The most difficult part about planning For Cherry Blossoms in Japan is not being sure about the correct dates to fly over, hoping that you will get to see the blossom season!
There’s no reason for you to worry about missing Japan Cherry Blossom. If you are willing to travel a little by train, you can catch Cherry Blossoms Japan any time between late-February and mid-May, thus providing plenty of latitude for holiday planning.
Last Week of March
Nijo Castle (Kyoto)
This glorious historical castle is home to 430 cherry trees. They are a breathtaking sight, and a picturesque atmosphere any time of the year. If you come to visit in the afternoon and can stay until dark, you will reap a double benefit – during cherry blossom festival Japan the castle and the cherry trees are lit. Currently, hours are 18:00-21:30 (open until 22:00 on weekends; lit up until April 19th).
Sumida Park (Tokyo)
The Sumida Park stretches along both sides of the River. A good starting point is at Asakusa subway Station. A walk along the scenic River is a more relaxed way of Cherry Blossom viewing. Between the Azumabashi and Sakurabashi Bridges, lies a treasure trove of approximately 1,000 cherry trees. View them as you stroll along the promenade or paddle a yakata-bune (old-fashioned Japanese boat) down the river.
Ueno Park (Tokyo)
You’ll find another 1,000 Cherry Blossom trees in Ueno Park; one of Japan Cherry Blossom’s most popular viewing spots. To be honest, this is one of the most crowded places to see Japanese cherry blossom. Locals and international visitors alike flock to Ueno Park for cherry blossom viewing parties under the blooming trees.
The first half of April
Kenrokuen Garden (Kanazawa)
Be sure to stop at this garden, rated one of the three most beautiful gardens of Japan. Known for its attractive and well-cared-for grounds, it has been designated as a National Site of Historic significance as well – it is part of the Kanazawa Castle gardens from the Edo period.
Kanazawa winter is generally cooler compared to Tokyo and Kyoto. That’s why cherry blossoms here bloom a few days later than in Tokyo. Kenrokuen Garden is open to the public free of charge for about two weeks during Cherry Blossom season Japan. The cherry trees are lit up after sunset, making for a very romantic cherry blossom viewing at night as well. Getting There:
From Kyoto- This trip can be done as a side trip from Kyoto. The Thunderbird train (from Kyoto to Kanazawa) is covered fully by Japan Rail Pass.
From Tokyo – The city is accessible from Tokyo by the JR Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo-Yuzawa Station, transferring to the Hakutaka limited express to Kanazawa. The extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Nagano to Kanazawa will reduce travel time to Kanazawa from March 14, 2015, to just 2.5 hours.
Generally, from mid-April, you will most likely need to head further north to glimpse the full beauty of Japan cherry blossom. The further north you go, the later the Cherry Blossom blooms. Tohoku and Hokkaido will boast full-bloom Cherry Blossom well into mid-May.
The highest mountain in Japan, a volcanic mountain, and one of the most unforgettable places to visit in Japan. Cherry trees in spring bring this fantastic spot to new heights. Typically, cherry trees around Mt. Fuji bloom from late April to early May. The magnificent pink scattered amongst the wild trees of the Mt. Fuji forests is a truly unique sight.
See more on where to catch Japan cherry blossom season around Mt. Fuji.
Early to mid-May
Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture Aomori pref. is situated on the northern tip of Honshu, facing Hokkaido, with Tsugaru Strait in between them. Hirosaki is approximately 4 hours from Tokyo by train, and very well worth the visit. The castle in Hirosaki was built in 1611 and is located in Hirosaki Park.
Hirosaki Park has over 2,500 cherry trees, petal-filled moats, pleasant picnic areas, rowing boats for rent, and evening illuminations. The Cherry trees in this region bloom quite late, usually between April 23rd to May 5th.
The park offers classic views of traditional red Japanese bridges and the castle itself framed by cherry flowers. Although the park is full of visitors at this time of the year, it doesn’t feel crowded thanks to its size. Getting There: You can make it to Hirosaki in less than 4 hours from Tokyo, taking the Shinkansen to Shin-Aomori then a quick local train to Hirosaki.
From Hirosaki station to the park take the bus and save your legs for walking in the park itself. Taxis are a good option too.