The coming of March means spring is approaching and in some parts of the world, it’s also synonymous with the cherry blossom season. If you thought that the cherry blossom season only showered its pretty little petals in Japan, you were mistaken. The pretty-in-pink season graces London just as much as Japan and might we add, you’re in for an absolute treat in both these countries! If you plan a trip to either of these places, scroll on the know the best spots to catch pink petals fluttering their way around.
Planning your dream trip in spring for cherry blossom season? Here is where and when is the best time to see the cherry blossoms in Japan in 2023!
Best time to visit
Japan is particularly famous for its cherry blossom due its large number of varieties and the nationwide celebrations during the blooming season. Cherry blossoms in Japanese are known as sakura and are a national obsession. There’s even a Japanese word, hanami, specifically devoted to the viewing of cherry blossoms (and picnicking beneath them). Different varieties of cherry blossoms bloom at different times, but most hit their peak between the end of March to the beginning of April. This is considered the optimal time to witness the flowers bloom in tourist spots like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. As per the official forecast of the Japan Meteorological Corporation for 2023, cherry blossoms are predicted to begin blooming in Tokyo on 16, March. With over 1,000 locations showcasing Japanese cherry blossoms, picking a single ultimate spot can be quite a challenge. Below are the best spots to catch a glimpse of the cherry blossom season.
Uneno Park, Tokyo
With around 1,200 cherry trees, Ueno Park is one of the most famous cherry blossom viewing sites in Japan. Every spring nearly 2 million people visit the park for hanami. In the evening, bonbori (paper lanterns) are lit, and the cherry blossoms look fantastic as they appear in the soft illumination of the paper lanterns.
Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto
The stone Philosopher’s Path can be found in the northern part of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district. Today, it’s one of Kyoto’s most popular spots to view cherry blossoms, thanks to the trees that hang over the path and canal forming almost a tunnel made with cherry blossoms.
It is also worth visiting Tokyo Midtown to see the greenspace behind the shopping centre flanked with beautiful sakura trees. You can also admire the trees around the Midtown Garden or have a picnic under the blossoms at the adjoining Hinokicho Park. What’s more, Tokyo Midtown celebrates spring with its annual Midtown Blossom event, which includes the outdoor Blossom Lounge with spring-themed cocktails and seasonal food.
Mount Yoshino has long been one of Japan’s most famous spots for viewing cherry blossoms because its range of elevation means not all of its 30,000 cherry trees bloom at the same time. However, they blossom in batches making the site one to remember.
Views of the pristine snow-covered Mount Fuji and the cherry blossom season, truly can’t get better. Lake Kawaguchiko shines during cherry blossom season and is a postcard-worthy sight. We highly recommend heading to the seaside promenade near the Kawaguchiko Music Forest for views unlike any you’ve seen.
Maruyama Park, Kyoto
Maruyama Park is the ancient capital’s most popular spot for cherry blossom viewing. A key attraction other than the cherry blossom season is a visit at night to see Maruyama’s famed shidarezakura (or weeping) tree, which is lit up during the blossom season.
This is a highly popular place with people going very early to reserve their spots. With its central location in Shibuya and close proximity to Meiji Shrine and Harajuku, Yoyogi Park is quite possibly the city’s most popular. Come springtime, the park bustles with performers and picnics.
The blossoms of over 30,000 cherry blossom trees carpet the Kii Mountains surrounding the town. The star of the show is on Mount Yoshino — a huge cherry tree, whose branches bow towards the ground. It’s illuminated from dusk until midnight.
Nakameguro Sakura-matsuri Festival
Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival in Aomori is particularly famous, attracting over 2 million visitors, and gaining recognition as one of Japan’s Top Cherry Blossom Viewing Sites. In Tokyo, the canal in Nakameguro becomes an enchanted waterway as the reflections of the blossoms and the lantern shimmer like magic. If you are able to visit Japan during cherry blossom season, it is an opportunity not to be missed and will make an unforgettable trip.
Miharu Takizakura (Fukushima)
Attracting many visitors every year and recognized as a national natural treasure, this is one of Japan’s Three Most Famous Cherry Blossom Trees. A walking path is paved around the large weeping cherry tree, which is believed to be over 1,000 years old.
Cherry blossom season in Japan is a major event, with visitors from around the world flocking over to get a glimpse of the petals in full bloom. But London has plenty of bloomin’ see the flowers as well! In London, sakura (as it’s known in Japan) usually last from late March till early May, depending on the weather. The main window for spotting cherry blossoms however is April.
Channel your inner tourist and ponder around Greenwich Park soaking up the very best of Cherry Blossom season. Greenwich Parkhas to be one of the prettiest places to enjoy cherry blossoms in London. Walk up Greenwich Park hill, beyond the Royal Observatory and Planetarium. This road is lined with beautiful trees, creating a stunning Japanese-style cherry blossom tunnel. It’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into the countryside, a far cry from the city-flooded reality.
Chelsea needs little introduction. Known for its grand houses, stylish boutiques and the abundance of celebrities who roam the streets, we like to characterise this borough as one of London’s prime cherry blossom spots.
A stroll around Kew Gardens is always a good idea. As soon as you enter through the gates, prepare to head on one hell of a journey as you discover a whole new world of florals, plants and fungi. But aside from the beautiful botanical gardensthat surround you, head to the rose garden behind the famous Palm House to find multiple different varieties of cherry blossom trees.
Notting Hill is home to some of London’s prettiest streets year-round but during cherry blossom season the west London neighbourhood takes ‘beautiful’ to a whole new level. Stanley Crescent is the star attraction during the spring months when the entire crescent is decorated in pale pink cherry blossom flowers. Don’t miss the purple house on Portobello Road either; the tree here is one of the first in the season to bloom.
Arguably one of London’s most adored and recognisable buildings, St Paul’s Cathedralalways offers aphoto-worthy spot for any tourist and Londoner alike. Come Spring it’s transformed into a floral haven and is littered with pink fairy-like droplets that grace the streets.