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The sakura flower, or Japanese cherry blossom, is considered Japan's unofficial national flower and has been admired by people all across the globe for it undeniable beauty. They are so popular among tourists that thousands travel to Japan every year during the spring season to get a glimpse of the spectacle of the trees blooming with these pink or white flowers.

Is during this time that many Japanese gather their family and friends to enjoy hanami, the tradition of admiring the beauty of the cherry blossoms, which they usually do by making picnics under the blooming trees. This tradition became very popular among tourists, who also wish to appreciate the exotic flowers while having a good time with friends.

If you are interested in seeing Japan’s famous cherry blossoms in 2018, here are two very important things to consider when making your trip plans – when and where to go. To make your planning a little easier, here we gather information about the cherry blossom forecast for 2018 and made a list of the best cherry blossom spots in Japan.

 

When is Cherry Blossom Season in Japan?

 The sakura blooming typically occurs between late March and early April throughout most of Japan. But is important to keep in mind that the best viewing dates can widely vary based on the geographic location within the country. The regions with the milder winter climate usually produce earlier bloomer trees. For this reason, the cherry blossoms open first in the southern area, almost always beginning at Okinawa, and the blooming progresses towards the north.

Other factors influencing the blossoms appearance are the wind, rain, and temperature, which can make the blossoms appear either earlier or later than average and can lengthen or shorten the blooming season, making the cherry blossom forecast vary a little every year.

 

Cherry Blossom Forecast 2018 by Region

*Estimated best viewing periods by Planetyze based on data collected in previous years, especially 2016 and 2017, by the Japan Weather Association.

 

Major Cities

  • TOKYO

Estimated best viewing dates: March 29 to April 4
Blooming start prediction: March 21

  • KYOTO

Estimated best viewing dates: April 5 to April 11
Blooming start: March 31

  • OSAKA

Estimated best viewing dates: April 5 to April 11
Blooming start: April 1st

 

Kyushu, Shikoku and Chugoku

  • FUKUOKA

Estimated best viewing dates: April 1 to April 7.
Blooming start: March 25.

  • KUMAMOTO

Estimated best viewing dates: March 29 to April 5
Blooming start: March 24

  • HIROSHIMA

Estimated best viewing dates: April 4 to April 10
Blooming start: March 27.

  • MATSUYAMA

Estimated best viewing dates: April 1 to April 7
Blooming start: March 24

 

Kansai

  • KYOTO

Estimated best viewing dates: April 5 to April 11
Blooming start: March 31

  • OSAKA

Estimated best viewing dates: April 5 to April 11
Blooming start: April 1st

  • NARA

Estimated best viewing dates: April 6 to April 12
Blooming start: April 3

 

Kanto and Chubu

  • TOKYO

Estimated best viewing dates: March 29 to April 4
Blooming start prediction: March 21

  • NAGOYA

Estimated best viewing dates: April 8 to April 14
Blooming start: April 5

  • YOKOHAMA

Estimated best viewing dates: April 3 to April 9
Blooming start prediction: March 25

  • KANAZAWA

Estimated best viewing dates: April 8 to April 14
Blooming start: April 5

  • FUJI FIVE LAKES

Estimated best viewing dates: March 31 to April 6.
Blooming start: March 25.

 

Tohoku and Hokkaido

  • FUKUSHIMA

Estimated best viewing dates: April 8 to April 14.
Blooming start: April 6

  • SENDAI

Estimated best viewing dates: April 7 to April 13
Blooming start: April 7

  • HAKODATE

Estimated best viewing dates: April 29 to May 4
Blooming start: April 27

  • SAPPORO

Estimated best viewing dates: May 2 to May 8
Blooming start: May 1

 

10 Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan

Now that you when to visit Japan to experience the most of the cherry blossom viewing, all there is left to do is decide where to go. We made a list of the 10 best cherry blossom spots in Japan, so you can find the ones that better fit into your trip itinerary.

 

TOKYO

Shinjuku Gyoen

Ueno Park

 

FIVE FUJI LAKES

Kawaguchi Lake

 

KYOTO

Philosopher's Walk

Maruyama Park

Arashiyama

Heian Shrine

 

OSAKA

Osaka Castle

 

NARA

Nara Park

 

HIROSHIMA

Miyajima  (Itsukushima)

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

This beautiful park displays more than 1000 cherry trees of over a dozen varieties, including many early and late blooming trees, which makes it a good hanami option for those who miss the main season by a week or two. The spacious lawn areas create a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere. Just keep in mind that alcoholic drinks are prohibited.
More information

Business Hours Tuesday ( 09:00 AM ~ 04:30 PM )
Wednesday ( 09:00 AM ~ 04:30 PM )
Thursday ( 09:00 AM ~ 04:30 PM )
Friday ( 09:00 AM ~ 04:30 PM )
Weekends ( 09:00 AM ~ 04:30 PM )

Last entry 4:00 PM

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Monday

Open on National Holidays,but closed the next weekday
29th Dec. - 3rd Jan.
Price Adult: 200 JPY
Elementary and Junior high school student: 50 JPY
Infant: Free
Address Shinjuku Gyoen, 11 Naito-machi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo See map
Telephone 03-3350-0151


Ueno Park

This is one of the most famous (and crowded) spots for cherry blossom viewing in Japan. Holder of many sakura themed festivals and parties, Ueno Park features thousands of heavily bloomed trees along the street which leads towards the National Museum and around Shinobazu Pond. The view is breathtaking, which justify the popularity of this spot among both tourists and locals. Ueno Park's blossoms typically open 1-3 days ahead of the blossoms in other spots in the city.
More information

Business Hours Everyday ( 05:00 AM ~ 11:00 PM )
Address Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo See map
Telephone 03-3828-5644
Website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ueno_Park


Lake Kawaguchiko

The combination of this iconic lake with the cherry blossom trees placed along the northern shores of it creates one of the most the magnificent sight of Mount Fuji. The two best spots to appreciate the view are the small Ubuyagasaki peninsula next to the Kawaguchiko Ohashi Bridge and the lakeside promenade around the Kawaguchiko Music Forest. For a better visibility and light conditions, visit in the early mornings.
More information

Address 河口湖駅, Fujikawaguchiko-machi Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi See map
Telephone 0555-72-6700
Website http://www.fujisan.ne.jp/index_e.php


Philosopher’s Walk

So-named for had been used for daily meditation by the influential 20th-century Japanese philosopher and Kyoto University professor Nishida Kitaro, this is a charming and romantic pedestrian path following a cherry-tree-lined canal. It connects Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) with the vicinity of Nanzenji. It also passes a number of temples and shrines such as Hōnen-in, Ōtoyo Shrine, and Eikandō Zenrinji, making it very convenient spot if you are into visiting temples.
More information

Business Hours Everyday
Address Tetsugakunomichi Sakyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto See map


Maruyama Park

This is Kyoto's most popular public park for cherry blossom parties for mainly two reasons - it's gorgeous centerpiece, a large weeping cherry tree that gets lit up in the evenings, and the many food stands and temporarily constructed restaurants with tables under the trees that are available.
More information

Business Hours Everyday
Price FREE
Address 円山公園,473 Maruyamacho Higashiyama-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto See map
Telephone 075-561-1350


Arashiyama

Owner of a picturesque landscape, this pleasant and busy district on the western outskirts of Kyoto displays many cherry trees, which can be found by the Togetsukyo Bridge at the foot of Arashiyama mountains, especially in the riverside Nakanoshima Park.
More information

Address Sagatenryuji Tsukurimichicho, Ukyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto See map
Website http://kyoto.travel/en/planyourvisit/course/33


Heian Shrine

The large numbers of weeping cherry trees (called yaebeni shidare) standing in the garden of Heian Shrine make it one of the best spots to see weeping cherry trees in Kyoto. The trees are located behind the shrine's main building and reach the full bloom a little after the other cherry trees, so if you missed the main season by a few days, this spot is worth the try.
More information

Business Hours Everyday ( 06:00 AM ~ 05:00 PM )
Price FREE
Address Okazaki Nishitennocho, Sakyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto See map
Telephone 075-761-0221
Website http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/spot/shritemp/heianjingu.html


Osaka Castle

Holder of the title of one of Japan's most famous landmarks, this iconic castle has over 4000 cherry trees planted on it spacious ground. If you are looking for a place for a picnic, a particularly nice one is Nishinomaru Park, which is located in the castle's western citadel and have wide lawns, views of the castle tower and lights up in the evening.
More information

Business Hours Everyday ( 09:00 AM ~ 05:00 PM )
Price Adults: 600 JPY
Child: FREE
Address Osaka Castle, 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo-ku Osaka-shi, Osaka See map
Telephone 06-6941-3044
Website http://www.osakacastle.net/english/


Nara Park

Famous for the more than a 1000 deer who runs free on it, this park is also a very popular hanami spot. There are around 1700 cherry trees planted across the spacious Nara Park (which surprisingly outnumber the deer by around 500!). One of the best places in the park to make your sakura admiring picknick is the large lawn encircled by cherry trees, a short walk southeast of Todaiji's main hall.
More information

Business Hours Everyday
Price FREE
Address Nara Park, Nara, Nara Prefecture See map
Telephone 0742-27-8036
Website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nara_Park


Itsukushima (Miyajima)

Known as “the island of the gods”, Miyajima is a romantic and historic island outside of Hiroshima that famous for its shrine and "floating" torii gate. The landscape gets even more fantastic when the about 1300 cherry trees located around the Itsukushima shrine and along the island's walking trails bloom.
More information

Price FREE
Address Miyajima, Itsukushima See map
Telephone 0829-44-2011
Website http://www.miyajima.or.jp/english/index.html


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