It is that time of year when Japan is in bloom – Cherry blossom season has begun and the nation is celebrating and basking in the glory of nature. And what a spectacle it is.
Sakura is the Japanese word for Cherry Blossom. The event is of utmost importance in Japan and the sakura forecast is closely followed. The timing of the blossoming changes year to year depending on the temperature. In Tokyo the average date is March 26. In some years it has been as early as March 16 and others as late as March 31. The dates are important as the optimal viewing time is limited. Full bloom is reached around one week after the first sign of opening. A week later the blooming peak is over and the blossoms begin to fall.
But there is some room for movement as the blossom dates vary from the North to the South. This year the Osaka trees began opening on March 23 and the estimated Best Viewing is from March 31 to April 8. In Tokyo the blossoms began to open on March 21 and the best viewing is from March 30 to April 8. Further North in Sapporo, the blossoming is much later and the forecast this year is May 2 for the first opening.
Hanami is the word for cherry blossom viewing. Popular spots can get very crowded as the people come out to celebrate, walk in the parks and join friends on a picnic blanket under a tree.
Travelbay has an 11 Day tour of Japan for $3,499 including international return flights from Australia. You can read more here. Japan is great to visit year round and another spectacular season is Autumn when you can experience the beauty of the Maple trees turning a vibrant crimson red. Tour dates have not yet been released for 2017 but will be soonish. If you are interested in heading to Japan next year for Hanami, you can sign up to our newsletter via our website and we will let you know once next year's dates are available.