PICTURE YOURSELF AMONG JAPAN’S CHERRY BLOSSOMS
In Japan, it’s traditional for the locals to enjoy the sights of the sakura (cherry blossom trees). There’s no better reason to visit Japan this coming spring and fall in love with the country too!
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When do cherry blossoms bloom in Japan?
There are multiple sakura varieties, and each bloom at a slightly different time and last for different periods. The earliest blooms tend to appear in tropical Okinawa in January; the last blooms can be caught on the northernmost island of Hokkaido in early May.
March is a great time to catch the sakura, signalling the beginning of spring. It’s also a good time of the year to take the Romantic Tour in Okinawa on Linktraveldeals.sg. As the name suggests, this is a tour for romantics where a professional guide will take you to the most romantic sites in this beautiful city.
When do the cherry blossoms festivals begin?
Well, the first festival to herald the country’s earliest blooms – the Motobu Yaedake Cherry Blossom Matsuril in Okinawa – is usually held mid-January to early February. Most festivals take place between March and May. Whenever they do, expect to find picnics, barbecues, live music, food, craft stalls and tea ceremonies beneath the trees. Whether you get to attend a festival or not, prepare to be enchanted by the sheer grace and beauty of the sakura!
How do people celebrate a cherry blossom festival?
Families, friends and colleagues gather together under the cherry blossom trees to eat, drink and be merry! Popular spots have stalls selling snacks and drinks. This gathering is known as hanami (literally, “flower viewing”). While the viewing of cherry blossoms after the sun goes down is called yozakura. It’s where lights and lanterns are weaved into the branches, causing the flowers to appear to glow in the dark.
These events usually get livelier as the moon rises. Visitors are welcome to join the celebrations. Pack a picnic blanket and swing by a supermarket to pick up a spring-themed bento box (Kankakee meatballs, inari sushi, strawberries, red bean mochi) and some limited-edition hanami-themed goodies, such as pink Sakura Pepsi, pink KitKats and clear Asahi beer!
Where’s the best place to see cherry blossoms in Japan?
With over 1,000 sakura locations across Japan, you’ll easily find one to enjoy the custom of hanami. Here are just four favourites:
This is arguably Japan’s most famous cherry-bloom destination! The blossoms of over 30,000 sakura usually adorn the Kii Mountains surrounding the town in late March. The centrepiece is a huge cherry tree with branches that touch the ground on Mount Yoshino. It remains illuminated from dusk to midnight, presenting the perfect conditions for night cherry flowers (yozakura).
When you book a stay at the Chikurinin Gunpoen hotel, you’ll also be a stone’s throw away from sacred sites and pilgrimage routes in the Kii Mountain Range and Chikurinin. This is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of Linktraveldeals.sg exclusive offer and enjoy up to 60% off over 600,00 hotels worldwide!
Himeji Castle, Kansai
The white walls of the 14th-century UNESCO-listed Himeji Castle provide the perfect backdrop for the 1,000 cherry trees that burst into life around it. The first blooms normally appear in late March as well. Unlike other castles in Japan, Himeji Castle has remained intact for over 400 years, surviving war, earthquakes and fire, and is among the best-preserved castles in Japan. Made up of over 80 buildings, the castle complex is connected by a series of labyrinth-like winding alleys and is an absolute joy to explore.
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Fuji Five Lakes, Chubu
These striking lakes form an arc around the base of Mount Fuji and are a beautiful location for hanami in early April. A popular way to experience the season is to spend the day in an onsen (hot spring) and view the blooms while lounging in the warm waters. We recommend immersing yourself in this experience in the resort town of Lake Kawaguchi. Make sure to arrive early in the morning so you can gaze up through the mist at Mount Fuji, which will be framed by glorious cherry blossoms.
Hirosaki Castle, Tōhoku
One of the prettiest spots for cherry blossom viewing in the country, this ancient three-storey castle is surrounded by a fortified moat and a huge tree-lined park that hosts illuminations in the evenings. The best time to visit is also in late April, towards the end of the cherry blossom season when the moat is awash with fallen petals.
For a romantic afternoon (or just a great photo opportunity), you can rent a rowing boat to glide through the surreal scene. Wherever you decide to visit to savour the glory of Japan’s cherry blossoms, you’ll be perfectly positioned to snap the best photos you’ll ever have!
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