a trip to see them, you’ll know how difficult they can actually be.

Cherry blossom season lasts just two weeks and there’s no set date for when they bloom. Cherry trees bloom at different times across the country, depending on the weather and climate. So how do you ensure that you see them? Here are my tips:

Cherry blossoms in full bloom across Osaka
  • Understand the general blooming season
    March – April is when Spring begins but understanding which regions warm up first and which hang on to winter for a little longer can help you choose the best starting point. We visited Japan in early April so we started in Osaka and travelled up to Kyoto then Tokyo. The first day of bloom in Osaka was our first day there so we were incredibly lucky. We saw them in Kyoto which bloomed a little later than Osaka but by the time we got to Tokyo, the season had ended.

    Deer graze beneath cherry blossoms in Nara Park
  • Be open to travelling out of the city
    Consider travelling to where they are blooming once you get there. If it’s raining where you are, take a trip to somewhere the sun is shining. They cherry blossoms might already be out somewhere else so you may have to chase them.
  • Visit popular parks
    One the cherry blossoms are blooming, visit the parks the locals do. Many cities have cherry trees planted in the grounds of castles, along rivers and lakes and in front of temples and shrines. You’ll never have to pay to see the cherry blossoms so pick up your camera and head out on foot for some bloom-spotting.

  • Take part in hanami
    Hanami is a long-standing Japanese tradition of welcoming spring. It’s also known as the “cherry blossom festival,” a celebration appreciating the beauty of nature. Join the celebrations and picnic beneath the blossoms. We did it in Osaka and Kyoto. There’s lots of live music, food and fun. Locals mingle with tourists in the beautiful parks and attractions around Japan.
  • Accept the possibility of missing out
    Japan is an incredible country and you can still have an amazing time even if you don’t see the cherry blossom trees in bloom. Don’t be too disheartened if you miss out on seeing the cherry trees in bloom. There’s always next year!

What’s your favourite thing about Japan? Let me know in the comments below!


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