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Are you dreaming of traveling to Japan? The 2023 Cherry Blossom Season should be a list of must-see activities. But first, learn everything you need to know to make it the trip of a lifetime!
Japan is a small island country with an exciting blend of longstanding traditions and modern influences. Japan is a popular destination for travelers looking to experience a completely different culture.
Japan usually records 31 million tourists annually, with almost 3 million visits during cherry blossom season. The sakura, or cherry blossoms, play an essential role in Japanese culture. Viewing the cherry blossoms and participating in the events are unique experiences when visiting Japan in the spring.
The stunning pink cherry blossoms can be seen all over Japan, and each region has something different to offer during this magical time. Learn everything you need to know in this handy article about visiting Japan during cherry blossom season!
What Is Cherry Blossom Season in Japan?
Cherry blossom season refers to a specific time during the spring in Japan when the cherry blossom trees bloom. These trees display beautiful hues of pink flowers. There are national festivals and special celebrations nationwide to celebrate the cherry blossoms. Depending on which regions you're visiting, the festivities can vary.
When Do Cherry Blossoms Bloom in Japan?
The cherry blossoms bloom in intervals across the country from south to north, depending on the weather. The earliest blooms can be seen in the south in late January, and the last bloom in the north around May.
The best time to visit to ensure you see the bloom would be the end of March until early April. Due to global warming, the season varies significantly from year to year, so it's essential to know which areas you want to visit and also to check the cherry blossom forecast for up-to-date information.
Each region has a festival that coordinates with the bloom. To get an idea of when to visit, look at the festival dates from the last 5 years and plan to arrive around that time.
How Long Do the Cherry Blossom Blooms Last in Japan?
The cherry blossom trees usually bloom for two weeks before the pink petals wilt. The blooms can be shorter or slightly longer, depending on the weather conditions.
Cherry Blossom Forecast for 2023
Regularly check the forecast if you plan to see cherry blossom season in 2023. Checking the forecast can help you know where to be and where to go to experience the peak bloom!
At the start of each year, the Japan Meteorological Corporation releases forecasts for when cherry blossoms will start to flower and reach their peak. The JMC released its 4th forecast with the flowering dates but not peak bloom.
In each major area, the bloom dates are:
- Fukuoka: March 21, 2023
- Osaka: March 26, 2023
- Nagoya: March 22, 2023
- Tokyo: March 18, 2023
- Sendai: April 4, 2023
The Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Japan
Each region of Japan has picturesque attractions, made even more beautiful by the blooming cherry blossoms. Each region also has festivals that align with the blossoming of the trees that are a must-see for any visitor to Japan.
A Hanmi is a socializing event under the cherry blossom trees. The community comes out to eat, drink, and bask in the beauty of the sakura trees. You can find many of these celebrations in each region of Japan.
There are many places to see the blooms across Japan's largest city, but check out this list of top spots, hidden gems, and day trip options. Take a world-class trip to Tokyo by checking out all the fantastic activities the city has to offer!
- Tokyo Imperial Palace Gardens
- Shinjuku Gyoen
- Ueno Park
- Meguro River
- Zenpukuji River
- Kanda River
- Asukayama Park
- Mount Fuji cherry blossom tour
- Yokohama, Japan
- Fuji Five Lakes
Osaka is another popular spot in Japan for visitors and can be less crowded than Tokyo for cherry blossom viewing.
- Osaka Castle
- Expo '70 Commemorative Park
- Osaka Mint Bureau
- Kema Sakuranomiya Park
- Shin-en Garden, Heian Jingu Shrine
- Yodogawa Riverside Park
Day trips from Osaka
- Yoshino, Kansai
- Himeji Castle, Kansai
- Mount Yoshino
- Akashi Park
Kyoto is famous for peace and tranquility. Full of Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, gardens, and imperial palaces. Viewing the cherry blossoms amongst this already beautiful background is a huge treat!
- Maruyama Park
- Yasaka Pagoda street
- Sannenzaka street
- The Keage Incline
- Takenaka Inari Shrine
- Shinnyodo Temple
- Takase River
- Daigoji Temple
- Kanazawa Castle Park
Sendai, located in the north, is one of the last regions to see the cherry blossoms bloom. There are many great locations across the city to see the cherry blossom season in full swing.
- Hitomi Senbon Zakura
- Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park
- Happonmatsu Park
- Hanamiyama Park
- Hirosaki Castle
- Miharu, Tohoku
Why Are Sakura Trees Special in Japan?
In Japanese culture, nature is highly revered and worshiped. For the Japanese, the sakura symbolizes birth, death, and the fleetingness of life.
Throughout history, these little pink flowers signified the short but courageous life of the samurai. Sakura emblems could be seen on the planes of kamikaze pilots during World War II.
Other Important Festivals in Japan
Many important festivals are happening in japan year-round!
- Yuki Matsuri or the Saporro snow festival. This festival is one of Japan's most famous winter events.
- The Omizutori Festival celebrates the coming of spring.
- Gion Matsuri. This summer festival takes place during July and is full of parades, food, culture, and more.
- Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri celebrates the autumn harvest!
Tips for Visiting the Cherry Blossoms in Japan
Visiting Japan during this busy tourist season can be daunting, but there are some handy tips to help you make the most of your visit.
- Book accommodations well in advance.
- Check the cherry blossom forecast and plan ahead.
- Purchase a JRail Pass if you're visiting multiple regions.
- Be prepared for the crowds.
Is Cherry Blossom Season in Japan Worth It?
Yes! Seeing the cherry blossoms bloom in Japan is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it is well worth every shoulder bump as you move through the crowds. During cherry blossom season, there are celebrations, food, drink, and excitement as the locals and visitors come together to ring in spring.
Create a Game Plan for Japan With Pilot
Now that you've mastered the essentials of cherry blossom season, let Pilot help you plan the rest of your Japan adventure.