To the Japanese, cherry blossom (sakura) is much more than just a flower. The blossom front sweeps along the length of the archipelago over the course for several months. It is apparently the busiest and most conducive time of the year for tourism in Japan. If you want a little head start on places to visit during a Japan holiday? Here are our favourite places that you must check out:
1. Mount Yoshino
During peak cherry blossom, Mount Yoshino is filled with over 30,000 cherry trees and is home to some World Heritage-listed temples and shrines found amongst the forest. The blooms first appear at the foot of the mountain and slowly spread to the top as the weeks come along. Yoshino is the most famous sakura viewing spot in Japan and has been for hundreds of years.
2. Himeji Castle
This UNESCO World Heritage site is only one of a handful of original feudal castles still standing in Japan having survived fires, wars, earthquakes and the Meiji Restoration. It is surrounded by sakura trees whose blossoms are truly the best during the spring.
3. Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo
Shinjuku Gyoen is a large park located right at the heart of the Tokyo. It is within walking distance of one of its largest and busiest entertainment and business hubs. The area has both early and late blooming trees with different garden landscapes which means you can witness its beauty throughout the season.
4. Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto
Kyoto’s Philosopher’s Path is a lovely stone walkway that follows a canal which runs through the northern part of the city’s Higashiyama district for about two kilometres. It is lined all the way with cherry trees, which explode into colour in early April.
5. Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa
The Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa is one of the top landscape gardens in Japan. It is a beautiful place to visit at any time in the year, but during the cherry blossom season, it is just magical.
6. Mount Fuji view from Hakone
The best places to get a view of Mount Fuji which is surrounded by cherry blossom are Hakone and the Fuji Five Lakes region. They are two of the best spots in the northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko and the Chureito Pagdo, built in the hills of Fujiyoshida City.
7. Miharu Takizakura
Situated near the small town of Miharu in Fukushima Prefecture, Miharu Takizakura has a weeping cherry tree that is over one thousand years old, 12 metres tall and with a trunk circumference of 9.5m. This massive tree is probably Japan’s most famous tree and doesn’t disappoint in its looks as it is regarded as the most beautiful.
8. Hirosaki Castle
The Hirosaki Castle is a wonderful place to see in the sakura, it is at the northern tip of Honshu Main Island. Its blossoms come out much later because it sits in the northern region. However, this makes it a great spot for those who arrive in Japan too late to witness the peak season elsewhere. Talk about making lemonade when life throws lemons at you.
9. Hanamiyama Park, Fukushima
The park was started by local farmers who began planting ornamental plants and trees in the area. It has a variety of cherry and other flowering. Hence, there is a bounty of spring colours in this area, with lovely views of the Azuma Mountains tucked away in the distance.