Guide to Spring in Japan

Cherry blossoms and other alternatives

Early spring in Japan is synonymous with cherry blossoms . Every year, a pink wave sweeps over the archipelago and, for a time, the Japanese live and breathe sakura. But, in parallel with the phenomenon and from February, other flowers adorn the landscapes with shimmering colors and attract crowds.

Discover with us the cherry blossom and its alternatives , we guide you in the Japanese tradition of Hanami .



Sakura: Japanese cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms or sakura?

We often hear about the cherry blossom season as the best time to travel to Japan.

The petals of the Japanese cherry blossoms, whose shape is reminiscent of a heart, have the palest pink, almost white color. From the end of March to mid-April, they cover the archipelago with pinkish clouds. Their flowering, short and magnificent, symbolizes the ephemeral side of life, a notion deeply rooted in Japanese culture. Called sakura in Japanese, these flowers have become, over the centuries, one of the strongest symbols of the archipelago.

Turn over your 100 yen coins, they are there!

Hanami? What is that ?

Hanami is a Japanese tradition celebrating the end of winter and the arrival of fine weather on the archipelago. This Hanami tradition comes from a Shinto belief that the spirits of the gods come every year to inhabit these little pink flowers. Since then, the tradition of bringing offerings at the feet of the cherry trees has turned into a real national holiday.

The Hanami tradition has now become the symbol of the arrival of spring on the archipelago and leads to a festive atmosphere throughout the archipelago! The moment the pink buds begin to open, the Japanese grab their picnic blankets and rush to the park to take pictures, drink sake and have fun with colleagues, friends or family.

Where to do Hanami in Tokyo? Where to take the most beautiful photos of cherry blossoms?

  • Ueno Park

Ueno is the place to go to do Hanami. From dawn until midnight, the park is always full. At Sakura time, a festive and convivial atmosphere reigns in the capital.

Le parc de Ueno sous les cerisiers en fleurs

© Yasufumi Nishi

  • The Sumida River

To flee for a while from the crowd that presses under the trees, nothing better than to jump into the water. Take a boat on the Sumida River and get a closer look at the petal-heavy branches brushing the water.

La rivière Sumida bordée de cerisiers en fleurs à Tokyo

yasufumi Nishi

When do Japanese cherry trees bloom?

The flowering of cherry trees extends from March to May on the archipelago. But be warned, cherry blossoms vary each year and fall victim to the vagaries of the weather. A cold spell, hot spell or downpour can affect the flowering period, from the moment the flowers open to their lifespan.

So chase the sakura while traveling in the archipelago! Japan stretching over 3,000 km from north to south, the flowering will not be at the same time in Hokkaido and Kyushu. It is then possible to admire the cherry blossoms from early March to May.

The sakura are then only a flight or a train journey away from you.

Cherry blossoms are expected this year in the Tokyo area for late March/early April. But remember to regularly check the official weather forecast to follow the flowering of sakura in 2019.

Go Sakura hunting and consider JRP for more flexibility and freedom



Spring flowers in Japan - from plum trees to hydrangeas

Hanami is not just synonymous with cherry blossoms. The word is constructed from the characters Hana , meaning flower, and Mi , meaning to see/look. We can therefore practice hanami with all types of flowers ! And the ever-popular sakura are n't the only flowers to bloom with the arrival of spring.

Ideal if you miss their blooms or if you want to escape the crowds, we invite you to admire these other flowers, which are no less magnificent.


Calendrier de floraisons des fleurs de printemps au Japon

What are the spring flowers in Japan? When and where to go see them?

  • plum trees

The first flowers announcing the coming of spring are those of the plum tree ! Plum trees bloom in a variety of different colors, often bright, and fill the air with a delicious fragrance.

At Kairaku-en Japanese Garden in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, 100 varieties of more than 3,000 plum trees bloom in an enchanting spectacle.

Where to see plum blossoms in Tokyo?

  • tulips

Coming from the good relationship the Netherlands and Japan have had for hundreds of years, tulips are found in their thousands from north to south of the country and bloom in a rainbow of colours.

Tonami Tulip Park in Toyama Prefecture, with its two million tulips of 600 different species, is Japan's most famous place to observe them.

Where to see tulips in Japan?

  • Shibazakura

Also called “lawn cherry trees”, these are small flowers growing at ground level and adorning the landscape with a sublime coat of shades of pink, ranging from the palest, almost white, to the most vivid!

Head to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival, where 800,000 of these creepers flourish with Mount Fuji in the background .

Where to go to see shibazakura in Japan?

  • Wisteria

Also called “Flower of Fuji”, the wisteria is a flower tree very appreciated in Japan for its large clusters of flowers of a soft pastel color.

Head to Ashikaga Flower Park to admire the breathtaking cascades of wisteria flowers. A word of advice: illuminated at night, they are even more spectacular.

Where to see wisteria in Japan?

  • Hydrangea or Ajisai

The color of hydrangeas is often associated with the blue color of the sky on sunny days, but it is beds of white, blue, green, purple or pink petals that they offer us. Their flowering closes the spring season and announces the coming of summer!

To admire them, we recommend the Meigetsuin temple, also called Ajisaidera, in Kamakura.

Where to see hydrangeas in Japan?