Where to witness Japan’s iconic cherry blossoms

With everything from geisha to snow monkeys and bullet trains to sumo wrestlers, a luxury holiday to Japan offers a real melting pot of unforgettable experiences.
July 2021

One of the country’s most awe-inspiring and seasonally anticipated sights is the cherry blossom (sakura) trees coming into bloom, signalling the start of spring.

This magical spectacle has earned the admiration of travellers’ around the world who flock to the country to see them. The confetti-like display usually takes place between March and May. With only a short time in bloom, Japanese families celebrate typically with viewing parties and picnics known as hanami.

Ready for your next Japan discovery, we’ve curated several suggestions of where to enjoy the most memorable hanami (cherry-blossom viewing).

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Parks and gardens of Tokyo

A trip to Japan without a visit to Tokyo simply isn’t done, and in springtime there’s the extra allure of blossoming cherry trees scattered throughout the botanical gardens of Shinjuku Gyoen, Ueno Park and Chidorigafuchi, three great places to sit back, relax and take in the stunning floral display.

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The Philosopher's Path

A truly memorable sakura experience awaits in Kyoto where the Philosopher's Path is lined with hundreds of cherry trees. The route takes you alongside the canal which connects Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) with the Nanzen-ji temple. It’s one of the most popular locations for hanami, and is suffused with a serenity that is sure to leave you in awe.

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Kanazawa Castle

Tucked away in the coastal prefecture of Ishikawa is captivating Kanazawa, a real hidden gem. The 16th century Kanazawa Castle is a popular choice for sakura-spotters, as is the prestigious Kenrokuen Garden, which boasts over 420 cherry trees with 20 different varieties. The banks of the Asano River at Kazue-machi Chaya tea district are also lined with cherry trees and the season here is generally 10 days or so later than Tokyo due to the coastal climate.

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Mountains & blossoms

One of the most famous hanami locations is Yoshinoyama (Mount Yoshino) where more than 30,000 cherry trees dot the hillside. Japan’s first cherry trees are said to have been planted here over 1,300 years ago and it is a spectacle which has featured heavily in Japanese classical literature, poetry, and song. Continuing to inspire visitors to this day, it is a must-see for anyone on the cherry blossom trail.

Inspired to plan your next escape to otherworldly Japan? reach out to our Journey Designers or talk to your travel agent and start planning.