It’s approaching the cherry blossom season in Japan and if you’re planning a visit you’ll know that catching them in full bloom can be tricky. I planned my whole trip to Japan last year around the cherry trees and the hours spent tracking weather patterns paid off when I managed to photograph the beautiful blossoms in most of the cities I visited. I’ve condensed all my knowledge into this short 4 step guide just for you.
1. As a general rule, the blossoms start in the South and sweep towards the North
Due to the shape of the islands, imagine the trees blooming in the South West first and the North East last.
2. Cherry blossoms start around March and end around May
The cherry blossom season changes every year – it depends on all sorts of factors like how cold winter was and how early spring starts. Generally the blossoms begin blooming in March and end around May in the North.
3. You don’t need to catch them in full bloom
Full bloom is the most beautiful, but it’s not essential. I saw the trees at various stages of their blooming and it was always exciting to find them. Plus… trees in the same town will be at different stages too, so one might be half blooming but then you’ll find another in full bloom and one that hasn’t even begun yet.
4. Keep an eye on Japan Guide’s Forecast
Japan-Guide.com has an excellent cherry blossom forecast every year (which you can find here) but also quite handily they have cherry blossom reports from previous years, allowing you to see which years had exceptionally early or late blooms.
Based on these 4 factors I planned my 2013 trip as follows:
Osaka (19th March)
Hiroshima (23rd March)
Kyoto (26th March)
Fuji (5th April)
Tokyo (7th April)
Hakodate (14th April)
Tokyo (18th April)