Cherry blossoms in Japan – A simple guide to where, when and what you need to know

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Cherry blossoms in Japan – Spring seduction

The Cherry Blossom Season in Japan

Cherry blossom season in Japan is mesmerising, seductive and captivating. One can sit under the cherry blossom trees and watch the day go by without a care in the world! The sea of seductive softness, sparkly white pink colours of spring is found in various locations throughout Japan. March is a popular time to visit Japan as the weather is mild and the onset of the cherry blossom season draws many visitors to these various locations. By mid-march, you can see the budding blooms on the trees, signalling the beginning of the Hanami season. Hanami is the tradition of viewing and appreciating the beauty of the cherry blossoms (sakuras). Hanami has long been adored by locals as well as people across the globe as it is regarded as a symbol of renewal, vitality, and beauty.

When is the best time to view the cherry blossoms in Japan

In late March to early April, you will be able to catch the cherry blossoms at their best. If you are planning a trip during Hanami, please dedicate some time to planning your travels. The sakuras are in full bloom for only 2 to 3 weeks in Spring, between 20th March and 14th April, so you don’t really see them in full-bloom for a full month. Cherries peak at different times and are very weather dependent but they generally peak on 1st April. Milder climate in the southern region means first blooms are produced in places like Okinawa, and blooming progresses northward. Wind, rain, and temperature can cause the blossoms to appear either earlier or later than average and can lengthen or shorten the blooming season.

If you are planning a trip to experience the hanami, then you need to consider the followings:

Where will you be going to for the Hanami and When will you be going. You will also need to consider your accommodation – where would you stay?

2020 Cherry Blossom dates

Info courtesy from Japan Rail Pass

Japan Cherry Blossom Season 2020
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1 | When to go to see the cherry blossoms in Japan?

The following chart taken from Japan Meteorological Corporation gives the average bloom dates for the hanami in 2019 and Where you can experience it. Knowing the dates when cherry blossoms bloom in specific locations aids travel planning if you are aiming to visit Japan during the hanami season. This chart provides a rough guide to the hanami season for 2020. You can use this as a guide to plan your hanami vacation to Japan. You could also check back here for an update on the dates from mid January 2020 onwards . Subscribe to our newsletter and join our tribe at My Timeless Footsteps.

Take a look at the following cities and the dates when the cherry blossoms bloomed last year.

city   flowering date   full bloom date
Sapporo 5/4 5/8
Aomori 4/24 4/28
Sendai 4/9 4/14
Tokyo 3/22 3/29
Kanazawa 4/2 4/9
Nagano 4/9 4/15
Nagoya 3/22 4/1
Kyoto 3/25 4/2
Osaka 3/27 4/3
Wakayama 3/24 4/2
Hiroshima 3/23 4/1
Kochi 3/18 3/25
Fukuoka 3/20 3/29
Kagoshima 3/28 4/8
Data from Japan Meteorological Corporation

Kochi will be the first place in Japan to flower on March 18th, and Kyushu is expected to be the next. In Tokyo, flowering will start from March 22nd, 4 days earlier than normal years, and full bloom is expected around 29th. Compared with the flowering date (March 17th) of the last year, 5-day delay is very likely.

Check : Japan Meteorological Corporation for latest predictions and dates

Planning a trip to Japan during the hanami season could be an expensive occasion for the simple reason being that it is a popular time for tourists to visit Japan. Flights can be really expensive if you leave it too late. If you want to get the best deals, book your flight early. There are 25 reasons why planning is crucial for a stress-free vacation. To book your flight, do a quick search and see what comes up for you.

2 | Where to go to experience the best cherry blossom season in Japan?

As mentioned earlier, most flowers usually take a week to reach full bloom once flowering has begun and that full bloom also lasts around a week. With this in mind, you may wish to travel between the many locations to experience a variety of features. For example, Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto is one of the most beautiful spots to experience the hanami. Philosopher’s Path is close to other historic sites such as the Heian Shrine and the Golden Pavilion. You may also want to experience the hanami within castle grounds and for this, you could visit Himeji Castle in Himeji.

There are many other prime locations with a variety of features such as oldest trees or most trees. You can quickly and easily travel between the many locations in Japan by train using your Japan Rail Pass . You could purchase your Japan Rail Pass by clicking the link below. There are choices and you could select anything from 7, 14 or 21 days travel and have it delivered to your home address before you embark on your journey.

3 | Where will you stay when you go to Japan during the Hanami season?

Accommodation during the Hanami is typically expensive. Leaving it closer to the time you travel also means you may have have to pay a premium for last minute accommodation, which at times may not be the choice or quality usually associated to the price you pay. You can easily do a check as early as possible for suitable accommodation to the city you are travelling to and lock the price. Click the link below and book your hotel.

My final say…

Japan is an amazing country to visit at any time of the year but there are seasons when it is exceptionally busy. You can have a great experience if you plan well in advance so you can secure the best deals on flights and hotels. Take into consideration the above dates when you are making your vacation arrangements.

To support your travel planning, follow my 6 steps to booking your trip and for a stress free vacation.

Happy adventures!


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Cherry blossom season in Japan - A simple guide to where, when and what you need to know when planning your Hanami vacation. via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/
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20 Responses

  1. […] Cherry blossoms in Japan – A simple guide to where, when and what you need to know […]

  2. […] Cherry blossoms in Japan – A simple guide to where, when and what you need to know […]

  3. Georgina

    Indeed! Japan does Hanami like none other – absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much – glad you found the travel tips to be useful.

  4. Georgina

    Hanami is a popular season and yes, it is a little more crowded than norm but the Japanese are very well organised. I would encourage you to visit despite your fear of overcrowdedness. I did not feel it was too much and I enjoyed my experiences.

  5. Slavka

    The cherry blossoms in Japan are so famous I guess everybody wants to experience it. Great tips for travellers 🙂

  6. Karthika

    This has been on my bucket list for so long but I am a bit afraid of all the crowds. Did you feel like it was too much or where you able to enjoy them without being hustled by hundreds of people

  7. Georgina

    Indeed! The Hanami in Japan is one of the best -they do it so well. Hope you will visit soon.

  8. Georgina

    Japan is simply a beautiful country and it is my favourite too. So glad you experienced the Hanami – Japan does it so well!

  9. Georgina

    Thank you Jan. The Hanami is such a short season and it is good to experience it in Japan at least once. So glad you like Hokkaido also.

  10. Angela

    This has been on my bucket list for some time but I just never seem to get round to it. To see the cherry blossoms would be wonderful.

  11. Fae Celine

    Spring is my favorite season and Japan is my favorite country. I went to Japan during the cherry Blossom season last year and it was such a great trip. I hope I can visit Japan again soon during the Sakura season

  12. Jan Banerjee

    I have visited Japan but during Cherry Blossom season. Love your calendar showing which parts of Japan has Cherry blossom and when is the best time to visit. I definitely will visit Hokkaido (my favorite part of Japan) and this time it will be during its Cherry blossom time! 🙂

  13. Georgina

    Glad that the calendar will come in handy for travellers planning a visit to Japan. Hope you will visit Japan soon. Many thanks for your encouraging comments. I appreciate it.

  14. Georgina

    I am glad to know that you are returning to Japan! I would love to return but this time to Hokkaido and a short visit to Kyoto and Miyajima. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Georgina

    Cherry blossoms are a huge activity in Japan as you may know. I am glad that Sweden has it and you may want to visit one day. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  16. Jay Artale

    What a useful calendar for anyone planning a visit to Japan – ever since discovering my love of sushi I’ve wanted to visit Japan!

  17. Georgina

    Wonderful! I am so thrilled for you! The Hanami is absolutely beautiful and they do it well. Have an awesome trip. Look forward to seeing your stories.

  18. Sarah

    I was in Japan a few years for cherry blossom and its such a beautiful time to visit. I can’t wait to revisit but need to save a bit 🙂

  19. Ann

    We have a huge Cherry blossoming here in Stockholm Sweden during the spring, but you know what, I have never seen it! 😀

  20. Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad

    Ahhhh I’m so excited as I’m heading to Japan in March!! Last year’s dates actually coincide perfectly with the days we’re going to some of the places. I didn’t pay too much attention to them because obviously it changes every year, but Tokyo and Osaka were literally the days we’ll get there.

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