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When is the best time to see cherry blossoms in Japan?

I know you are looking for a quick easy answer to ”When is the best time to see cherry blossom in Japan?’

Well, it isn’t quite that simple, and that is probably why you are asking it. However, read on for the cherry blossom forecast for Japan

Peak Cherry Blossom time:-

  • End March – mid April – visit Honshu
  • Early January – early February – visit Okinawa
  • Late April – May – visit Hokkaido

Consider these 4 points to choose the best time to see cherry blossom blooms and a helpful map too

  1. The latitude – generally, the more north you go in Japan the later in the year the cherry trees bloom (So Hokkaido is last)
  2. The altitude – again the higher you are the later in the year the trees bloom (E.g. on Honshu think Matsumoto #10)
  3. The species of tree – there are many species of cherry tree and one species can be in flower while right next door another is just in bud. (Not far from Hakone #4 is Izu, there the Kawazu cherry trees even bloom in mid-February!)
  4. The inclement weather – A warmer year will bring on the blooms earlier.
Cherry Blossom forecast Map

Beware the traps.

The cherry blossom forecast map above gives you a rough starting point. Remember we are dealing with nature, but all things being equal, you should see the cherry blossoms between the dates indicated at the locations on the map. However, we often hear about two people in the ‘same’ place at the same time and one saw the magnificent cherry blossom and the other saw nothing. How come?

Let’s imagine you are in Kyoto for example. The demographics and tree species are such that just a few kilometres apart some cherry trees are in full bloom yet others are just in bud. This means that you could see the stunningly beautiful cherry blossom, meantime also in Kyoto at the same time another person does not get that privilege! We suggest you are flexible about where you go, so you can see the best blooms.

How to best manage the Cherry Blossom season

At Journey to the East, we have developed a variety of cherry blossom tours that start at various times. Their itineraries go to different places to take account of the four key factors mentioned above, basically ‘playing’ one factor against the other.  In addition to this basic pre-planning, our small tour groups enable us to add a degree of flexibility into our tours so we can make choices on the day. In other words, we suggest you be prepared to change your plan on the day.

Be sure to see All three phases of the Cherry Blossom bloom

The three phase of the cherry blossom each offer a distinctly different emotion. The cherry trees covered in their buds creates a wonderful feeling of great anticipation for the burst of colour to come; The sheer splendor and delicate color of the cherry blossom in full bloom creates the feeling of inspiration and the awe of nature; Last but not least, is the fall of the cherry blossom petals, as they ride on the wind, giving the feeling of fulfillment and in a whimsical way portrays just how fleeting the cherry blossom season is.

We offer a choice of tours in Japan at Cherry blossom time. Please take time to brows them.