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Wittering Travel Counsellor discusses beauty of blossom in Japan





Cherry blossom season in Japan is one of the most highly anticipated dates in the calendar; tourists and locals alike remain spellbound by the beauty of this natural wonder, writes Travel Counsellor Emma Savage.

The Japanese take it seriously - there are even daily reports about it on the national news. Sakura, or cherry blossom, is the unofficial flower of Japan, erupting into spectacular pink blooms for around three weeks each year.

When the blossoms arrive in late March or early April, there is much excitement; especially because of the short-lived nature of the displays meaning you have to make the most of them. At the first sight of the blossom, the Japanese all head to parks with picnics and rugs, and of course some rice wine, so they can enjoy spending time amongst the flowers - this event is called Hanami (meaning seeing flowers) There are pop up snack stalls, lights and lanterns laced through the trees, and its generally a time of merry-making.

Cherry blossom season in Japan. Photo: Travel Counsellors
Cherry blossom season in Japan. Photo: Travel Counsellors

The life span of a cherry blossom has similarities with the life span of the mighty samurai, whose lives were often short. These days, the cherry blossom season serves as a reminder to enjoy every moment of life as it can be short, which is why the locals party and celebrate during this time.

Cherry blossom starts in Okinawa and moves north, usually peaking in Tokyo and Kyoto in early April, and Hokkaido in May. If you’re in Tokyo, head to Ueno Park for some of the best examples of blossom or try Maruyama Koen in Kyoto; but you’ll need to be early to get a spot.

If you would like to tie in a visit to Japan with cherry blossom season, I have one piece of advice; book early! Tours to see it fill many months in advance, such is the popularity of the spectacle. There are a number of fully escorted tours from the UK which take in the cherry blossom as part of a wider tour. Or, if you prefer things a little more independent, specialist companies I work with can tailor-make an itinerary to suit your personal interests.

Cherry blossom season in Japan. Photo: Travel Counsellors
Cherry blossom season in Japan. Photo: Travel Counsellors
Cherry blossom season in Japan. Photo: Travel Counsellors
Cherry blossom season in Japan. Photo: Travel Counsellors
Emma Savage
Emma Savage

Maybe you’d like to take a tea ceremony, visit Mt Fuji National Park, or visit some of the 2000 shrines in Kyoto? Whatever your interests, do make plans to see this very special natural event.

Happy travels!



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