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 is very much welcomed by everyone. The best timing for viewing the beautiful pink colours is spring, somewhere between March and May, depending on the location. 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 view the blossoming cherry trees in its full colours. To Japanese people, sakura symbolises human life, transience and nobleness. It also marks the beginning of the school year and business year, spring is a season full of new meetings, activities, and liveliness.
How to do hanami?
Every year in spring hanami parties are organised by the locals. Hanami translates into flower watching, but refers more specific to 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 picknick. 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 are not one for (over) crowded spots, you might want to avoid spring time in Japan.
Cherry Blossom Forecast 2020
If you’re planning on visiting Japan for the sakura flower season this spring of 2020, 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. The best location for sakura viewing, according to us, is listed here in the Top Best 5 locations to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo.
On the 9th of January of 2020, JMC (Japan Meteorological Corporation) released its first forecast of the dates when cherry blossoms will start to flower and reach full bloom. Since then it has been updated 4 times already.
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||16th March||23rd March||26th March|
|Kyoto||18th March||28th March||28th March|
|Osaka||22nd March||30th March||28th March|
|Kagoshima||31rd March||11th April||26th March|
|Aomori||20th April||24th April||24th April|
|Hokkaido||30th April||4th May||3rd May|
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 dates it would be perfect to plan which locations you would like to visit. If you want to see as many cherry blossom spots but only wanting 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.