Cherry blossoms in Japan

2018 Hanami Guide

Cherry Blossom in Japan

Japan's cherry blossom season is getting underway for 2018, with the main sakura bloom expected to start around March 25th in southern Kyushu before slowly gravitating north. Full bloom is expected to hit Kyoto and Tokyo around April 1st–11th. Plan the perfect trip around these sakura dates and experience the arrival of spring in spectacular style!

Cherry blossom forecast

Location Opening Best timing
Tokyo March 17 March 24
Kyoto March 22 March 31
Osaka March 21 March 30
Nara March 24 March 30
Nagoya March 19 March 29
Hiroshima March 23 March 31
Kagoshima March 17 March 27
Yokohama March 19 March 27
Kanazawa April 1 April 5
Kumamoto March 17 March 25
Fukuoka March 19 March 27
Nagano April 7 April 12

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What is Hanami?

Hanami, literally "flower viewing", is the tradition of visiting and admiring the cherry and plum blossom between March and May each year.

In reality, that means picnics and parties under the trees, as people flock to the cherry blossom, or sakura, hotspots to take advantage of the warmer weather that marks the coming of Spring. More >

 How to hanami?

  • Bring friends: Once you've checked the weather forecast, set a date, choose a park or riverside area and invite everyone you know!
  • Location, location, location: Identify the exact spot and get there early to reserve it – all you need is a tarp or picnic sheet.
  • Food & Drink: Stock up on everything you'll need: bento, snacks, beer and sake etc. Don't necessarily rely on the conbini – they'll be busier and pricier – but knowing your nearest (for waste disposal and toilet facilities) is good planning none the less.
  • Be seasonal: They don't necessarily make the best beer otsumami snacks, but get into the spirit and make sure you try some of the limited edition seasonal snacks that you can buy as soon as the first cherry blossom starts blooming! More...

Varieties of Cherry Blossom

Hirosaki: Sakura Season

Somei Yoshino

One of the most widespread and recognised varieties, with its pale white/pink flower. Some of the oldest trees are native to Hirosaki, Aomori.


A wild variety which grows commonly around Japan, it is known for its light pink hue and 5 small petals. It can live for a very long time.


This weeping cherry tree is a great sight to behold and are typically hundreds of years old. Known for their unique drooping branches, Shidarezakura typically blooms from late March.

Kawazu Festival & Tokyu Resort


Kawazu cherry blossoms begin blooming earlier, last longer, and are graced with a vibrant pink hue – visit the Kawazu Sakura Festival in Izu for the best experience!

Sakura at the Hiroshima Mint


Large blossoms with intricate and multiple layers of petals make the yaezakura cherry blossom a unique spectacle, which begin to bloom from about mid-April each year.

Akasaka Toyokawa Inari Temple


Pale, small pink blossoms known for their dignified beauty. The Edo-higan trees bloom around the spring equinox on March 21st, and have a long life span up to 2,000 years.

Shiba-zakura in Misato


Literally 'lawn cherry blossom', the Moss Pink/Phlox is not technically a cherry blossom variety but blooms around April/May and has a similar appearence to cherry blossom.


More prominent in tropical climates such as Okinawa, the Kanhizakura cherry tree blooms fairly early with a distinctive dark pink/scarlet red bell-shaped flower.