The first blooms are arriving earlier than usual this year

  • By KKday
  • | Jan 29, 2020

Cherry blossoms are one of Japan's best attractions, transforming cities all across the country into a pink magical wonderland. Delicate and fleeting, these pretty flowers signal the end of winter and the hopeful beginning of springtime.

Every year, tourists both foreign and domestic flock to hotspots and witness the blossoming sakura trees, which are only in full bloom for about a week or two. It can be challenging to pick the right time to visit Japan for the cherry blossoms, but with the right forecast and a little bit of luck, it’s possible.

In 2020, the Japan Meteorological Corporation’s forecast predicts the bloom to arrive a little earlier than usual. Here are the details on where and when you can catch the cherry blossoms in bloom if you’re planning to make the trip to Japan this year.
 

Tokyo


The year’s first sakura blooms will arrive in Tokyo and Kochi on March 19. With more than a thousand Japanese cherry trees, the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is an excellent place to see the phenomenon. Other scenic spots include Chidorigafuchi, Ueno Park, Yoyogi Park, and the amazing Nakameguro neighborhood.

First bloom: March 19
Full bloom: March 27
 

Fukuoka


Nishi Park is one of the best places to see flourishing cherry blossoms in Japan. With sweeping views of the city and more than a thousand vibrant cherry trees in the backdrop, it’s a must-visit for any tourist looking for the perfect shot. Fukuoka Castle, Fukuoka Zoo and the Botanical Garden are also great spots for viewing the cherry blossoms in this city.

First bloom: March 20
Full bloom: March 29
 

Hiroshima


Head to Hiroshima to see the cherry trees in full bloom line the Motoyasu River in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, making it a beautiful place to spend springtime in Japan. The Hiroshima Castle is another tourist favourite for cherry blossom viewing, with the pink trees nicely framing the 16th century building.

First bloom: March 22
Full bloom: April 1
 

Kyoto


Kyoto's many tourist spots are lined with cherry blossoms in spring, making the historic sites even more beautiful than they already are. Try taking a stroll down Philosopher’s Path, a stone walkway taking tourists through hundreds of blossoming cherry trees. Kyoto Botanical Garden, samurai district Kakunodate, and famous places of worship Daigoji Temple and Heian Shrine, are also breathtaking vantages for the cherry blossoms.

First bloom: March 23
Full bloom: April 1
 

Osaka


Cherry blossoms make the vibrant city of Osaka even more colorful, and there are several places to see the bloom, including the famed Kema Sakuranomiya Park where 5,000 cherry trees are set along the riverbank. Osaka Castle Park and Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park are two other must-visit sites during cherry blossom season.

First bloom: March 25
Full bloom: April 1
 

Hokkaido



Credit: Navitime Japan

One of the most famous spots for cherry blossom viewing in Japan is the Nijukken Road in Hokkaido, where about 3,000 cherry trees are laid out along a 8km path. The historical site of Matsumae Park is another popular viewing spot among tourists.

First bloom: May 1
Full bloom: May 5
 

Other Great Spots


While Japan’s most popular cities definitely get their fair share of tourists trying to catch the cherry blossoms, many other destinations in the country also offer great options. Keep an eye out for the start of cherry blossom season in Nagoya on March 21, Wakayama on March 24, Kagoshima on March 25, Kanazawa on April 1, Sendai on April 7, and Nagano on April 9.


A version of this story first appeared on KKday.