Cherry Blossoms: What you need to know if you want to see them

Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are a well known icon of Japan. They are seen in
Japanese art, cuisine, anime, photographs and even are depicted on the 100 yen coin.  The beauty and elegance of the cherry blossoms make them a must see for many tourists visiting Japan, however there are some important things that tourists should consider.

Japan's First Sakura: Close Up Blooms - Okinawa, Japan

The first thing that Japan bound tourists with the desire to see sakura should consider is that they do not bloom all year long and when they bloom varies depending on the location. Here in Okinawa sakura bloom as early as late December where as in Hokkaido they bloom as late as May. Of course other factors including weather can change the time when the sakura bloom.

Japan's First Sakura: Central Nago Park - Okinawa, Japan

Sakura don’t stay around for very long either. In most cases the flowers become fully bloomed about a week after opening and a week after that they will start to fall from the trees. Rain and wind can also factor in making the season even shorter.

Despite the challenge of getting to Japan for just the right time sakura viewing is well worth the trouble. The blooms are absolutely beautiful especially on a clear day. Here in Okinawa there are also a wide variety of animals which come out to enjoy what the flowers have to offer including bats, ryukyu white eyes, butterflies and bees. For nature enthusiasts this is the absolute best time to get out!



4 thoughts on “Cherry Blossoms: What you need to know if you want to see them

  1. We went and did the circuit a week early, just when all the venues were open and lighted. While the blossoms were not fully open yet, neither were the crowds! It was well worth it – that and going to places off the beaten path.

    • That’s the key right there!

      I have also found that if you have the opportunity (which I realize not everyone does) going during the week of the festival in the daytime is also a great option. This year I checked out Yaedake Matsuri on a Tuesday morning and there were all the booths, music and some of the entertainment with only about a 10th of the people that are there during the weekend. I could’t believe it! I had figured during the daytime hours that things would be closed up.

      • I should warn those who wish to take the mountain drive to really not bother on a weekend. It was bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go (mostly stop) traffic, and parking was nearly impossible. Nakijin castle is sooooo much better, especially on a Sunday evening the week BEFORE the big festival!

      • Absolutely. When I went during the week there was traffic but it was moving well so there was really only a few stops. We have also gone during the evening which was not too bad either but midday during the weekend. . . . . forget about it!

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