Guides of Cherry Blossoms Viewing in Japan in 2020

History of Hanami (Cherry Blossoms Viewing) in Japan

You can not ignore cherry blossoms when Japan comes into your mind, and when mentioning spring of the country, cherry blossom viewing nearly covers all activities during this season. So, when did the tradition begin?  

In Nara Period (710-794), when it comes to flowers, it actually refers to plum flowers because of the leverage of Tang Dynasty in China. Cherry blossoms hadn’t been adored by the imperial family until Heian Era (794-1192). At that time, hanami (cherry blossom viewing) was popular just among imperial family and members of aristocracy. The first hanami festival was said to be staged by Emperor Saga in the 9th century. Commoners began to enjoy cherry blossoms in peaceful and stable Edo Periord (1603- 1867), and some spots have been made to be hot since then, like Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, Mt. Yoshino, Sumida Park, etc.

 

The Best Time to View Cherry Blossoms in Each Part of Japan in 2020

 

Cherry blossoms indicate the approach of spring. Japanese people are so keen on viewing cherry blossoms that Weathernews Inc., Weather Map Co.,Ltd. and Japan Weather Association issue the forecast of blooming dates in every prefecture of Japan from Wednesday of the first week of March every year.  

Sakura in majority parts of Japan begin to bloom during late March to early April. However, a few places do not follow the rule. Cherry blossom viewing period in Kawazu of Shizuoka Prefecture falls between early February and early March. In Hokkaido and eastern region of Japan, full bloom often goes to late April to early May. What’s more, the period of the first bloom to full bloom is just seven days. Therefore, making a plan in advance before viewing cherry blossoms in Japan is highly recommended.  

Weather Map Co.,Ltd. has issued the first forecast of cherry blossoms on Jan. 23, 2020.  

City

Estimated first bloom date

Estimated full bloom date

Tokyo

March 22

March 29

Osaka, Kyoto, Nara

March 25

April 2

Hokkaido

April 25 to May 12

April 29 to May 15

Nagoya

March 24

April 2

Sendai

April 8

April 13

Niigata

April 5

April 10

 

Weather Map Co.,Ltd. has issued the second forecast of cherry blossoms on Feb. 6, 2020.  

City

Estimated first bloom date

Estimated full bloom date

Tokyo

March 18

March 26

Osaka

March 20

March 29

Kyoto

March 17

March 27

Nara

March 17

March 26

Hokkaido

April 24 to May 12

April 28 to May 15

Nagoya

March 18

March 29

Sendai

April 1

April 7

Niigata

April 1

April 7

     

Weather Map Co.,Ltd. has issued the second forecast of cherry blossoms on Feb. 20, 2020.

City

Estimated first bloom date

Estimated full bloom date

Tokyo

March 15

March 23

Osaka

March 19

March 28

Kyoto

March 17

March 25

Nara

March 16

March 23

Hokkaido

April 21 to May 11

April 26 to May 14

Nagoya

March 17

March 27

Sendai

March 27

April 3

Niigata

March 27

April 2

      

Facts About Cherry Blossom Viewing in Japan in 2020


Locations

Every spring cherry blossom trees are ubiquitous in Japan, from parks, shrines and castles to riverbanks and mountains.  

Parks and gardens: Ueno Park, Inokashira Onshi Park, Nara Park, Hirosaki Park, Tsutsujigaoka Park, Ritsurin Park, etc.

Castles: Nijo Castle, Osaka Castle, Himeji Castle, Matsumoto Castle, etc.

Shrines and temples: Heian Shrine, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Daigoji Temple, Senkoji Temple, etc.

Riverbanks: Yodogawa Riverside Park, Arakogawa Park, Fukurogawa River, etc.

Streets: Yaesu Sakura Street, Philosopher's Path, Kancho-gai Dori St. in Towada City, Nitchusen Memorial Bike and Pedestrian Path, etc.

Mountains: Hanamiyama Park, Mt.Yoshino, etc.

 

light-up/illumination

During sakura season, many cherry blossom spots in Japan hold light-up events which often start after sunset, at around 18:00. The stunning cherry blossoms become more gorgeous and magical at night. Illuminations in some places are chosen as the most fantastic ones unanimously, such as Meguro River, Nijo Castle, Hirosaki Park, Sankeien Garden, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Mifuneyama Rakuen, etc.

 

Festivals

For Japanese, cherry blossom viewing is not just appreciating the flowers, and it is also a time to enjoy performances, sample local snacks and attend tea ceremonies. Festivals usually go along with light-up events lasting from a few days to two weeks. There is even a concert at Heian Shrine in Kyoto.  


What can you do besides just viewing cherry blossoms?

Japanese always place a premium on cherry blossoms, so they are not satisfied with just seeing the flowers. Therefore, they sit under cherry trees, and even occupy a perfect place with mats beforehand. And they have picnics and barbecues. If there is a pond at the spot and flowers are planted around the pond, rowing boats is the best way to enjoy reflection of flowers. When petals begin to fall, it appears that you are on a huge pink carpet.


How to shoot perfect cherry blossom photographs?

Cherry blossom season is quite short, just around two weeks. Thus nearly all viewers eager to take perfect pictures to share with family and friends or leave a sweet memory. Here are some tips of photographing the flowers.  

Preparation

Pay attention to weather forecast from time to time. Blooming will delay in chilly days. Check expected first bloom and full bloom dates on the spots’ websites or www.sakura.weathermap.jp.  


Device

It is unnecessary to carry unwieldy professional cameras. Nowadays smartphone is smart enough to take satisfying photographs. Unlike cameras, it is crucial to remember that smartphones are more suitable to shoot close pictures. Make sure to activate HDR feature which will mix three images with different exposures and create a balanced photo. In addition, downloading some high-quality photograph apps is recommended.


Timing

Cherry blossoms in Japan are gifts for the world. During blooming period, not only Japanese, but sakura lovers from the rest of the globe will flood to cherry blossom sights in Japan. Nevertheless, early morning on weekdays are relatively the best time to capture the beauty of sakura.


Location

Besides some household names of cherry blossoms viewing sights in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, etc., several spots boasts less crowds and beautiful flowers, for instance, Hikarigaoka Park, Inaba Senbonzakura, Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi, Kyoto Botanical Garden, etc.


Light

Light is one of the most significant elements of a good photograph. Soft and gentle light is feasible to shoot ideal cherry blossoms. Sunrise and sunset are the hours for the lovely light. Bright light at midday often wash out the colours of the flowers.


Background

Cherry blossoms should be the leading role of your photograph, so hues and backgrounds are the simpler the better. Of course, some Japanese features will make you pictures even better, such as deer at Nara Park, Mt. Fuji, Chureito Pagoda at Arakurayama Sengen Park. It is worth mentioning that people having picnic under cherry trees is an exclusively cultural scene in Japan.

Last but not least, the best way to remember and capture the most stunning moments of cherry blossoms is with your eyes.

 

Tips of dos and don'ts for cherry blossoms viewing in Japan in 2020  

Cherry blossoms season has been becoming a global festival in recent years. During this time, some popular sakura viewing spots are teeming with visitor from the rest of the world. In order to maximise and respect etiquette in Japan, here are several dos and don’ts for your reference.

 

TIPS of DOS


Reserve your seats ahead of time

Perfect positions to enjoy cherry blossoms are pretty sought-after in some parks. So occupying a seat in advance with your name, viewing time and phone number is necessary.  

Clean up your rubbish or take it home

Having picnic beneath cherry trees is a pleasant experience. however, don’t forget to classify rubbish and put it in dustbins. Alternatively, take it home.

Wear or take warm clothes

Cherry blossoms begin to bloom between late March to early April in most places in Japan when the weather is not warm, let alone at night. Remember to bring a coat.  

Take food and drinks

Having picnic under trees is a Japanese way to appreciate wonderful cherry blossoms. You can bring something like sushi, rice roll, bento etc. What’s more, in sakura festival, a lot of food stalls are along roads selling traditional snacks.  

Obey parksrules

Drinking alcohol, picnicking or bringing mats in some sights is not allowed. Please check their websites beforehand.

 

TIPS of DON'TS

Dont hurt roots, branches and flowers

Don’t put mats close to roots or stand on them. don’t shake branches or stand on limbs to produce ‘petals snow’. Cherry blossoms are delicate and fragile, so you’d better not touch them when photographing.

 

Dont take up more space than you need

Occupying a good place to admire cherry blossoms is understandable. However, please don’t occupy too much room or even block access.

 

Dont smoke

Don’t smoke in public. Some places provide smoking areas, while some hang ‘No Smoking’ signs.

Top Japan Cherry Blossom Destinations

Top Japan Cherry Blossom Viewing Attractions