Japan’s Cherry Blossom season is a short and beautiful vision. The season is steadily approaching in the northern region of Hokkaido with the best time to view them in ‘full bloom’ at the beginning of May considered the best time to see them.
And when the blossoms fall from the trees they create a stunning petal storms and a photographer’s dream.
Here’s a few helpful hints to get you on your way:
- The season if very fleeting, with trees reaching mankai (full bloom) roughly one week after kaika (when the first blossoms open). Whether you’re planning a trip or are already there, check japan-guide.com for the latest info on predicted blooming times to ensure you don’t miss it! The exact date for each region differs from year to year according to the weather and is closely monitored by media as the full ‘cherry blossom front’ moves slowly northward.
- During hanami season, Japan goes cherry blossom mad. Not only are there blossom-themed events and festivals up and down the country, but even products in the supermarkets reflect the fleeting season. Be sure to try the limited edition sakura-flavoured foods and drinks during your stay – a true cultural treat.
- Read up on the history to tap into the true cultural significance of this annual event. In ancient Japan, the cherry blossom announced rice-planting season and was used to forecast the year’s harvest. It has also been celebrated as a metaphor for life itself and is believed to have begun during the Nara Period (710-794).
- Be sure to get out and about to enjoy hanami at different times of day. Alongside blue skies you can view the sakura at dusk, set against hanging street lanterns creating a glowing pink canopy.
- Consider sticking around after blooming. After around a week, the sakura will fall from the trees creating stunning petal storms – a great photo opp for budding photographers.
- If you are looking to travel outside of peak season yet still enjoy the blooms, consider visiting Okinawa in the south, where the cherry blossoms open as early as January, or try the northern island of Hokkaido where they bloom as late as May.