Posted by: Japan Hoppers編集部 ユジン(Yoojin) 23 Feb 2017

Longer-than-expected cherry blossom viewing season

Longer-than-expected cherry blossom viewing season © Iry

Cherry blossoms viewing have been a seasonal tradition of spring in Japan for a long time. Transient beauty of pink flowers with the signs of spring attract many people from all over the world.

However, the viewing season of cherry blossoms is very limited. For example, full bloom period of Someiyoshino, the most common kinds of cherry trees, is only about ten days. Moreover, blooming period depends heavily on the weather, so it is very difficult to plan a trip beforehand.

Here is the good news. Although Someiyoshino cherry tree fully blooms only for about ten days, you can see them all over Japan. And the blooming period differs from place to place.

The map below is the Cherry Blossom Flowering Forecast Map, made public by Japan Meteorological Corporation. As you can see, the southern part of the country blooms around the end of March and the northern part blooms around early May. There are more than a month difference.

The reason for this difference is that the blooming period of Someiyoshino cherry trees depends on the temperature of the winter time and the following spring. In other words, the cherry trees in the warmer area blooms earlier than those in the colder area. If you take into account this difference, you can enjoy the full bloom for nearly a month. So if you are planning to visit Japan in late April, you may want to go up north in Tohoku area.

There are various kinds of cherry trees

There are many kinds of cherry trees besides Someiyoshino. For example, Yaezakura cherry tree, which you can enjoy at "Cherry Blossom Viewing at the Osaka Mint", blooms about two weeks or a month later than Someiyoshino.

 Osaka "Cherry Blossom Viewing at the Osaka Mint"

In Kanto region, Shibazakura of Hitsuji-yama Park in Chichibu area is very popular as a late blooming flower. As "shiba" means lawn in Japanese, Shibazakura blooms on the ground like a carpet.

Saitama "Hitsuji-yama Park, Shibazakura (Moss Pink) Hill"

Actually, Shibazakura and Someiyoshino are from different families. People call it Shibazakura becasue it blooms in spring and its flower resembles that of cherry trees. Shibazakura here blooms around mid-April to early May, and if you make it on a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji over the pink carpet of flowers.

Not only late blooming cherry trees, but also there are early blooming ones as well. One of the popular early blooming cherry tree is Kawazuzakura in Eastern Izu area. They bloom around mid-February to mid-March.

 Shizuoka "Kawazuzakura in Eastern Izu"

So when you plan your trip, keep it in your mind that there are many options to enjoy cherry blossoms. There is even a cherry tree that bloom in October called Jugatsuzakura!

Do not miss out fallen cherry blossom as well 

If you cannot make it in time for the full bloom or flowers fell early due to heavy rain, there are another way of enjoying cherry blossoms. In this case, you have to look down in order to appreciate the scenery.

People call fallen cherry blossoms floating on a water "Hanaikada", or flower raft, which has been enjoyed as a beautiful scenery at the end of the cherry blossom season.

One of the famous spot for Hanaikada is Hirosaki-jo Castle in Aomori. A moat surrounding the castle will be covered with pink cherry blossoms around late April to early May. The castle surrounded with the beautiful pink carpet is a must-see scenery.

If you would like to see Hanaikada in Tokyo, Meguro River is recommended. Here you can join the boat tour through Hanaikada. 

You can enjoy cherry blossoms for over a month!

Now that you know you can enjoy cherry blossoms for more than a month, you can plan your trip with more flexibility.

Learn more about cherry blossoms in the Feature related pages below if you are interested.

Japan Hoppers編集部 ユジン / Yoojin

Japan Hoppers編集部 ユジン / Yoojin

Hi I'm Yoojin. I'll let you know how to enjoy and survive in Japan :P I hope it will be helpful for your travel.
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