Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo, Japan

How to See Tokyo Covered in Cherry Blossoms

At the time I wrote this post, I’d just arrived in Japan for my very first trip, so it would’ve been foolish to declare one month better than any other for a visit. With this being said, the seven trips to Japan I’ve subsequently taken—not to mention these photos of Tokyo blanketed in sakura cherry blossoms—have led me to the conclusion that April is the best month to visit Japan.

If in deciding when to visit Japan cherry blossoms is a top consideration, that is. For other sorts of trips, visiting Japan during a different time of year might be more appropriate. In this post, however, I’m going to talk about the virtues of Japan (specifically Tokyo) during cherry blossom season.

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When is Japan’s Cherry Blossom Season?

Japan is literally painted pink and white during early April. I saw my first cherry blossom tree before my plane even touched down at Narita Airport—by the time I started my official search the next morning, I’d lost count of how many I’d seen!

Generally speaking, of course—the Japan cherry blossom forecast is never set in stone. In normal years, cherry blossoms start in late January in Okinawa, in mid-to-late March in Kyushu and make their way through Honshu throughout the month of April, finishing up in Hokkaido in May. Click here to see the blooming calendar published by the Japan National Tourism Organization, which will soon be updated to reflect the Japan cherry blossoms forecast 2018.

Where to See Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo

You can see cherry blossoms in Tokyo simply by showing up. The trick is finding the right place to see them. Many visitors to Tokyo enjoy cherry blossoms in popular parks such as Shinjuku Gyoen Park, Ueno Park and Yoyogi Park, located in iconic Harajuku near the Meiji Shrine, whose promenade is also a great place to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo.

For no particular reason, I chose to head to a place called Chidorigafuchi, on the opposite site of the Imperial Palace from Tokyo Station. I think this ended up being a good decision—I’ll let you judge based on the pictures in this post.

The season of hanami (the Japanese word for the activity of viewing cherry blossoms) is a busy period, but one reason I think it’s the best time to visit Japan is that everyone in the crowd is grinning from ear to ear—I lost track of time traipsing around Chidorigafuchi! I know I smiled long enough that it hurt, so I must’ve spent a good two to three hours there.


Cherry Blossoms Outside of Tokyo

Tokyo looks gorgeous washed in shades of pink, but it’s really just the beginning when it comes to seeing the sakura trees in bloom. Probably the most popular place to see cherry blossoms in Japan (or at least, the most talked-about) is Kyoto, the stunning historical city located to west-southwest of Tokyo or Himeji, a smaller (but just as beautiful) city near it.


Another option would be to visit the historical city of Nikko, although its altitude (and location north of Tokyo) means that sakura bloom there later than in Tokyo-proper.


In early 2017 I saw cherry blossoms in Kyushu—or at least I tried to. Kyushu cherry blossoms were about two weeks late that year, however, which meant that although I arrived in late March in line with normal forecasts, the stars simply didn’t align for me. As it turns out, my first trip to Japan had been extremely lucky—and not all Japan cherry blossom trips are!

The Bottom Line

While I can’t definitively say that April is the best month to visit Japan, it’s certainly the time when you’re likeliest to see sakura cherry blossoms. Maximize your chances by familiarizing yourself with blooming patterns from years past, by spending at least a few weeks in Japan and by being flexible—if you hear sakura have reached full bloom in Osaka, for example, you should make a beeline for the city. If these Japan cherry blossoms images don’t inspire you to see sakura in Japan, I don’t know what will!

Leave Your Daily Hell   Filed under: Japan

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is the author of 847 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Leah Travels April 3, 2014 at 10:07 am

Oh, Robert! These are beautiful. The only thing that rivals the flowers are your blue eyes. 🙂

Robert Schrader April 4, 2014 at 7:45 am


Jen @ The Trusted Traveller April 4, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Amazing shots Robert. You have definitely picked the best time to visit. I was in Tokyo in autumn and the area around Chidorigafuchi was beautiful then but it looks even more beautiful now!

Robert Schrader April 6, 2014 at 12:43 am

Yeah, it’s difficult, because although I think this is probably the objective “best” time to visit, I long to see Japan in the autumn, with crazy fall colors, and winter with the snow – especially Hokkaido!

John Emmanuel Cruz April 10, 2014 at 7:06 pm

I had this cherry blossom experience in Korea but with your photos, I am now looking forward to visit Japan! Thanks for the heads up on when is the best time to go.

Robert Schrader April 11, 2014 at 7:13 am

They have cherry blossoms in Korea?! I guess I’ll be scheduling my first trip to Korea around this time of year, too!

Shahrsad Dortadj September 23, 2014 at 5:38 pm

your photos are amazing!!! ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Robert Schrader September 24, 2014 at 6:32 am

Thank you! Tokyo is amazing <3

Arthur H March 11, 2016 at 5:52 pm

Looks amazing! I’m heading there for a weekend in early April. Wish I was there longer, but could only manage a long weekend from DC.

Robert Schrader March 14, 2016 at 6:46 am

Well, you’ll at least be able to see cherry blossoms in two separate locations!

whatwaytoday March 30, 2016 at 5:49 pm

Brilliant photos. But where are your Japanese selfie Sakura poses?? ???? We couldn’t resist!

Robert Schrader April 3, 2016 at 5:58 pm

I wasn’t as adept a selfie taker at that time as I am now. I plan to return for sakura 2017 though. Stay tuned!

Trystan August 30, 2016 at 11:15 pm

Awesome pictures! Spring is definitely the best season to visit Japan, but it is very crowded as well. We recommend also Autumn for the beautiful colors of Japanese landscapes and nature. if your readers want to know the best time to visit Japan, we did a complete guide here Hope it could help 🙂

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