10 Tips for Chasing Cherry Blossom Season in Japan

Cherry blossom season in Japan is a magical time to visit, and luckily for travelers, months of sakura can be chased across the country. That’s right, the influx of tourists arriving in Tokyo and Kyoto in April and May isn’t necessarily a problem for travelers looking for a more authentic experience in Japan. Here are 10 tips to help you chase cherry blossom season across the country and enjoy it for months on end.

10 start from the south

Visitors looking to make the most of Japan’s cherry blossom season can start on the southern island of Kyushu and travel north from there. Cherry blossoms in Kyushu begin to bloom as early as late March, allowing early spring visitors to experience cherry blossom season without the tourists arriving in Kyoto in April.

9 Buy Japan Rail Pass

For international visitors, Japan offers the option to purchase a Japan Rail Pass to travel around Japan. The JR Pass is a great deal, helping travelers save money on high-speed trains by paying a flat fee for a pass valid for 7, 14 or 21 days.

Passes must be applied for and purchased in the traveler’s country prior to departure. They then pick up the pass at a JR station upon arrival and activate it.

Related: 10 Vacation-Worthy National Parks in Japan

8 Plan your arrival date accordingly

Travelers should choose their arrival date carefully based on where in the country they plan to begin their sightseeing trip. Tourists who just want to see cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Tokyo and Osaka won’t want to arrive earlier than April to see the blooms in full bloom. However, visitors flying into Fukuoka and staying in Kyushu may miss the cherry blossom season entirely if they arrive too late. For those heading north to Hokkaido, planning to arrive in May still means seeing the best blooms.

7 Give yourself at least 2 weeks (but preferably more)

It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore Japan during the cherry blossom season and follow the cherry blossoms blooming all over the country. To avoid rushing, travelers looking to see cherry blossoms in multiple parts of the country should plan a trip for at least two weeks, but preferably longer. From Fukuoka, it’s easy to spend at least 5-7 days exploring Kyushu before venturing north to the main island of Honshu.

Once there, travelers can easily spend 10 to 14 days exploring the Kansai region of Japan and Tokyo. Travelers will need at least another week to visit other parts of the country, such as Nagano in the Japan Alps, historic Takayama or Hokkaido in the north.

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6 Book accommodation in advance

Cherry blossom season is the peak time of year to visit Japan, which means tourism is booming and accommodation is a hot commodity. So it’s no surprise that many hotels book 12-18 months in advance. This is especially true in popular destinations such as Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo. To avoid having nowhere to sleep or paying outrageous last-minute prices, travelers should book accommodation as far in advance as possible.

5 stay away from the crowds away from the north or south

Visitors who don’t want to attract huge crowds when the Japanese cherry blossoms are in bloom in April and May should stay off the beaten track. Instead of focusing on your trip to Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo, try chasing cherry blossoms in southern Kyushu or Hokkaido in March or May.

4 Check the cherry blossom forecast before visiting

Japan has an official cherry blossom forecast every year, giving travelers useful information on how to best see the blooms. The forecast includes details such as the date the flowers will start blooming and when they will be in full bloom for each major city to help tourists plan their trips accordingly. Be sure to check this out before heading out!

3 Biggest Cherry Blossom Festival in Tokyo

The best way to experience the full effects of cherry blossom season in Japan is to attend one of the country’s many cherry blossom festivals. The Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the largest cherry blossom festivals in Japan, held in Tokyo.Festival site, guest participation Hanamiwhich means viewing flowers. Hanami Provides an opportunity to reflect on the value of nature.

The festival is held at Toyko’s Ueno Park and admission is free. The 2023 festival opens on March 17 and runs until early April.

Related: Best Things to Do in Osaka, Japan: The Ultimate 3-Day Osaka Itinerary

2 If visiting in winter, go to Okinawa for cherry blossom viewing

Visitors can see cherry blossoms on the island of Okinawa as early as January. This means that even if you visit Japan in winter, you have the opportunity to experience the cherry blossom season. Okinawa, an island off the coast of mainland Japan, is sometimes referred to as the “Hawaii of Japan” for its lush greenery and subtropical climate.

1 Packing jacket

Unless travelers are heading to Okinawa, cherry blossom season in Japan still requires a jacket to stay comfortable. While pictures of sunshine and pink flowers online may look warm, Kyoto’s average daytime highs in March and April are only 14ºC, while highs can reach as high as 20ºC and daily average minimums are around 8ºC.

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