Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan’s Four Regions

For the Japanese, spring doesn’t just mean the end of winter; it symbolises the beginning of life for the year to come, a belief reflected in the commencement of both the academic and financial year on 1 April.

Besides the warmer weather, the most remarkable sign of spring is the blooming of ‘sakura’ or cherry blossoms, which can be seen from the southern island of Kyushu to the northern islands of Honshu and Hokkaido. Lasting no longer than two weeks, the sakura blooming is so highly appreciated by the Japanese that ‘Hanami’ - cherry blossom viewing parties–are a long standing tradition of this eagerly awaited event in the Japanese calendar.

There are hundreds of excellent spots for enjoying cherry blossoms, both in the cities and in the surrounding countryside, either during the day or later in the cool evening. Some of the best spots in Japan’s four regions are described here for you to enjoy.  

Fukuoka

Cherry blossoms period: 25 March to 10 April 2017

Fukuoka is Kyushu’s economic and cultural centre, but it is mainly for its green areas and fascinating natural attractions that it is considered to be one of the most livable cities. The best spots to view the cherry blossoms in Fukuoka include Maizuru Park, a public park with some 1,000 sakura trees set among the 400-year-old Fukuoka Castle ruins, Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, which has more than 2,000 sakura trees and also bike rentals and cycle paths, Nishi Park, one of the 100 best sakura viewing spots, and the entrance to Atago Shrine, which is located uphill and offers a stunning view over Fukuoka city.


Tokyo

Cherry blossoms period: 26 March to 11 April 2017

In addition to shopping, dining and visiting the capital city’s landmarks, tourists will be as delighted by the annual cherry blossom viewing as by observing the Japanese enjoying Hanami themselves. No matter how hasty or stressed the Japanese seem to be, during Hanami, we see only smiling faces in the parks. The best spots are Shinjuku Gyoen, Ueno Park, Yoyogi Park, Sumida Park, and Meguro River, which is illuminated for the nighttime sakura viewing.


Osaka

Cherry blossoms period: 29 March to 12 April 2017

No other Japanese city is like Osaka, the second largest metropolitan area. Referred to as Tenka no Daidokoro or the Nation’s Kitchen, Osaka’s streets are lined with restaurants and entertainment. However, amid all the hustle and bustle, there are quite a few tranquil spots for cherry blossom viewing. At Osaka Castle over 4,000 cherry trees have been planted in the spacious grounds; in Kema Sakuranomiya Park nearly 5,000 cherry trees line Okawa River, and at Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park, which served as the site of a flower show in 1990, numerous picnic spots are perfect for Hanami gatherings.


Kyoto

Cherry blossoms period: 29 March to 12 April 2017

If you have to choose only one Japanese city to visit, it must be Kyoto, the former capital and the cradle of Japanese culture and tradition. It offers numerous cultural attractions, 17 of which are world heritage sites. Throughout the city are cherry trees which grace the courtyards and gardens of 1,600 Kyoto temples, making this ancient city one of the best spots for cherry blossom viewing.

Unmissable places include Maruyama Park, Kyoto’s most popular public park for cherry blossom parties, Tetsugaku No Michi (Philosopher’s Path), a pleasant walkway besides a canal which is lined by hundreds of cherry trees, Imperial Palace Park, and Shirakawa Street in Gion, an entertainment district that has kept the character and charm of Kyoto’s past.


Hokkaido

Cherry blossoms period: 29 April to 12 May 2017

The northern most region, Hokkaido has the longest and coldest winter period in Japan and of course is the last to warm up. Because of this, the cherries blossom much later than elsewhere in Japan, making Hokkaido the last resort for those who have missed cherry blossom viewing in other places. Hakodate’s Goryokaku, a star-shaped fort whose grounds are filled with spots for Hanami, is one of Hokkaido’s best. Equally stunning is Matsumae Castle, the only castle in Hokkaido,which is surrounded by hundreds of cherry trees.


Enjoy the picturesque sights of Japan’s cherry blossoms with THAI flights between Bangkok and Fukuoka, Tokyo, Osaka, and  Sapporo. Book now at thaiairways.com

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