Sakura or cherry blossom season is one of the most popular times of the year in Japan. Like in many countries, the flower blossoming marks the arrival of warmer weather and the season is very much welcomed by everyone. The best timing for viewing the beautiful pink colours is somewhere between March and May, depending on the location and the weather circumstances. In this blog we will give you an introduction to the expected schedule for the best time to see cherry blossoms all around Japan.
What is sakura and why is it so special?
In Japan, sakura viewing is immensely popular; each year millions of people set out to watch the blossoming cherry trees in its full colours. On average, the blooming period lasts for two week sometime between March and May, depending on the region and the circumstances. To Japanese people, sakura symbolises spring, hope, beauty and new life and the beautiful sakura flowers have made it into art and poetry, food and drink. In particular, the Japanese see the cherry blossoms brevity (many only bloom for a week or two) as a symbol of the impermanence and transience of life. It also marks the beginning of the school year and business year, both starting in April, thus spring is a season full of new meetings, activities, and liveliness. Besides these deeper meanings of sakura, the cherry trees in full blossom are simply a sight to behold!
Every year in spring hanami parties are organised by the locals. Hanami translates into flower watching, but refers more specifically to observing the cherry trees in full blossom. Hanami is very easy, arguably the most easiest Japanese thing, to do: just enjoy the pretty sight of the cherry tree(s) in full blossom. You can do so from a far distance or close by, strolling through the park or having a picnic. Just remember not to touch/pull/pick the cherry blossoms and take your garbage with you.
Not only locals enjoy the sakura, also many people from overseas come to Japan during the spring season specifically to see cherry blossoms. Even though it is certainly a busy time in Japan, it is definitely worth visiting and experiencing the cherry blossom season. But if you aren’t one for (over) crowded spots, you might want to avoid spring time in Japan.
Cherry Blossom Forecast 2021
If you’re planning on visiting Japan for the sakura season in the spring of 2021, make sure you know the exact dates so you don’t miss out on such an amazing experience. But you might be asking yourself “when and where exactly will they bloom?” and “where are the best locations to see the cherry blossoms in Tokyo?”. Firstly, we will give you the most recent forecast below. Next, we have listed the best locations to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo, according to us.
Each year, at the beginning of January, the JMC (Japan Meteorological Corporation) will release its first forecast of the dates when cherry blossoms will start to flower and reach full bloom. After that it will be updated continuously. The 8th forecast of 2021 was published on March 18th, see below. As soon as a new forecast is released we will update this page again!
Cherry blossom forecast 2021 (UPDATED)
JMC has estimated the flowering and full bloom dates for Yoshino Cherry trees in approximately 1.000 cherry blossom viewing locations all over Japan from Hokkaido to Kagoshima.
|Location||Flowering date||Full Bloom date||Flowering avg.|
|Tokyo||March 14||March 22||March 26|
|Kyoto||March 16||March 25||March 28|
|Osaka||March 19||March 27||March 28|
|Kagoshima||March 17||April 4||March 26|
|Aomori||April 18||April 23||April 24|
|Hokkaido||Aril 30||May 3||May 3|
The Cherry Blossom Flowering Forecast Map below shows dates of flowering but not of full bloom.
Sakura viewing in Tokyo
Now that you know the expected dates, you can start planning which locations you would like to visit. If you want to see as many cherry blossom spots but want to stay in Tokyo, it is worth to check these top 5 best cherry blossom locations in Tokyo.
- Meguro River (目黒川)
One of the most popular spots for cherry blossom viewing in Japan is the Meguro River, which features over 800 cherry trees lining along its river bank. Especially the area of Nakameguro is a popular spot.
- Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑)
One of the largest national gardens in town, the garden features around 1.000 cherry blossom trees.
- Chidorigafuchi (千鳥ヶ淵)
The most picturesque cherry blossom spot in Tokyo.
- Ueno Onshi Park (上野恩賜公園)
The most crowded place to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo as many visitors go there for Hanami (cherry blossom viewing party).
- Tokyo Mid Town（東京ミッドタウン）
Tokyo MidTown is extremely popular to see Cherry Blossoms (Sakura) at night.