Top 5: Places to See the Japanese Cherry BlossomBy Alicia Grimshaw
Think of Japan and one image springs to mind – its famous sakura, or to you and I, cherry blossom. For one month each spring, Instagram is overcome with a sea of pink hues and #cherryblossom posts, firmly placing Japan on everyone’s bucket lists.
The Japanese love this flower and hold the annual Cherry Blossom Festival – also known as Hanami – across the whole country to celebrate spring, new life and nature.
Now it’s all well and good viewing these flowering beauties on social media, but what if you want to experience it for real? You need to know the best places to head to. Here;s our pick of the top locations to witness this floral fancy:
1. For Lake Side Views: Lake Kawaguchi
The Lowdown: Nothing says Japan more than cherry blossom and Mt. Fuji, so combine the two on a visit to UNESCO World Heritage Listed Lake Kawaguchi, located within the picturesque Fuji Five Lakes area. Could there be a better backdrop? We think not. To witness the cherry blossom from a whole new perspective take to the water on a cruise and gaze in awe at the stunning views across the southern side of the lake towards the iconic peak.
2. For Historical Buildings: Nara Park
The Lowdown: Nara has one of the oldest parks in Japan and is famous for its 1,200 deer that have become a symbol of the city and even designated a natural treasure. From the park you can look across to the surrounding temples and castles which are flanked by blossom at this time of the year. For a perfect lunch break, take a picnic and watch the world go by whilst sitting beneath the trees. Pure bliss.
3. For a Cityscape: Tokyo
The Lowdown: The quiet neighbourhood of Nakameguro in south Tokyo draws people from across the city, who come for its laid-back European atmosphere, quirky cafes and fashion boutiques which line a picturesque canal, fringed by cherry blossom. Aside from the great photo opportunity, you may also bag a retro outfit or vintage book.
4. For Modern Architecture: Osaka
The Lowdown: Cherry blossom frames the picture-perfect view of 16th century Osaka Castle, located in Japan’s second largest city which is buzzing with nightlife, brilliant street food and modern architecture. Surrounded by a moat and a park with plum, peach and cherry blossom trees, this ancient castle is not to be missed.
5. For World Heritage Sites: Kyoto
The Lowdown: Kyoto features a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, imperial palaces and Buddhist temples, which offer a stunning backdrop for the cherry blossom trees. Be sure to check out the idyllic cherry blossom viewing points of Nijo Castle and the Kinkakuji Temple.
If you have been inspired to visit Japan for its cherry blossom, check out RT Holidays’ Japan tours with departure dates coinciding with the cherry blossom period. Prices start from £1,799 and include return flights from London Heathrow, accommodation, an English speaking guide, excursions and meals.