As we're entering the start of the spring season in Japan, cherry blossoms are already beginning to bloom in Tokyo, Nagoya, Shizuoka, Osaka and more. While our cherry blossom trip may be cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, that doesn't mean we should stop dreaming about our next Japan vacay.
We may be far away from Japan during this trying time, the season remains close to our hearts. While we're watching this 360-degree VR video of the cherry blossoms in Hirosaki Castle
, we compiled stunning photos of the cherry blossoms in Japan for your virtual vacay.
Disclaimer: As of March 2020, all cherry blossom festivals in Japan are cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The featured images below were taken over the past years by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO).
1. Fuji Shibazakura, Yamanashi prefecture
The beautiful flower festivals in Japan are a sight to behold, and one of the most popular events is Fuji Shibazakura Festival. Held in mid-April until early June, you won't be seeing cherry blossom trees here. Instead, you'll be granted with a view of shibazakura, also known as pink moss, that flourishes across the fields. On a clear day, you can also capture this floral carpet
against the foot of Mount Fuji.
2. Matsukawa River Cruise, Toyama prefecture
: As of March 2020, the Matsukawa River Cruise has suspended operations until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This featured image was taken in the past year.
What better way to relive romance in the spring than a scenic Matsukawa River Cruise? Held in late March until the end of the cherry blossom season, the boat usually takes off at the cruise terminal at Matsukawa Tea House. Find a comfortable spot and let the lush cherry blossom trees take you on a memorable trip in Toyama prefecture. The fee for Matsukawa River Cruise is between 1,600-1,800 yen for adults and 750-900 yen for children.
3. Chidorigafuchi, Tokyo prefecture
As of March 2020, the Chidorigafuchi Green Way, including the boat ride service, is closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
There's more to Tokyo than just authentic halal Japanese food
, striking Instagrammable spots
, and free things to do. The prefecture also has a serene side to escape the hustle and bustle of the city such as Chidorigafuchi. Between late March and early April, 200 cherry blossom trees along Chidorigafuchi Green Way will begin to bloom, and most locals and tourists would enjoy
a boat ride for a chance to get up close to this seasonal beauty. Since Chidorigafuchi Green Way is a tourist attraction, the entry fee is 800 yen and the boat ride, which operates from March till November, is approximately 500 yen for a 30-minute ride.
4. Takato Castle Site Park, Nagano prefecture
As of March 2020, the cherry blossom festival at Takato Castle Site Park has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This featured image was taken in the past year.
Strolling around Takato Castle Site Park is a great way to experience the cherry blossom season in Japan. Known as one of the best cherry blossom sites in Japan, the park is flourished with Kohigan cherry trees that are absolutely mesmerising to admire. The festival is generally held in April, but the best time to visit Takato Castle Site Park is between mid and late April where you can spot the full bloom. During the cherry blossom season, this park would be packed with visitors and if you're planning to visit next year, come early on weekdays.
5. Himeji Castle, Hyogo prefecture
Update: As of March 2020, the Himeji Castle is closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Anyone who has travelled to the Hyogo prefecture would
recognise the hilltop Himeji Castle instantly. If you visit this tourist attraction during the cherry blossom season, you'll be absolutely mesmerised by the surrounding trees that made this castle even more stunning than it already is. In a landscape of delicate white and pink flowers, it is a local tradition to lay down a picnic mat and bring Japanese snacks for an authentic hanami experience.
6. Ueno Park, Tokyo prefecture
: As of March 2020, Ueno Park is closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This featured image was taken in the past year.
Home to Tokyo National Museum, Ueno Zoo, and Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Ueno Park is one of the best hanami spots in Tokyo. Hanami, an annual tradition where the locals would gather to view cherry blossoms during the full bloom, is so popular that visitors would arrive very early to reserve the best viewing spot in the park. Flourished with a sea of white and pink, we recommend that you do the same the next time you're visiting Ueno Park for this seasonal experience.
7. Meguro River, Tokyo prefecture
Update: As of March 2020, the cherry blossom festival at Meguro River has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This featured image was
taken in the past year.
The moment you step off from Meguro station, take a short walk and be mesmerised by the stunning cherry blossom trees along Meguro River. Traditionally decorated with pink Japanese lanterns, some visitors would make their way at nighttime to capture the illuminating scenery. However, you won't be seeing these lanterns this year as the government hopes to discourage gatherings at this Instagrammable spot during the COVID-19 outbreak.
8. Miharu Takizakura (Torrents Cherry Blossoms), Fukushima prefecture
: As of March 2020, the cherry blossom festival at Miharu Takizakura has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This featured image was taken in the past year.
Planning a trip to central Fukushima during the cherry blossom season comes with the opportunity to see Miharu Takizakura up close. Unlike other cherry blossom spots in Japan, this yearly viewing is centred around a single cherry tree that's similar to a weeping willow. In Japanese, Takizakura means 'waterfall cherry tree' and looking at the way its branches fall elegantly to the ground, it does resemble a cascading waterfall - and a beautiful one too.
9. Jisso-ji Temple Yamataka Jindaizakura (Cherry Tree), Yamanashi prefecture
Update: As of March 2020, Jisso-ji Temple is closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This featured image was taken in the
Just a 11-minute walk from Kanasashi station, you'll find the beautiful Jisso-ji Temple, a Buddhist temple that was built in 1145. If you're planning to capture the lush Edo-higan Zakura trees that surround the temple, the best time to visit this stunning spot is in April. Believe it or not, these trees are said to be almost 2,000 years old and were officially designated as one of the oldest trees in Japan.
10. Hitome Senbon Sakura (Cherry Blossom Scene), Miyagi prefecture
Update: As of March 2020, the Hitome Senbon Zakura Festival has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Every year, many visitors would make their way to the Hitome Senbon Zakura Festival to catch the Yoshino cherry, White-Mountain cherry and Sendaiyoshino trees in full bloom. Just a few minutes walk from JR Ogawara station, this festival has 9 viewing spots and one of the most popular is the slope car that journeys from the car park to the Funaoka Castle Ruins Park and back.
The cherry blossom festivals in Japan may be cancelled this year, but that shouldn’t stop you from dreaming about your next vacay. No matter where we are, the cherry blossom season is always close to our hearts. And we hope to see these beautiful
blooms when things get better next year!