There’s nothing more cheerful than seeing a cherry blossom tree in all its glory to herald the beginning of spring. When cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the deep purple petals lighten to either a baby pink or off-white. Seeing the blossoms blow off the branches from a breeze or gust of wind is a beautiful sight; the swirling dance as they gently fall to the ground can be mesmerizing. What makes cherry blossoms even more special is their transient nature. They grace us with their presence for a mere one to two weeks per year and always leave us yearning for more.
Japan elevates the beauty of cherry blossoms to an art form and associates them with human life and nobility. In fact, cherry blossom trees are so adored in Japan that many people host “flower-watching” parties called hanami each spring to make the most of these marvels. The most well-known species of cherry blossom tree is the Japanese cherry tree, also known as the sakura.
When Is Cherry Blossom Season?
Even though it’s almost impossible to accurately forecast cherry blossom season much more than 10 days before peak bloom, according to the U.S. National Parks Service, the fascinating florals typically make an appearance around March to April across the world. In Japan, they come out in full force in late April to early May. In Canada, they can even make an appearance as late as early to mid-May. Mother Nature may not have the exact dates down to a science, but cherry blossoms in spring will always be a thing.
Where Can You Attend Cherry Blossom Festivals?
Although Japan certainly takes the cake for having the most cherry blossom festivals in the world, many other countries have also caught wind of the celebration. Korea, China, Sweden, and the United States have adopted the tradition and looked to Japan as a model. Japan has even gifted sakura to other countries!
Read on for a country-by-country guide to some of the most captivating cherry blossom festivals to partake in around the globe.
As mentioned, cherry blossoms in Japan take center stage. In most major cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, the cherry blossom season peaks in late March or early April. There are a number of cherry blossom festivals in Japan that tend to fall between late March to mid-April. The best places to see cherry blossoms in Japan are typically in already-picturesque settings: by riversides, mountainsides, business districts, or in temples and shrines.
In Tokyo, you can experience a host of cherry blossoms in Sumida Park, Ueno Park, Rikugien Garden, and Meguro River, to name a few. In Hiroshima, Peace Memorial Park — located in the heart of the city — has 300 sakura blossoms planted around the park, in a kind of cherry blossom forest, particularly along the river. The tranquil park is one of the best places to see a multitude of cherry blossoms in all their decadence.
Kyoto takes their celebration of the cherry blossom to the next level. In the district of Arashiyama, on the outskirts of Kyoto, you can marvel at cherry blossoms set against a backdrop of mountains, bridges, and ponds. The trees are illuminated until 10:00 p.m. and you’ll feel like you’re in paradise.
Here are some of the 2023 cherry blossom forecasts by city in Japan:
When do cherry blossoms bloom in South Korea? They tend to sprout up in the middle of March into the earlier part of April. Cherry blossoms in South Korea begin to bloom in the south of the country — on Jeju Island — first and then gradually go up towards Seoul by the start of April.
The best viewing locales for festivals include the Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival, where the anticipated blooming season will run from March 23 to 30. There’s also the Jinhae Gunhangje Cherry Blossom Festival near Busan. Last, but definitely not least, Seokchonhosu Lake Cherry Blossom Festival is your best bet to see cherry blossoms in Seoul — they’re stunning, to say the least.
Here are some of the cherry blossom forecasts by city in Korea:
When it comes to cherry blossoms in the USA, the capital city takes the cake. Washington, D.C. is the best place for cherry blossoms, thanks to the National Cherry Blossom Festival. This festival commemorates the gift of Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C. on March 27, 1912 — given by Ozaki to enhance the growing friendship between the two countries. This year, the festival is happening from March 20 to April 16, so that’s a few weeks of floral fun!
On average, the capital’s cherry blossoms tend to bloom around the last week of March and into the first week of April. This can vary depending on the weather, so it could be a bit before or after this time frame.
For cherry blossom festivals across the United States, there’s also the Macon, Georgia International Cherry Blossom Festival which runs from March 17 to 26, and the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival is on April 15.
Cherry blossoms in Canada can be seen in late April and early May, so sauntering through any cherry-blossom-filled city during the warmer days of spring will feel especially serene.
Sakura trees in Canada are strewn all over the country and there are many cherry blossom festivals during the spring. One Canadian city that has a particularly special connection to them is Vancouver. Almost a century ago, in the 1930s, hundreds of cherry blossom trees were gifted to the city as an appreciation to the Japanese Canadians who served in the First World War. Presently, the numerous species of cherry blossoms serve as a reminder of that gift. Vancouver boasts more than 40,000 cherry blossom trees strewn throughout the city. In 2023 the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is slated to run between April 1 to 3.
If you plan to be in the prairie provinces, then cherry blossom trees in Edmonton are abundant. Prime viewing locations include River Valley, Fairmont Mac Courtyard, the French Quarter, and the Victoria Promenade. The Alberta Legislature Grounds are also an option.
In Quebec, Montreal’s Botanical Garden also comes alive with sakura trees in the spring. You can also add Westmount Park and Parc Jean Drapeau to the list. Meanwhile, in Toronto, High Park lays claim to a coveted number of sakura trees, as does Centre Island and Woodbine Park. For more information, the Toronto Bloom Cam has a cherry blossom forecast by city.
In Germany, cherry blossom trees are at their best during the first two weeks of April, and a number of cities have spectacular blooms in the spring. If you’re looking for cherry blossoms in Berlin, then we recommend Kirschblutenweg near Bornholmer Strasse. The name Kirschblutenweg literally means “cherry blossom road” in German, and it’s the most popular site in the city to surround yourself with cherry blossoms. The cherry blossom trees were actually planted where the Berlin Wall once stood.
The city of Bonn — also known as the birthplace of Beethoven — has a breathtaking display of cherry blossom trees. There’s even a street called Cherry Blossom Avenue in the city! The blooms tend to reach their peak during the first couple of weeks in April. This romantic city has a lot of Roman influence, and the bonus of cherry blossoms adds to the architecture. Music to our ears.
You also won’t want to miss this year’s 55th Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival in Hamburg, which will be held in early May. Fun fact: Osaka in Japan is one of Hamburg’s nine sister cities. The long-standing relationship between the two cities started in the 1960s and with it came the gorgeous gift of 5,000 cherry trees, donated by the Japanese community. You can see the trees planted along Hamburg’s Alster lakes as well as in the Altonaer Balkon Park.
The most bedazzling cherry blossoms in Munich are in Olympiapark. Here, you’ll see an ample assortment of gorgeous pink blossoms in full bloom strewn luxuriously around the park.
In Sweden, cherry blossom trees begin blooming in late March and continue on until late April. Like Japan, cherry blossoms in Stockholm are especially revered. The city even has an official Cherry Blossom Day: mark your calendars for April 28.
Regarding festivals, the best place to see cherry blossoms is at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Kungsträdgården. It is considered one of the most gorgeous spots — and for good reason: every spring, more than 50 cherry blossom trees burst onto the city scene. To say they’re beautiful is an understatement.
Paris in the spring is a sight that needs to be seen. Part of the City of Love’s stunning scenery during this season comes from the Paris cherry blossom trees that begin to bloom in France from late March all the way to mid-April.
Imagine gazing at an assortment of cherry blossoms from the vantage point of the Eiffel Tower. You can also take them in at most of the large parks and gardens scattered around the city, such as the Jardin des Tuileries or the Jardin des Plantes. You might even spot cherry blossoms in surprising places such as the Saint-Paul Metro station.
Plan Your Cherry Blossom Getaway
Spring cherry blossoms are one of the most beautiful treasures of the season. Visit VacationRenter so that you can take in cherry blossom visions in a whole new setting. The alluring aromatic scent of these cherry bouquets is reason enough.
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