One of the most beautiful times to travel around Japan is during the spring cherry blossom season. In Japan, cherry blossom trees are called Sakura. The short-lived blossoming season typically falls between the end of March thru April. If you are heading to northern Japan, you may see blossoms during late April and into May. Some of the best sightseeing locations become quite crowded with people wanting to see a magnificent view.
When Exactly Do the Trees Bloom?
The trees can bloom any time over a span of a few weeks. The weather of each region in Japan will dictate whether the trees bloom earlier, later, or at an expected time. The blossoms are only visible for about a week. The blooming peaks at different times across the country. There are some great resources online that can help track and predict the best time to see cherry blossoms. Japan Guide has a table with average dates by city and will maintain a forecast leading up to and thru the season.
When Should I Go to See Cherry Blossoms?
While you can see trees blooming all across Japan, one of the most popular (and expensive) places is Kyoto. Room rates in Kyoto greatly increase around the cherry blossom season. There is definitely something magical about seeing the blossoms around temples, parks, and scenic backdrops. Without spending a ton of money on lodging, Tokyo offers great opportunities as well. Shinjuku Gyoen and Ueno Park are spectacular places to see the blossoms. Sumida Park along the Sumida River is another good option.
How can I Guarantee that I Will See the Cherry Blossoms When Visiting Japan?
There is not way to guarantee when the trees will bloom. The average dates table is a good place to start. Another tip is to try and plan your stay over a two week period around the beginning of April. Visiting different cities across Japan during that time frame will help increase the likelihood of seeing trees in bloom.
If you are planning to visit Kyoto during cherry blossom season, book early. Room rates are extremely expensive and fill fast in the more popular parts of town. In addition, book restaurant reservations early as the city is very crowded with tourists. Rain will cause blossoms to fall off trees faster and decrease the days of full bloom. Bring an umbrella (or purchase one) to not miss opportunities on seeing cherry blossoms.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo