Cherry Blossoms In Japan 2018 Forecast – Where & When To See Them

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Hanami—the act of cherry blossom viewing—is an extremely popular activity in Japan that both locals and tourists enjoy during cherry blossom season every year. For a short week or two every year, sakura trees blossom and Japan is transformed into a visually arresting sea of pink.

Cherry blossoms usually come hand in hand with the beautiful historical sites of Japan. You can enjoy hanami at historical sites such as shrines and memorials or in one of Japan’s many parks. Take a stroll in the parks, or have a picnic under one of the many sakura trees; spring in Japan is an extremely wonderful time.

It is worth the travel to Japan just to experience this annual event. Today, we share the Cherry Blossom Forecast for 2018 and where you can view them at 10 of the most popular cities and spots in Japan.

Fukuoka

Image: See Japan

#1 FUKUOKA

Fukuoka is one of Japan’s most populated cities and a popular tourist destination in Japan. Fukuoka sits on one of the most scenic islands of Japan, Kyushu. Every year, Hanami greets Fukuoka with beautiful pink blossoms.

Best places in Fukuoka to view cherry blossoms:
1. Fukuoka Castle | Maizuru Park – Over a thousand trees line the ruins of Fukuokoa castle. This is the ideal place to go for a romantic stroll while viewing these gorgeous blossoms.
2. Uminonakamichi Seaside Park – An estimated two thousand cherry blossom trees are planted at the Uminonakamichi Seaside Park.
3. Atago Shrine – Hanami with a view. The shrine sits atop a hill overlooking Hakata Bay.

Optimal viewing period: 01 April 1 to 07 April 2018
Approximate blooming start date: 25 March 2018

Fukushima

Image: Japan Info

#2 FUKUSHIMA

Fukushima might not be the top destination choice for travellers when they visit Japan but Fukushima is more stunning than you know. Hot springs, volcanic landscapes, and hiking trails are aplenty.

Best places in Fukushima to view cherry blossoms:
1. Hanamiyama Park – There is probably only one spot in Fukushima worth visiting during cherry blossom and it is Hanamiyama Park. Rated as one of the best Hanami destinations in Japan, be greeted by a stunning display of trees with different hues of pale and dark pinks.

Optimal viewing period: 08 April to 14 April 2018
Approximate blooming start date: 06 April 2018

Hokkaido

Image: Japan Specialist

#3 HOKKAIDO

As one of Japan’s most popular islands, Hokkaido sits on the north with a cooler climate. Hokkaido is famed for the ski resorts, onsen and exceptionally fresh seafood.

Best places in Hokkaido to view cherry blossoms:
1. Maruyama Park | Hokkaido Shrine – The park is filled with endless cherry blossom trees. However, the path towards the Hokkaido Shrine in the park is probably the most scenic spot for photography and hanami for many trees line the walkway.
2. Moerenuma Park – This is not just any other park. Moerenuma Park was designed by the artist Isamu Noguchi and it is a masterpiece in its own rights. Cherry blossom trees bloom all around the park.

Optimal viewing period: 29 April to 04 May 2018
Approximate blooming start date: 27 April 2018

Hiroshima

Image: Japan Guide

#4 HIROSHIMA

After the events of World War II, Hiroshima has definitely picked itself up and got back on track. Now, Hiroshima is one of the most-visited cities in all of Japan.

Best places in Hiroshima to view cherry blossoms:
1. Hiroshima Peace Park – Built in memoriam of those who passed on during the atomic bombing in the war, Hiroshima Peace Park is probably the most visited park in the prefecture. Cherry blossom trees are aplenty and they are scattered all around the park.
2. Hiroshima Castle – Japan is known for their historical castles. The castles are at their most beautiful during Hanami as the cherry blossom trees surround it.

Optimal viewing period: 04 April to 10 April 2018
Approximate blooming start date: 27 March 2018

Kanazawa

Image: Japan Guide

#5 KANAZAWA

Kanazawa is the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture. It sits on Japan’s central Honshu Island. Kanazawa is best known for their arts and heritage with many art museums and regional handicrafts all around.

Best places in Kanazawa to view cherry blossoms:
1. Kenrokuen Garden – This garden is a must-visit spot if you are ever in Kanazawa. This landscape garden is popular with both tourists and locals due to the abundance of sakura trees.
2. Kanazawa Castle – When in Kanazawa, you have to see the amazing Kanazawa Castle. During cherry blossom season, the area “springs” to life.

Optimal viewing period: 08 April to 14 April 2018
Approximate blooming start date: 05 April 2018

Kobe

Image: Japan Info Swap

#6 KOBE

Kobe beef is the world’s most highly-coveted beef and it hails from the Kobe region. Kobe sits on Osaka Bay and the city is the origin of one of the most ridiculously marbled beef that melts in your mouth. Besides the food, Kobe has scenic mountains that make for great photography opportunities, especially in Spring.

Best places in Kobe to view cherry blossoms:
1. Egeyama Park – With a view of the Kobe skyline, Egeyama Park is the perfect spot to have a picnic with your friends and family during the cherry blossom season.
2. Gokoku Shrine – The shrines are constructed in honour of war heroes, hence the area surrounding the shrine is very tranquil and relaxing as many head there for some peace and self-reflection. Sakura in full bloom at the shrine is a sight you do not want to miss.

Optimal viewing period: 07 April 7 to 13 April 2018
Approximate blooming start date: 01 April 2018

Kyoto

Image: TrekEarth

#7 KYOTO

Kyoto was once the capital of Japan and is still one of the most visited cities in Japan for it is home to an abundance of classical Buddhist temples, imperial palaces, and gardens.

Best places in Kyoto to view cherry blossoms:
1. Philosopher’s Path – This is one of the best and top-rated hanami spots in all of Japan. Hundreds of trees line the path that connects Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) with the vicinity of Nanzenji.
2. Maruyama Park – This is the most popular park in Kyoto for hanami. The park sits next to the Yasaka Shrine and it is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to enjoy the blossoming of sakura.

Optimal viewing period: 05 April to 11 April 2018
Approximate blooming start date: 31 March 2018

Nara

Image: Good Luck Trip Japan

#8 NARA

When you think of Nara, you think of the adorable free-roaming deer in Nara Park and many historical sites. Nara was Japan’s capital in the 8th century, hence it is home to rich culture and history.

Best places in Nara to view cherry blossoms:
1. Nara Park – Of course, you have to visit the popular Nara Park. Almost two thousand trees are planted inside the park while approximately a thousand deer roam. It is a sight to behold, especially in Spring.
2. Koriyama Castle Ruins – Since Nara is known for their rich history, you must visit the Koriyama Castle Ruins too.

Optimal viewing period: 06 April to 12 April 2018
Approximate blooming start date: 03 April 2018

Osaka

Image: FAST JAPAN

#9 OSAKA

Osaka brims with life and is well-known for their amazing street food, culture and most importantly, scenic locations.

Best places in Osaka to view cherry blossoms:
1. Kema Sakuranomiya Park – Only here will you find five thousand cherry blossom trees scattered around. Yes, FIVE THOUSAND! It is truly a sight to behold as there is double, if not triple the number of sakura trees than any other destination in Japan!
2. Osaka Castle – The Osaka Castle is synonymous with the city’s branding. Cherry blossom trees are scattered all around the park and the sheer beauty of pinks and whites against the magnificent castle is something you have to see to believe.

Optimal viewing period: 05 April to 11 April 2018
Approximate blooming start date: 01 April 2018

Cherry Blossom Tokyo Park

#10 TOKYO

As the capital city of Japan, Tokyo is a fast-paced city that is the perfect balance of modern and traditional. There is so much to do in Tokyo, and hanami is one of them during Spring. Our first experience with hanami was in Tokyo and the beautiful sights will forever be etched in our memories.

Cherry Blossom Boat Ride

Best places in Tokyo to view cherry blossoms:
1. Shinjuku Gyoen – Arguably the best park in Tokyo for hanami, Shinjuku Gyoen should be on everyone’s itinerary. The huge park is filled with trees of pink and white cherry blossoms and locals enjoy a good picnic under the many cherry blossom trees.
2. Ueno Park – Ueno Park is bustling with life during Spring for it is another great spot in Tokyo for hanami. Over a thousand trees line the park and people hold “hanami parties” to celebrate this annual occasion.
3. Chidorigafushi – This is our favourite part of Tokyo during the cherry blossom season. Rent a boat and row down the river with sakura trees lining both sides. There is also a long pedestrian path with thousands of sakura trees. In other words, plenty of photo opportunities and surreal moments!

Optimal viewing period: 29 March to 04 April 2018
Approximate blooming start date: 21 March 2018

Note: The above dates are an approximation based on the past five years’ cherry blossoms periods. It is hard to predict the exact days as weather forecasts are ever-changing. It is, however, important to book your air tickets and accommodation months in advance to avoid exorbitant peak period prices and to secure your necessary rooms and hotel stays.

Read: 8 Sakura Foods You Must Try During The Cherry Blossoms Period