Sakura bloom on your mind? Here’s a complete travel guide on where and when to see Cherry Blossoms in Japan

Liked the post? Please show some sharing love.

Seeing Sakura bloom in Japan is on everyone’s bucket list. Here’s a complete travel guide on where and when to see Cherry Blossoms in Japan in 2024.

As nature’s original Instagram bait starts blanketing your timeline, your dream to experience the Sakura bloom (cherry blossoms) in Japan gets bigger with every update. Here is a complete travel guide on where and when to see Cherry Blossoms in Japan from South to North in 2024.

Sakura bloom (Cherry blossom) in Japan
Sakura bloom (Cherry blossom) in Japan in 2024

Japan is synonymous with Shinkansen, Sushi, Samurai, and Skyscrapers, but the most iconic image of Japan is the sea of cherry blossom trees. Like most travellers, I, too, was smitten by the pink dream. So, after many wasted springs, I finally booked a trip to Japan to see Nature’s limited Art show.

I didn’t know Japan’s reverence for Sakura Bloom spans centuries until I spoke to my host, Takashi. From as early as the eighth century, elite imperialists would pause to appreciate the Sakura bloom (cherry blossoms) before indulging in Hanami (Cherry blossom viewing picnics) and relishing the poetry sessions beneath the blooms. Fast-forward to the modern-day, and the flowers are still revered.

Cherry Blossom Season in Tokyo

People enjoying Hanami (Cherry Blossoms) in Spring, Japan
People enjoying Sakura bloom (Cherry Blossoms) in Spring in Japan.

At the onset of spring, when the trees turn pink, the old and the young grab their picnic blankets and rush to the parks to take photos, drink sake (Japanese liquor), nosh munchies, gulp their Sakura-themed bento lunches and relax under the paper-thin pink cherry blooms. It’s like a carnival with food stalls, LIVE music and games. Sakura is the best time to try out Japanese food like sakura mochi (sticky rice cake), white and pink miso (soybean sauce), pink onigiri (rice balls), red bean treats, tamagoyaki (a rolled egg omelette with sugar and soy sauce), taoyaki (octopus balls), grilled clams and taiyaki (fish-shaped cakes filled with custard and chocolate). I discovered all this and a lot more during my first Hanami experience in Tokyo.

Chefs preparing Cherry Blossoms inspired foods, Japan
Chefs are preparing Sakura bloom-inspired foods in Japan. Pic cc: Denise Goco

On my first day in Tokyo, my local friend warned me that if I wanted to see Sakura, then I should wake up early, and like an obedient child, I obeyed.  But I was not alone in arriving early. I had to make my way through the epic-sized elbow-to-elbow crowds to admire the 1,000-plus blooming cherry blossom trees of the Ueno Park, one of Japan’s oldest and most famous public spaces in Tokyo (also home to many top museums, shrines, and ponds).

Sometimes, I walked along the pathways. Sometimes, I stood under the branches laden with soft white, pink, and magenta blooms. The wind would blow, and I would get showered in the Sakura snow. The fluffy, gorgeous blossoms were everywhere – on trees, in the air, on pathways, on benches and on the ground. It felt surreal like I was in a pink wonderland with the occasional Japanese shrine or statue peeking through the pink and white clouds of flowers.

Sakura Snow on the Japanese Roads
Sakura Snow on the Japanese Roads. 

It wasn’t just the parks, shrines or castles celebrating Sakura. Retailers, too, were in Sakura mode – markets draped in plastic cherry blossoms, cafes and restaurants served Sakura-inspired foods and drinks, 7x11s were filled with Sakura innovations, beauty counters were lined with cherry blossom scented lotions, Sakura front (television updates) announced the dates of Sakura travel from south to north.

Cherry Blossoms in Japan
Cherry Blossoms in Japan IN 2023

While I was absorbing all this, Takashi, my local friend, asked me if I knew why Hanami is such a big deal in Japan. Obviously, I didn’t have a clue. And that’s when he revealed the deep connection the Japanese have with the short-and-sweet season,

The ephemeral nature of Sakura blossoms lasting only for two weeks is symbolic of the Japanese spirit. In the days of the samurai, Sakura represented the short life of a warrior often cut off in its prime. In today’s Japan, Sakura serves as a reminder of the power of nature, the fragility and the beauty of life. It’s a reminder that life is overwhelmingly beautiful but precariously short too. Therefore you should make the most out of it as it lasts.

In a nutshell, the cherry blossoms are not just pretty pink flowers; they are the floral embodiment of Japan’s most deep-rooted cultural and philosophical beliefs.

After understanding the true essence of Hanami and enjoying it during the day, it was time to enjoy the Night Hanami. If you thought cherry blossoms during the day are a gorgeous sight, night blossoms are outright spectacular thanks to intricate lighting and festive lanterns that bring out the exoticness of the blossoms in the darkness of night. It was not a dream but a reality better than dream. A feeling that many poets, painters, filmmakers, and writers have tried to replicate for centuries but failed.

A visitor during Cherry Blossoms festival in Japan
Night Hanami in Tokyo, Japan.

 The days passed, and the fragile, cheery blossoms in Tokyo started to bid adieu. But I wasn’t ready for the goodbye yet. I wanted to see more. So I decided to follow them up North to the volcanic Aomori Prefecture and Hokkaido.

Cherry Blossom Season in Tohoku

The best way to travel in Japan is by a bullet train that passes through the scenic landscapes, where it is possible to lose sight of all the tourists.  The four hours of the train journey from Tokyo to Hirosaki by Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train) and a local train didn’t seem long. I was really enjoying the Sakura view from my window.

Hirosaki Castle in Aomori Prefecture, Tohoku is one of the best places to see cherry Blossoms in Japan. Pic courtesy: yisiris
Hirosaki Castle in Aomori Prefecture, Tohoku, is one of the best places in Japan to see cherry blossoms. Pic courtesy: yisiris

But I was in for a bigger surprise at Hirosaki, where 400-year-old Hirosaki Castle was surrounded by approximately 2,600 of Japan’s most perfect-looking cherry trees, including more than 300 trees over 100 years old. A clear blue sky with cottony white clouds and majestic mountains was the perfect backdrop for the dazzlingly blooming cherry blossoms. I had never seen anything more alluring than what I was seeing. Hypnotised by the view, I whispered to the Japanese couple standing next to me, “How come the cherry blossom trees here are so picture-perfect?”

 Hirosaki Castle area is famous for its apple orchards,” explained the couple. “So after the locals perfected a pruning technique for their apple trees, they carried it on to the cherries—it makes the trees in this area bloom spectacularly. The cherries here have twice as many petals as anywhere else, thanks to the special cultivation method.

So here is my tip. If you have to pick one place for cherry blossom viewing, pick Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture, one of the best spots for cherry blossoms in Japan.

Cherry Blossom Season in Hokkaido

If you have missed seeing the cherry blossoms in the south or centre, then Hokkaido is your best bet. Though I had relished my share of Sakura bloom, I still wanted to chase them up north. So I continued my onward journey to Hakodate and Sapporo in Hokkaido.

Cherry Blossom of Goryokaku Park in Hakodate in spring
Cherry Blossoms of Goryokaku Park in Hakodate in spring

The best place to view cherry blossoms in Hakodate is the Hakodate Tower, where hundreds of cherry blossom trees have been planted in the star-shaped Goryokaku Park, where a castle once stood. I didn’t have time to visit the nearby Matsumae castle, which I was told isn’t as impressive as Hirosaki but is less crowded.

My last stop was Hokkaido’s main city of Sapporo, which was awash with cherry blossoms (Maruyama Park and Hokkaido-jingu shrine in particular). The interesting thing about Sapporo is you can enjoy Sakura views while skiing since the official skiing season lasts until May.

Travelling to Japan in its peak season was a bit expensive but the most beautiful experience I have ever had. The cherry blossom season is ephemeral and fleeting, so mark your calendars and book your flights now before it’s too late!

In Hokkaido, during late spring, a different type of sakura called shiba zakura steals the show. Unlike the pink flowers on trees, shiba zakura is a ground cover with small pink, white, and purple flowers that create a stunning carpet-like effect. Visitors can witness this natural masterpiece in Eastern Hokkaido from May to June.

A different type of sakura called shiba zakura steals the show in Eastern Hokkaido in spring.
A different type of sakura called shiba zakura steals the show in Eastern Hokkaido in spring.

Higashi Mokoto Shiba Zakura Park, situated among rolling hills, is a must-visit in May and June. The park is adorned with bright pink moth phlox flowers, creating a picturesque backdrop for photographs.

Shibazakura Takinoue Park is another place visitors should not miss during the Shibazakura Festival, which runs from early May to early June. The park is covered in vibrant pink flowers, offering a stunning view.

Shibazakura Takinoue Park, Eastern Hokkaido in Spring
Shibazakura Takinoue Park, Eastern Hokkaido in Spring


Most people planning to visit Japan during Cherry Blossom season will have one question on their mind – “What month is the cherry blossom in Japan?”

The Japan cherry blossom travels like a wave from South to North, blooming as early as February in Okinawa, peaking in Tokyo and Kyoto at the end of March and reaching Hokkaido by the end of April.

Cherry Blossom in Japan
Cherry Blossom in Japan

Japan’s cherry blossom 2024 season is expected to peak from late March to early April, particularly in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. The official forecast was updated by the Japan Meteorological Corporation on February 15, 2024.

JMC Cherry Blossom Forcast 2024
  1. OkinawaFlowering: January 18/ Full bloom: February 10 at Yogi Park & Nakijin Castle
  2. Fukuoka – Flowering: March 21 / Full bloom: March 31 at Fukuoka Castle & Atago Shrine
  3. Osaka Flowering: March 25 / Full bloom: April 2 at Osaka Castle Park & Kema Sakuranomiya Park
  4. NaraFlowering: March 20 / Full bloom: 1 April at Nara Park & Heijo Palace
  5. HiroshimaFlowering: March 24 / Full bloom: April 2 at Shukkein Garden and Hiroshima Castle
  6. KyotoFlowering: March 23 / Full bloom: April 1 at Philosopher’s Path & Heian Shrine
  7. TokyoFlowering: March 19 / Full bloom: March 26 at Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen National & Yoyogi Park
  8. FukushimaFlowering: April 3/ Full Bloom: April 6 at Hanamiyama Park & Shinobuyama Park
  9. AomoriFlowering: April 17/ Full Bloom: April 22 at Hirosaki Castle & Ashino Chishogun Prefectural Natural Park
  10. Sendai – Flowering: April 4 / Full bloom: April 10 at Nishi Koen and Tsutsujigaoka Park.
  11. HakodateFlowering: April 26 / Full bloom: May 3 at Goryokaku, Matsumae Castle
  12. Sapporo Flowering: April 30 / Full bloom: May 4 at Maruyama Park, Hokkaido Jingu Shrine, and Odori Park

Cherry blossoms in Japan usually last about two weeks from the start of their bloom to peak bloom.

What to carry

Dress in warm clothes (spring can be chilly in Japan) and comfortable shoes. Bring along a blanket to sit on in the park and pick up a delicious Hanami Bento Box and drinks from a convenience store. Reach early and find a spot under a cherry blossom tree. Voila, you are ready to enjoy Hanami!

Useful Phrases

Sakura – Cherry blossom

Kirei – Beautiful

Sakura, kirei desu ne – Isn’t the cherry blossom beautiful?

Kanpai – Cheers!

Itadekimasu – Lets eat

Arigato gozaimasu – Thank you

Have you been to Japan in the Spring season? How was your experience?

A step-by-step guide for multi-visit Japan Visa

Offbeat Japan – Discovering the Autumn beauty of Hokkaido

Facts about Japan – Land of the Rising Toilet Seat

Hotel Review of staying at a Capsule Hotel in Tokyo

10 Reasons to Visit Hokkaido: From Ainu Culture to Winter Wonders, Your Ultimate Guide

Sushi, Shrines, and Beyond – 15 Essential Travel Tips for a Budget-Friendly and Hassle-free Adventure in Japan

Open Season – The Best Time to Visit Japan

PS: This story was published in the April 2017 issue of Jetwings.
How Japanese do Hanami in Japan
How Japanese do Hanami in Japan
Cherry Blossom viewing (Hanami) in Japan
Cherry Blossom Viewing (Hanami) in Japan
Cherry blossoms in Japan
Cherry blossoms in Japan
Cherry Blossom in Japan
Cherry Blossom in Japan


  • Aniruddha says:

    Wao.. images are the best. And the way you choose the topic for the article is also admirable.

  • Those cherry blossoms are true icons of Japan. I haven’t had the opportunity to see these cherry blossoms for myself. Hopefully, I can go back to Japan and witness them myself. Those dates and guide are so handy!

  • Bagrat says:

    My Japanese co-workers keep telling me they miss being home this time of the year. I told them to take me along when they do get to go! 🙂

  • Wow, I knew about cherry blossoms, but I simply had no idea that they were such a big deal for the locals. I love the quote about life representing the fragile life of samurais.
    I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, but your post makes me want to visit even more. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks a lot for stopping by and commenting. Japanese are very spiritual and nature loving people. They associate even the most mundane things with profound philosophies of life.

  • Suzanne says:

    Great introduction to cherry blossom viewing in Japan. For newbie travelers, you don’t have to go to the big cities and fight with crowds to see hanami. I’ve found equally beautiful cherry blossoms in regular, small town/village parks in Japan. They’re that ubiquitous.

  • Sonja says:

    This is so beautiful!!! I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and see the blossoms. I love seeing them wherever I’m living, which at the moment is Edinburgh, but they’re not the same!

    • Thanks a lot for stopping by to read and comment. I love Cherry blossom and had seen them before elsewhere too but they are altogether a different deal in Japan. You really have to see it to believe it.

  • Tracy says:

    I think I would have to travel through Japan -on the bullet train of course- to see all the blossom! It’s so stunningly beautiful and the Hirosaki castle blossoms seem so amazing- and definitely a must see. Will be saving this post as I am sure at some point I will make the trip to see the blossoms!

    • Thanks a lot Tracy. Japan was my no.1 destination to visit for many years and finally it happened. I can’t tell you how happy I was to visit it. It is now my favourite country in the world.

  • Riely says:

    I love that Sakura holds a special connection to the Japanese spirit and serves as a reminder of the fragility and beauty of life. I wasn’t aware of the symbolic representation of Sakura. It would be wonderful to see the blossoms in their glory at the Hirosaki castle. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos and stories of the blossoms.

    • Hi Riely,

      I am so thankful to you for sharing your generous comment on the post. I really had fun exploring Japan. It was really a beautiful experience, which I would love to experience again.

  • Iza c/o sydney fashion hunter says:

    I would love to eat all the Japanese food that you have mentioned. I like the deeper meaning behind Sakura blossoms. Life is short. We must be grateful every day and cherish what we have.

    • ha ha. Food is really yum in Japan. Even though I am a vegetarian still I didn’t face any problem. Japanese really go out of their way to make you feel comfortable.

  • Melbtravel says:

    Goryokaku Park looks so beautiful and those flowers are just pretty. I have not been to Japan but I have always wanted too. I would love to go when the cherry blossom are out in Spring, it must have been amazing wandering through them. Beautiful pictures by the way

  • CJ Haughey says:

    I know the pain of those “epic elbow-to-elbow crowds” from Korea. Admittedly, the cherry blossoms were not as impressive here as in some of your beautiful photos. Very informative post and super cool that you had it published in Jetwings.

    • Thanks a lot. Lot of my friends used to go to Korea for cherry blossoms. Looks pretty there but in Japan they are in a different league, simple coz of the strong Japanese culture and spirituality attached to them.

  • Love this article. My daughter really wants to see this in person but I am so used to DC cherry blossoms I was afraid to schedule a trip. After all, the peak is variable and short. With multiple sites and climates around Japan it seems like one should be hitting if you go anywhere in the right time. Great to know.

    • Thanks a lot Jenn & Ed. I would say Japan is pretty in every season. And frankly I try to avoid the peak season as it gets too crowded. I prefer smaller places more.

  • This is such a helpful guide to cherry blossom watching while in Japan. Thanks for the elaborately written guide on flower watching and Hanami, bookmarking this post for future reference. Would love to visit Japan during the spring just to witness this beautiful sight.

  • The blossoms along the roads are just spectacular! How amazing it would be to take part in such a local custom. Timing the cherry blossoms is definitely on my Japan to-do list. We so want to make it to Japan next year for the cherry blossoms!

  • Oh! I feel so good reading your post. The pictures are just way too amazing specially the one with Sakura snow on the street. I can’t believe that Japan has such beautiful springs as I never heard of it before. Thanks for introducing me to such an amazing place.

  • Wow, such an in depth review of where to see the famous cherry blossoms. I must say that Hakodate Tower and the park below seems to be perfect. Not only do you get to see the blossoms from above but the park looked so huge that surely it’s not full of tourists!

  • Swati says:

    Mesmerizing pictures and a great article. Will look this up when I plan my visit. I would like to believe that this is also a reminder not to take life too seriously .

  • Wow, wow, wow! I’m moving to Japan in january and the cherry blossom is DEFINITELY on mum tomto list. Thank you for the useful phrases too – I’ll definitely need them.

  • Wow, wow, wow! I’m moving to Japan in january and the cherry blossom is DEFINITELY on my to do list. Thank you for the useful phrases too – I’ll definitely need them.

  • This post was the sight for sore eyes, just what I needed on a Sunday afternoon. I would certainly like to try some of that Cherry Blossoms inspired food 🙂


  • Claire says:

    I think seeing cherry blossoms is one of the reasons I really want to visit Japan so it’s good to have a list of the best places to see them. Thanks so much for putting this together. Quite interested to try some of that cherry blossom inspired food too

  • Great article and absolutely stunning photography!. I’ve obviously seen photos on Instagram before, but had no idea they had such deep meaning to the Japanese people. The festival in Tokyo sounds great but I think I loved the castle surrounded by the trees the best. A great guide for people wanting to visit. Thanks for sharing,

  • Christie says:

    This is wonderful!!! I’ve never seen aerial shots of the cherry blossoms before – that is amazing. I’ve GOT to get here someday!! Hirosaki Castle Park looks to die for with the trees!

  • Tony (tonyandkimoutdooradventures) says:

    Japan is on my list to explore. I’m tossing up on Spring or Autumn. I love the colors in noth seasons. Thanks for the share. Alot of things to consider.

  • Cherry blossoms are on our bucket list since such a long time! Your post is really detailed and useful. Thanks for sharing. The boat ride across Hirosaki Castle park looks so dreamy!

  • Bhushavali says:

    That’s awesome! My friend is there right now, enjoying Cherry Blossoms! I’ve seen some in the Japanese gardens in London in spring, but to see them in Japan would be one heck of an experience.

  • Katie says:

    This is a fantastic and detailed guide!! We loved Japan and visited just before cherry blossom season! Was great seeing the blossom but want to deffo head back there and see some more areas with the blossom everywhere!

  • Anita says:

    What an experience to be surrounded by so much beauty.

  • Cat says:

    After seeing your beautiful photos, I just want to fly to Japan right now! There are so many places to do hanami too!! Even better, there are yummy treats to go with it. Personally, I would love to try some local eats, especially the pink onigiri and sakura mochi!

  • We are fascinated by the awe-insipring pictures of Japanese floral gardens that keeps popping up on social media. But cherry blossoms of Japan is something which will always be high on list. We would love to experience the night blossoms brightened with the festive lanterns.

  • Reshma says:

    Didn’t know that there lies a whole philosophy behind these most sought after beautiful flowers. A great guide to planning ahead to witness the cherry blossoms in Japan!

  • Vicky @ A Backpack Full of Adventures says:

    Ah, your photos are beautiful! I was actually in Japan last month, but sadly missed the cherry blossom season. I was there towards the end of the month (I left on 30 March) but everyone I talked to said that the blossom season is a bit late this year, due to the cold weather had earlier. I saw a couple of trees here and there, which was lovely, but they weren’t in full bloom yet. I’d definitely love to go back another time when they are!

  • Agness of eTramping says:

    Cherry blossoms are so stunning and Japan is breath-taking. This is the most exceptional guide I have read in a while!

  • Jane Dempster-Smith says:

    We just missed the Sakura bloom when we visited Japan and I was so disappointed. Thank you for including the when and where of Hanami – this really helps to plan an itinerary. I did not know that the blooming of the blossom in the two weeks related to the Japanese spirit and the short life of the samurai.

  • Paul Healy says:

    I missed this when I was in Japan but it looks like it’s definitely something worth going back for. Really informative article with some beautiful photography, makes me want to start looking at booking a trip right now.

  • Sreekar says:

    I was in Japan last year and missed the cherry blossom season. I have been regretting it ever since. Loved the info. Will come in handy on my next trip. I too have read that they come alive at night, contrary to what one may think!

  • Jas says:

    I’ve been to Japan almost 10 times now and this April will be my first time there for cherry blossoms so thank you for all these lovely suggestions! Love that convenience stores have bento boxes too especially just for hanami. Do you know if they sell picnic blankets there as well?

  • Yukti says:

    Cherry blossoms are always a beautiful sight and that too if in Japan. Thanks for guiding us for Cherry blossom season from south to north with all the Japanese terms associated with it. Hirosaki castle surrounded with many cherry trees and some are 100 years old looks beautiful and photogenic.

  • Soraya says:

    Ahhh Cherry Blossom season in Japan is high on my bucket list. Such a wonderous time of the year! I am so loving the sound of the Hirosaki Castle – what history being over 400 years old, and what a spectacle place to visit to see the Cherry Blossoms…especially with 100 year trees! It’s so great that you broke down the dates because I would have never know this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.