Yoshino is Japan's most famous cherry-blossom destination, and for a few weeks in early to mid-April, the blossoms of thousands of cherry trees form a floral carpet gradually ascending the mountainsides. As this season is a popular time to visit Japan, the country gets very busy toward the end of the month. The northern island of Hokkaido experiences full bloom in May and is both easily accessible and easy to explore independently. TIME YOUR VISIT TO SEE THE GORGEOUS CHERRY BLOSSOMS IN JAPAN When is the best time to visit Japan? The six-storey keep dates back to the 16th century and is listed as a National Treasure of Japan. No backpacks, hostels or 5-star hotels! The city of Nara just outside Kyoto is a great place to visit in the spring. A land of contrasts and surprises, Japan has stunning springs, snowcapped mountains in winter, and plenty to do outdoors in the warmer months. Visiting Japan whilst they have cherry blossoms is a bucket list item for me. As well as being loaded with useful tips, they each cover things to do, costs, getting around, what to eat, recommendations for where to stay and much more! In this blog we will give you an introduction to the … The trees line the moat around the castle as well as filling the grounds in front of it, so there is no shortage of cherry blossoms to enjoy. It is most famous for the deer that roam the parkland along with numerous temples and shrines. Photos need to be taken at just the right time with just the right angle to ensure that unwanted faces are not caught in your camera frame too. As I pointed out earlier, visitor numbers to Japan almost tripled in the short timeframe from 2013 to 2019! Thinking about accommodation in Yokohama? Thanks for this post. They look gorgeous! These times, which line up with spring and most of autumn, are filled with calm days and comfortable temperatures. Love getting off the beaten path and have some extra time for a day trip from Tokyo? This was the beginning of one of the most sacred places on Earth – the heart of Shingon Buddhism. But I think on some occasions such as this, it would still be a very worthwhile experience I’d rather pay the entrance fee into places like Shinjuku Gyoen as there are fewer crowds there! Keage Incline. And there are other natural wonders that will capture your heart. Otherwise…. The best viewing time is about 5–7 days after the first bloom of cherry blossoms. I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase and if you do, thanks for your support! Thankfully we had scheduled a ski trip to Hokkaido and returned to Tokyo two weeks later, to see 75% of the cherry blossoms in bloom. Sakura or cherry blossom season is one of the most popular times of the year in Japan. It gets very crowded with tourists in late April. The best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms is towards the end of winter to mid-spring for the majority of the country (late March through to early May). So glad you found this helpful I hope you get to check to cross this off your bucket list soon. The town was created when the monk Kōbō-Daishi, also known as Kūkai, deemed the place fit for a temple and his Buddhist lifestyle. The good news is that it lasts quite a long time and due to the geography of Japan there is a wide window for travel to be able to catch it. Its garden houses a central pond, surrounded by manicured bushes, impressive rock formations, pine trees and the lush Arashiyama Mountains. As well as being the best time to see the Cherry Blossom the spring is also the best time to visit this part of Japan in general. Best Cherry Blossom Spots In Japan How do these rankings work? It is a much less visited island so if you have the time to add it to your holiday you will find fewer crowds and certainly fewer western tourists. Himeji castle is a short walk from Himeji station, which is served by the Japan Rail bullet trains. I personally loved my stay at the amazing Matsumoto Hotel Kagestu! Shinjuku Gyoen – Tokyo. Tailored especially for first-time visitors, these are my tried-and-tested personal itineraries I used during my own trips to Japan. Since 2014 two more were added. It was in full bloom when we visited and it is also just a walking distance from the Kiyomizu-Dera Temple. The castle park has more than 4000 varieties of cherry trees planted within its premises. Do you love Japanese snacks and candies? Even the Imperial Family takes part in this yearly celebration as you can see by this special opening. The bridge consists of 5 arches that straddle across the Nishiki River. Making me very excited! On the other side of the hill is Yoshida-jinja, a peaceful shrine surrounded by forest with a cherry tree next to the large entrance torii gate. Within the Chugoku region, the Sanyo region is an area in the south of Honshu covering cities like Hiroshima, Okayama, and Miyajima. TIP: Check out the many food stalls and game booths, enjoy a bento box and have a picnic on the riverside, the beauty and tranquility of the surrounding will make your day! Being further south the weather is typically warmer here than in Honshu. Experts in the art of tailor-made holidays, we delight in putting together the very finest bespoke arrangements for our clients. Visit Japan in early spring (mid-late February) for the blooms of the outstanding super … Japan is 3,008 km (1,869 mi) long and has both subarctic and subtropical climates. Here, travel bloggers reveal the best places to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo, and include a few tips for making the most of your encounter. A visit to the Imperial Palace is a unique experience where you can see both the buildings of the Imperial Family and the beautiful colourful cherry blossoms. Japan’s massive capital city is a huge draw card for visitors with many different places to experience the sakura. Copyright © 2017-2021 The Invisible Tourist. You’ll have the whole place to yourself and you can take beautiful and magical photos since there are no crowds. TIP: We highly recommend Koyasan for enjoying cherry tree blossoms – it has fresh mountain air, beautiful temples, and many hikes. TIP: Bring a mat, a bento box, and a thermos filled with tea for a full experience. The exact dates vary depending on the blossoms and are announced on the official website of the Imperial Palace Household agency. The view of the bridge is even better framed by the blossoming cherries. Contributed by: Kenny, Knycx Journeying While you can see cherry blossom trees all throughout the city (the street we were staying on was covered overhead by sakura flowers in bloom), our favourite location to view them was Ueno Park. Himeji Castle’s other name, White Heron Castle, comes from its brilliant white exterior. Read reviews and compare prices for all accommodation in Suzuka here. The blossoms are extra large and a very deep shad of pink in Kawazu. What beautiful photos! The largest and most popular island of Honshu has some of the best places to see the Cherry Blossom. })(document, 'script', '//aff.bstatic.com/static/affiliate_base/js/flexiproduct.js'); Featured image credit: Pixabay Read more in my complete 4 Days in Kyoto Itinerary, or Read reviews and compare prices for accommodation in Yokohama here. TIP: Just make sure to bring a jacket. var s = d.createElement(sc), p = d.getElementsByTagName(sc)[0]; Contributed by: Candiss, Lost Not Found Kawazu is located four hours south of Tokyo (or a two and a half hour train ride) in the Izu Peninsula. Kawazu Cherry trees blossom for longer so you have an extra month to see them. The blossom can be seen throughout the island but there are a few places where it is especially impressive. Around eight hundred cherry trees line the Meguro River and stretches for 3.8 kilometres. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is home to a large number of cherry trees, including early and late blooming cherry trees, which extends the cherry blossom viewing season. A highlight of the Japanese calendar is cherry blossom season which sweeps north from the southern part of Japan in late March. Unfortunately, we were a bit late – at the end of April, so half of the trees had passed the blossom. Honestly, I didn’t expect the bridge to be so big that I was very impressed by the shape and the size of the architecture. Nowadays there are many temples here that attract plenty of tourists, not only because they are beautiful pieces of art, but also because monks still inhabit them. To me personally, the last stage of the cherry blossoms is the most poetic, when the flowers turn white and shed slowly, falling gently to the ground, carried by the wind. You may wish to add these wonderful locations to your itinerary depending on where you’ll be during the blooming periods: Will this be your first trip to Japan? Personally, I am yet to visit during full bloom but I can tell you it’s one of the highest experiences I want to check off my bucket list. Considering it’s one of Japan’s smaller regions by size, the Kanto region sure packs a big punch! Warm summer temperatures, the cherry blossom-infused months of March to May and autumnal September to November, are … So awesome! My favourite spot was around the playground, but a little ways apart so it wasn’t full of people. The best time to see the full bloom is from end of March until the middle of April. You’ll find more information about the best time to see cherry blossoms in Japan further down. When it comes to sakura season in Japan, it’s never too early to book your accommodation to avoid disappointment! With the temple in the background, they look even more majestic than they are already. The cherry trees have a unique blossoming time that is different than other cherry trees found around Japan. Read reviews and compare prices for all accommodation in Himeji here. 2017: Start 17th March/Full 24th March. Visiting Japan in March. Tenryuji is already quite beautiful, ranked among the country’s best Zen temples, and registered as a world heritage site but its grounds make for interesting strolls, with surprises in every nook and corner. Hirosaki Castle Park – … We headed to Kyoto hoping for better weather and were greeted by the sun on our visit to Nara. However the stunning Sakura or Cherry Blossom is possibly what it is most famous for and the first question that most people ask is when is the best time to visit to see it in full bloom? Third pin image credit: Pixabay Thinking about accommodation in Kyoto? This central park in Tokyo is home to over 1,000 cherry blossom trees, with a mix of both early and late blooms. (function(d, sc, u) { 2018: Start 26th March/Full 3rd April. Now I know the perfect time to visit her! Even on their own, cherry blossoms are beautiful and convey a sense a magic. I have always wanted to visit these cherry blossoms! The blossom here typically blooms from late-January through to early February. If you want to make the most of your next travel experience, learn how you can 'be invisible' here! Japan’s Cherry Blossom – January to February. The best place to see the blossom on the island is the city of Matsuyama which is famed for its castle. They’re really something else aren’t they, Andrea . Cherry blossoms are without a doubt one of the best things to see in Japan. Contributed by: Jennifer, The Rainbow Route As I’ve written about many times before, any month of year is the best time to visit Japan as each season is beautifully different to the next – but the window of time where cherry blossoms (sakura さくら in Japanese) dominate the country with their incredible show is a truly special treat. If you’re after some inspiration for early blossoms, take a look at my guide to hidden gems in Tokyo: Contributed by: Cindy, Free Two Roam Mt Fuji Flower Sightseeing Trip from Tokyo →, Early-blooming Cherry Blossoms, Mt Fuji Sledding Trip from Tokyo →, Mt Fuji and Oshino Hakkai Day Tour from Tokyo →, compare prices for accommodation in Yokohama here, compare prices for accommodation in Kawazu here, 3 Days in Osaka Itinerary + Nara Day Trip guide, Takayama’s Hidden Jewel, Hida Folk Village, Exciting Places to Go in Tokyo: Complete Neighbourhoods Guide (+ Around the Olympic Venues), Planning a Trip to Japan? We got lucky with the cherry blossoms again, which were out in full force. It’s great you have them in Central Park at least And thank you so much, glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for your comment, Ana , The cherry blossom is just divine! Contributed by: Thais, World Trip Diaries I hope this round-up of locations helps you to determine when will be the best time for you to tailor your trip and enjoy this breathtaking bucket list experience! This guide to the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms contains affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. During cherry blossom season, the white castle is contrasted by both the bright blue sky from above and the pastel pinks that surround it from the ground. The cherry trees here are known as Kawazuzakura whereas others are known as sakura. When is the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms? Himeji Castle is one of the most beautiful scenes you’ll see during your time in Japan, and it only looks even more impressive during cherry blossom season. It’s about a 20-minute walk from Maruyama Park to Keage Incline, but you might want … I will not deny these areas of Tokyo are just amazing (I lived 1 street away from Meguro River). 1. So why not join them? Come spring, the 54ha park in Tokyo becomes the epicentre of a crowded, noisy and wild hanami party. Contributed by: Annie, Off Goes Annie It’s an easy day trip if you’re. TIP: While walking the main park pathway is a wonderful way to see the blossoms, we especially enjoyed the section of trees that runs right through Shinobazu pond. After all, that’s what I believe is such an important part of travelling abroad and what being an invisible tourist is about! After living in Japan, Kawazu is my favourite place to see the cherry blossoms. Climb steep flights of stairs at Matsumoto Castle and delight in amazing views of Matsumoto City and the surrounding countryside awash in delicate white and pink flowers. Generally speaking, the best time to see cherry blossoms in the Kanto region is early April. Thank you for sharing it with us. It was tough to decide when to visit, but ultimately we chose cherry blossom season for its beauty. I’ve seen several beautiful photos of Sannenzaka Slope in the past and now, I feel so happy that I was able to visit this iconic and magical cherry blossom spot in Kyoto. All rights reserved. Nature lovers will appreciate the blooming flowers of spring, including the famed cherry blossoms, along with the equally stunning foliage of late autumn. Contributed by: Sylvia, Wapiti Travel It’s no surprise that visitor numbers to Japan during this season have rapidly increased from around 900,000 visitors in 2013 to 2.9 MILLION in 2019! The Cherry Blossoms in Japan appear at different times throughout Sakura Season in Japan as some area’s of the Country remain colder than others for longer and the best time to see the Cherry Blossoms in Japan is as it starts warming up in each place and the time that you visit will depend on whether it is the best place to see Cherry Blossom in Japan or not as it changes quickly! There used to be only 2 occasions on which ordinary mortals like ourselves were allowed to enter the premises. Contributed by: Jodie, Alajode The problem is everyone in Tokyo seems to agree. I recommend spending at least half a day to go to the Kintaikyo (Bridge); the bridge is located in Iwakuni, a small city that’s about an hour away from Hiroshima by the JR. Only on very special occasions do visitors get to catch a glimpse of the pretty extended gardens and the royal buildings that hide behind the towering walls and fortified gates. Read more in my 3 Days in Osaka Itinerary + Nara Day Trip guide, or Get chatting to locals, blend in where possible and…. TIP: If you’re interested in learning how to avoid the crowds during this busy season, my detailed guide to visiting Japan in spring covers even more places to go, what to pack and how to avoid crowds! The map below indicates the expected best viewing time of cherry blossoms in Japan last year, and will be updated once the latest information is available in 2021. Thanks for sharing and all the location suggestions too. Nowadays there are many temples here that attract plenty of tourists, not only because they are beautiful pieces of art, but also because monks still inhabit them. For an iconic cherry blossom experience, Japan Journeys (020 7766 5267; japanjourneys.co.uk) offers a 10-night Classic Japan Tour from March 26 to April 6 – optimum timings. In March and April the trees turn a beautiful shade of pink as the Sakura arrives. Along the journey, you’ll find several temples and shrines, aiding you to find your inner peace. There’s a grand entrance gate and the stairs up to the complex are lined with cherry trees. Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Japan. When it comes to sakura season in Japan, it’s never too early to book your accommodation to avoid disappointment! So, the best time to view cherry blossoms in Japan is …?! There are cherry trees throughout the city but one of the best places to see them is along the river. Kyoto is also another … I would LOVE to see the cherry blossoms in Japan one day! You can also climb up to the top of the castle – something that takes time but is well worth doing – and look out at all of the cherry blossoms around. I am much the same as you for wanting to avoid crowds, Leigh! We started at Takenaka Inari Shrine where a row of red torii gates are framed with white cherry blossoms—such a classic Japanese image. I haven’t been to a lot of these places. It really would be a photographer’s dream come true! The best part, they have a Sakura Festival every year where the many cafés and restaurants bordering the river serve delicious street food and Champagne with strawberries for the occasion. So, I’ve reached out to travel bloggers who were fortunate enough to visit Japan for the cherry blossom season and put together a list of places they recommend for viewing as well as revealing the best times to visit each. Always about the next destination and how to make the most of the experience. s.async = true; Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in Tokyo and it consists of three different types of gardens: Japanese traditional, French formal and English landscape. The slopes are also lined with shops selling some traditional sweets and handicrafts. To view cherry blossoms in these areas are tricky in itself. Kyoto has dozens upon dozens of incredible places to view cherry blossoms! You’re making me jealous, Viola! Read reviews and compare prices for all accommodation in Koyasan here. From there you can get a nice overlook of the park with all the cherry trees, which is quite spectacular to see from above. TIP: You’ll need at least a few hours to explore the castle (if you plan on going inside), but may want to set aside an entire day if you have time. If you’re looking for accommodation in Tokyo, I highly recommend Dormy Inn Premium, Shibuya. If it’s your first time viewing the cherry blossoms – known as hanami in Japanese – then Ueno Park is the place to go with hundreds of hanami picnics or parties happening under more than 1,000 cherry blossom trees that exist all throughout the park. Thinking about accommodation in Kumamoto? And (and that is a big AND) much less crowded so if you have the chance head down to Yokohama for some cherry blossom viewing. The best timing for viewing the beautiful pink colours is spring, somewhere between March and May, depending on the location. When figuring out the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms, to ensure you catch them at some point during your trip it’s a great idea to spend at least 2 weeks in Japan. We visited on 31st March and while some cherry trees were in full bloom, the area would have been at its best a week later. Our Classic Japan tour takes in all of these places and utlilises the world famous Shinkansen – more commonly known as the bullet train. We were lucky enough to head to Japan in March last year and spent 2 full days viewing sakura during the cherry blossom season. If you are visiting Kyoto during the cherry blossom season, I highly recommend stopping by Sannenzaka Slope. There is so much to see on Honshu that you can spend your entire time here – be that 10 days or three weeks. In spring, the weeping cherry trees almost touch the ground, laden with stunning pink blossoms. The Kansai region is an insanely popular place to see cherry blossoms in Japan. Contributed by: Paula, Truly Expat A lot of people say that Japan is not cheap (well, not in comparison to its south-east Asian neighbours) but I really believe the “expensive” reputation is undeserved! s.src = u + '?v=' + (+new Date()); There’s something about this wonderful natural phenomena that seemingly unites us all as a community – locals and tourists alike enjoying the same thing, together. Like the cherry blossoms in DC, this is something I’ll have to enjoy from photos only – I pretty much avoid crowds at all costs and try to travel in the off season whenever possible! he best part, they have a Sakura Festival every year where the many cafés and restaurants bordering the river serve delicious street food and Champagne with strawberries for the occasion. If you are unable to travel in the spring but want to experience the blossom then you could head to Okinawa. It is a must-visit cherry blossom spot in Kyoto. This makes ... 2. January in Japan is one of the best times to beat the tourist crowds. Absolutely spectacular. You can find my full Japan archive here, including videos and itineraries detailing how travelling The Invisible Tourist way at all destinations is the most efficient option to make use of your precious travel time. Spotlights on the cherry trees and the castle add a touch of romance and glamour. However, when you have an ancient temple as a background at the Todaiji Temple, this effect is even stronger. Generally speaking, the best time to visit the Chugoku region for cherry blossoms is late March to early April. Encompassing cities such as Hiroshima, Miyajima and Okayama, it’s still quite a busy area of Japan for tourists. Stunning photos! Kawazu is one of the first places in Japan to see the cherry blossoms. Generally speaking, the best time to see cherry blossoms in the Kansai region ranges from late March to mid-April, and on occasion late-April depending on the altitude of the spot. In 2020 full blossom in Tokyo was 22 March and Kyoto it was 30 March. With the temple in the background, they look even more majestic than they are already. I recommend spending at least half a day to go to the, Meaningful & Fun Things to Do in Hiroshima to Add to Your Itinerary. The Chugoku region lies within the country’s west, neighbouring the popular Kansai region to its east. I was in Japan once but it was early October so the completely wrong time to see cherry blossoms. Thinking about accommodation in Suzuka? But trying to get a photo is almost impossible due to the abundance of people in and around these areas. Located close to the centre of Kyoto, this short walk along the sakura lined canal is totally unmissable. TIP: If you want to avoid the crowds, my tip is to come early in the morning, around 6am. in a perfect location near Dotonbori and Namba Station! Spring: Sakura (cherry blossoms) completely transform Japan during the months of March and April, making spring one of the most beautiful seasons in the country . And very exciting your sister will be living there! From what I have heard, the blossoms don’t actually have much of a fragrance (how unfortunate is that!). Kawazu is one of the first places in Japan to see the cherry blossoms. The “stairs” are actually ladders in a couple places and there are no shoes allowed in Matsumoto Castle so you’ll be ascending in your socks or barefoot. Every year in February and March, the Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival is held in Kawazu City. We first heard of Koya Mountain and the town of Koyasan from some heavy illustrated books about Japan. Kawazu is one of the best places to see the cherry blossoms in spring. Generally speaking, the best time to visit the Chubu region for cherry blossoms is early March to mid-April. The central path is lined with about 800 cherry trees, and both sides are filled with revellers letting their hair down for their annual picnic under the blooms. If you’ve ever thought about visiting Japan, you’re probably familiar with the advice that you should “go for cherry blossom season.” The annual blooming of sakura (cherry tree flowers) and accompanying nationwide conviviality of hanami (cherry blossom-viewing) can indeed be a magical time to experience the joy of being in Japan.. A gentle breeze carries petals peacefully by you as though they were floating, pink snowflakes. … In saying that, there are some lovely hidden gems to be found if you know where to look! Most sacred places on Earth – the heart of Gion photo is almost impossible due to the 16th century is! Where possible and… beautiful flowers around the playground and them keep walking a little further of Oshino Hakkai village shop! 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