Sakura - The Beauty of Japanese Springtime

The sakura, or Japanese cherry blossom, is the very symbol of spring in its native land. So beloved is it by the people of Japan that news and weather stations even feature blossom forecasts. Men and women both young and old come from all over to see the sight of blooming sakura and celebrate the coming of spring. Springtime is very beautiful in Japan, and the Yoshino Cherry (Somei Yoshino) is perhaps the most popular variety of sakura. Among the first varieties of sakura to bloom each spring is the vivid-pink Kawazuzakura. Others include the weeping Shidarezakura and the layered blossoms of the Yaezakura. The period during which sakura bloom, however, varies greatly depending on location, climate and even elevation. The ideal season for viewing can range all the way from February until June! We've chosen a few of the best places for viewing sakura, so read on and learn about these grand and gorgeous icons of spring in Japan. Seeing the majestic sakura in person will surely be an experience you?ll never forget.

The Three Great Sakura Forests of Japan

  • Takato Castle Park (Nagano Prefecture, Ina City)

    The sakura at Tatako Castle park have been called “Tenkadaiichi no sakura”, or “The Greatest Sakura on Earth”, and the site was chosen as as one of the Japan Cherry Blossom Association's “Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots”. There are over 1,500 sakura trees growing in the park, and when they're in bloom, the entirety of Takato Castle Park takes on a soft pink hue, a unique sight different from that of more common varieties of sakura. Every April, the Takato Jyoushi Park Cherry Blossom Festival is held, which lends a delightful festive atmosphere to an already beautiful season. Come discover the essence of Japanese spring as Takato Park blossoms into a sea of pink!

  • Yoshinoyama (Nara Prefecture, Yoshino Town)

    The sakura of Yoshinoyama (Mt. Yoshino) features over 30,000 sakura trees in 200 varieties, many of which originated in ancient Japan. The blossoms range in color from white to light red, and around April, spring to life along the ridges and valleys of the mountain, clustered together in the lower, middle, upper and deep forests. It's said that you can see a thousand sakura trees in bloom at one glance! But that's not all; during the flowering season, the sakura are lit up at night, creating a profoundly subtle yet beautiful scene. The people of Japan have come to Yoshinoyama to sing, recite poetry and hold celebrations for centuries. Why not visit and experience the beauty for yourself?

  • Hirosaki Park (Aomori Prefecture, Hirosaki City)

    Hirosaki Castle, the symbol and namesake of the city, celebrated the 400th anniversary of its construction in 2011. Within the castle grounds stand approximately 2,600 sakura trees, which attract visitors from all over Japan as they begin to bloom in late April. However, there's more beauty to be found here than just the trees themselves. As the petals fall, they accumulate in the castle's moat, creating a staggeringly beautiful river of pink. This spectacular scene was featured on the popular Japanese Facebook page “The breathtaking sights in the world I want to see before I die.”, and has since garnered significant attention and fame from around the world.

The Three Great Cherry Trees of Japan

  • Miharu Takizakura (Fukushima Prefecture, Miharu Town)

    The Miharu Takizakura (waterfall cherry tree), is among the three great cherry trees of Japan, and is said to the most beautiful shidarezakura (weeping cherry) in all of Japan. The tree itself is estimated to be over 1,000 years old, and has been designated a natural monument of Japan. It dominates the landscape with a height of 13.5 meters and a circumference of 11.3 meters. The sight of seemingly infinite petals that appear to flow from its branches in all directions make the Miharu Takizakura a must-see.

  • Neo-itasho Usuzumi-zakura (Gifu Prefecture, Motosu City)

    Neo-itasho, in Gifu Prefecture's Motosu City is home to the Usuzumi-zakura Cherry Tree. Another of Japan's three great cherry trees, the Usuzumi-zakura is believed to be over 1,500 years old. This tree is particularly unique due to the fact that its petals are a lustrous white when they first blossom, but turn the color of jet-black ink (usuzumi) as they fall and scatter. It is from this peculiar transformation that the tree's name is derived. The Usuzumi-zakura stands 16.3 meters tall, and has a circumference of 9.9 meters, making it a large as it is famous. This testament to longevity and mystical beauty is definitely worth seeing yourself.

  • Yamataka Jindai-zakura (Yamanashi Prefecture, Hokuto City)

    The third of Japan's three great cherry trees, and the first to be designated a natural monument. It's found within the grounds of Jissoji Temple, and has a height of 10.3 meters and a circumference of 11.8 meters. Its name, Jindai, (age of the gods) comes from the remarkable fact that it is over 2,000 years old. Its history can even be traced back the age of Japanese mythology. What kind of feelings will come to you as you stand before the pale pink blossoms of this timeless landmark?

The sakura has been beloved by the Japanese since ancient times, and to this day is a symbol of the nation itself. As illustrated in the Japan Cherry Blossom Association's “Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots”, these sakura dot the countryside all over Japan. Unfortunately, nature doesn't allow us much time to see them due to their short flowering season and tendency to be affected by the climate and weather. When you're reserving your tour, please make sure to confirm the sakura situation beforehand!

Checking the Flowering Forecast

The season for sakura viewing in Japan is heavily influenced by changes in temperature, so it's vital that you confirm the latest information when you make plans! In addition to websites of meteorological agencies and tourism bureaus, you can also get the latest news by telephone. And of course, when you book a tour with us, we can provide you with all the info you need, so feel free to call anytime!

Flowering Forecasts of Major Cities of Japan
(Based on Japan's Three Major Meteorological Agencies)

Peak flowering season occurs approximately one week after flowering begins. NOTE: This forecast is based on data of the Yoshino Cherry Tree

The Japan Weather Association Weather Map Co.,Ltd. weathernews
Forecasted Flowering Dates

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Tokyo

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Nagoya

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Kyoto

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Osaka

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Fukuoka

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Sapporo

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