Japanese or foreign tourists who want to see Japan’s national flower – the cherry blossom, also known as “sakura” – can take a trip to Okinawa Japan’s southernmost Prefecture. Here, due to the warmer temperatures, the pink flowers start blooming on cherry trees from the middle of January until the middle of February, although usually cherry blossom season starts at the end of March in Japan.
Festivals dedicated to cherry blossoms take place all over Okinawa. However, at the moment the sakura season is almost over in the region, but there are still places left to try “hanami”, or flower viewing.
One of the best opportunities, according to the international press, is the Naha Sakura Matsuri cherry blossom festival, which runs from February 12-17 in Yogi Park in Naha City. In the park there are about 400 cherry blossom trees along the river.
The blooming season is short, and the delicate flowers, which give the trees a rosy-white hue, are vulnerable to weather conditions such as rain and wind. These are the reasons for which most blossoms last only for one week.
In Japan, the short blooming seasons means that winter is over and spring is on its way, while the fragile cherry blossoms are also a metaphor for the fleeting nature of life.
- Ueno Park: One of Japan’s most crowded, noisy and popular spots for cherry blossom parties, Ueno Park features more than 1000 trees along the street leading towards the National Museum and around Shinobazu Pond. Ueno Park’s blossoms typically open 1-3 days ahead of the blossoms in other spots in the city.
- Shinjuku gyoen features more than one thousand cherry trees of over a dozen varieties, including numerous early and late blooming trees. There are spacious lawn areas, and the atmosphere is calm and peaceful. Thanks to the early and late blooming trees, Shinjuku Gyoen is a good hanami destination for those who miss the main season by a week or two.
- Meguro River About 800 cherry trees line Meguro River for several hundred meters and create an amazing sight. However, as a concrete canal, Meguro River does not offer a very natural surrounding for blossom viewers. During the Nakameguro Sakura Festival, the trees are lit up in the evenings.
- Yoyogi Park: There are more than 650 trees of Someiyoshino type which is pale pink colored famous species of blossoms.Located next to famous shrine Meiji Jingu and fasion street Harajuku. Travelers spend hour or two at Yoyogi Park and then head to Shrine. So it is great place to start a day with.
- Koganei Park: Second largest park in Tokyo. There are over 1700 trees. Thanks to the size and large number of trees, not much competition for getting place to view blossoms. Also,cherry blossom road makes this park outstanding and special. In addition, this park has numerous facilities for kids and pet as well. I highly recommend for family.
- Mid town: Mid town light up blossoms for two weeks every year. The street is so beautiful and romantic that many couples wander around. Lighting up season varies every year.
- Roppongi Hills: Too busy all week? Here is alternative. Mouri Teien hold afternoon hanami events on April 1-3 . They sell set of non alcohol beer and bento to office workers.
- Asukayama Park: One of the most popular flower viewing place in Tokyo. Its trees are planted 300 years ago at the middle of Edo era. Not only 650 blossom trees but also lakes and small water falls allows people to share refreshing time. Blooming time is little late compared to others.
Whether News released Sakura Simulator which is said to be pretty accurate. According to the simulation, cherry blossom starts blooming on March 19 in Tokyo. March 26 is the best day to try Hanami. And number of blossoms decrease drastically in the beginning of April. Those who are available only beginning of April, do not worry. Flowers tend to bloom from southern region. Therefore you will be able to view flowers outside of Tokyo especially upper area of Kanto Prefecture.
7 Tips for “hanami”
- Do not leave any trush. Leftover trush has been a big problem past years.
- You will need to be at park from early in the morning to get nice place.
- Take blanket or jacket with you. End of March still gets chilly.
- Bring foods and drinks with you.
- Always check the weather. Sudden shower destroys hanami.
- Stay away from right under the tree. Falling blossoms fly into your food.
- Try to get a place where restroom is close. Many get lost on a way back to friends place.