kyoto sakura season

It’s like the Super Bowl of pretty trees…

If there’s one fashion trend you can depend on, pink will always be the color for springtime in Tokyo. Japans iconic “Sakura Season”, celebrating the bloom of beautiful cherry blossoms is far bigger than you could ever possibly imagine, and the festivities start long before the flowers highly anticipated April arrivals.

In fact, there are entire blogs, forecasts and networks solely dedicated to keeping the public informed on the magic day, when spring will officially be in pale pink bloom. Here’s how to get the best “Sakura Season” cherry blossom forecasts and plan perfect trips to see them for yourself…

a water way with pink flowersWhen Is “Sakura” Cherry Blossom Season?

Part of the “Sakura Season” magic is that the timing is never identical from year to year. Japan’s cherry blossoms are one of the most closely watched nature phenomena in the world, and in general the best time to visit is from late March to early April, with blossoms starting from South to North.

Basically: cherry blossom will hit Tokyo or Osaka before Fukoshima or Nagano. To help you plan, web forecasts begin to trickle in during winter and early spring from the likes of Japan Rail Pass, N-Kishou and more.

What’s The Best Japanese City For Cherry Blossom?

Japan experiences stunningly beautiful cherry blossoms virtually anywhere you go. For those wanting to stay in Tokyo: Ueno Park, Meguro River, Shinkuku Gyo-en,Chidorigafuchi Moat at hte Imperial Palace Gardens and Yoyogi Park are perfect for swoon worthy scenes.

If you want to expand your Sakura tour further, the likes of Kanazawa, Kyoto, Mt. Fuji or Hirosaki Castle in the North are some of the most iconic locations you’ll find. With easy flights and high speed bullet trains, it’s easy to move around – and you should.

a pagoda with a mountain in the backgroundWhy Do People Care So Much About Sakura Season

The Japanese business year begins in April, and the blossoms symbolize new beginnings and life itself. They’re insanely beautiful, inspirational, make for social media catnip and give off a surreal feeling of peace.

Locals and foreigners come together to celebrate the tradition of Hanami, which is essentially a picnic in a beautiful park, under the cherry trees. As you spend more time in the country, you’ll notice the iconic tradition portrayed in Japanese art dating back centuries, and you’ll probably want to buy some.

Sakura Season Flight Planning

Unfortunately, the most accurate cherry blossom forecasts usually come long after most people will have aimed to book their airline tickets. Flight deals are scarce for travel from late March thru April, so if you find a deal that works for you, never hesitate to book. Here are five easy ways to find the best flight deals.

Flying to semi nearby areas such as Beijing or Seoul, and finding cheap onward flights can be a great workaround. With cash prices so high, sakura season is a perfect time to use points, especially for business class or first class flights which will leave you semi refreshed after a long journey. Here are some of the best ways to get to Japan in style using points.

kyoto sakura seasonWhere To Stay For Cherry Blossom

If you think Tokyo is popular, wait until you see Kyoto. Hotels book up early for Sakura Season, so be sure to plan ahead and jump on any limited time sales. Much like with flights, hotels in the peak season can be extremely expensive, so using points can make tons of sense, especially in cities such as Tokyo where prices are always high, peak season or not. Here are 48 hour guides for Tokyo and Kyoto, with hotel recommendations.

Tokyo To Kyoto

One of the most famous treks during cherry blossom is between Tokyo and Kyoto. Getting between the two cities is brilliantly simple via bullet train, taking a mere 2.5 hours. Tickets can be purchased as a walk up at the station, or online using Japan Rail Pass, if you’ll be making quite a few journeys. With trains almost every hour, this is a fantastic way to add depth to your next visit Japanese visit.

Have you experienced Sakura Season in Japan?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Going the end of March to the first week of April. I stalked the BA website and got lucky using AK miles for departure but had to pay up with Avios for the return. Knowing the flights I wanted were scarce I literally grabbed the return 2 in First on JAL within minutes of it showing on the BA site. Same with hotels booked around the time the calendar opened.

  2. Just booked my mom and me in ANA F! So excited as this is something she has wanted to see for a long time! Do you have any specific reccs for outside of Tokyo? Kyoto is a definite but looking for sideshows and alternative things to do.

  3. @Mattt

    Use the, it will provide a list of everything to do just outside of every major location. BTW your Mom will probably find Kyoto much more enjoyable than Tokyo – I do I can only handle so much congestion and don’t forget to buy your JR pass before you go.

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