An iconic image of Japan, cherry blossom season brings a ricochet of beauty to the country’s parks. For the last few years, the flowers have come earlier little by little, and this year is without exception. Although only by few days, this is outside the characteristics of the blossoming season and could be a pattern that continues in the future.
Known locally as Sakura, as this is the name of the trees, the time that the trees blossom varies throughout the country. In the north, you can expect to not see a flower until May, whereas in the south, areas such as Kochi will see their parks turning pink in mid-March.
Whether you are a local or a traveller, the spectacular nature show from south to north is an experience not to be missed. From set menus to photo shoots and picnics in the park; in Japan, everything that revolves around looking at a cherry blossom is known as hanami. This event is somewhat of an annual ritual for Japanese people.
Sakura is arguably Japan’s finest attraction, so don’t miss the chance to embrace its beauty in these locations. Contact one of Tripfuser’s Local Agents to start planning your trip.
Kochi: Kagamino Park
Neighbouring the Kochi University of Technology, Kagamino Park is famed for its 200-metre tunnel of cherry blossom trees that, when in full bloom, create a magical experience as you are showered in pink and white during Sakura. With over 600 cherry blossom trees in the park, it has made it into the top 10 spots for viewing in the country.
The park has 10 different species of cherry blossom, among other trees which compliment the colourful experience perfectly. The park is entirely recreational, so you can expect to see students enjoying their break time on the well-maintained lawns. While walking around the park, be sure to keep an eye out for the perfect picnic spot.
Estimated full bloom in Kochi: 18th March
Home to the wealthy, successful businessmen neighboured by your average downtown family, Naka-Meguro is a famous suburb that feels like an on-trend creative hub, without the air of pretentiousness.
Typical of older towns in Japan, Naka-Meguro has hints of modernity hidden in the crevices of its narrow streets, neighboured by old wooden structures that hold the secrets of its history. Naka-Meguro is famed for its good food and electric atmosphere, and all the more so, during Sakura.
Cherry blossom trees line the river, gardens and streets that create a warming welcome and excitement in the air as the warmer days approach. Aside from the sea of pink and white, tantalising smells and art-lined streets create a vibrant, creative atmosphere from day until night - the perfect spot for hanami!
Estimated full bloom in Tokyo: 29th March
Kyoto: The Philosopher’s Path
One of the most iconic locations in the city, an hour or two walking along the Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto is an experience not to be missed.
Paving the way between two temples, the pathway is a stunning natural escape, with numerous trees and shrubs to isolate you from the city. Named after prominent Kyoto-based philosopher Kitaro Nishida, who frequented the walkway, the path is also known for the large number of cats who wander freely around the area.
Dotted with quaint cafes and restaurants, there are plenty of opportunities to stop along the way, not forgetting the numerous detours that offer more opportunity for exploration.
Lined with Sakura, the walkway is a prime spot for travellers and locals when the season comes. To avoid disappointment, it’s best to see this site early in the morning or after dark, when the trees are illuminated by floodlights, yet still equally beautiful.
Estimated full bloom in Kyoto: 2nd April
Osaka: Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park
A sea of flowers in the heart of Osaka, visiting Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park during cherry blossom season seems like a no brainer. The tranquillity of Sakura is offset by the vibrancy of the many other species of flower in bloom that make this a colourful place to visit at any time of the year.
Once you’ve enjoyed walking through the cherry blossom trees, a walk through the greenhouse is a must. The large facility is like an indoor botanical garden, with over 2,600 species spread over 4 sections; Humid Tropical Plant House, Tropical Flowering Trees and Shrubs, Succulent Plant House and the Alpine House. To change your perspective, you can get a birdseye view from the observatory tower in the centre of the park.
The park is vast, with over 120 hectares to explore - a prime hanami destination!
Estimated full bloom in Osaka: 3rd April
No matter where you enjoy Sakura this year, make sure you are well prepared. It’s a common misconception that cherry blossom season is a festival when in fact, it’s only called a festival because everyone comes to celebrate. Sakura is self-service only, so come prepared with a picnic or some takeaway food to enjoy it for longer. Need some help planning your trip? Contact one of Tripfuser’s Local Agents.
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