2024 Cherry Blossom Season Japan - Forecast - Feature Image

2024 Cherry Blossom Season Japan – The Ultimate Guide

Every spring, travelers flock to Japan for the blooming of cherry blossoms. Known as Sakura in Japanese, these delicate pink flowers bloom only briefly each year, making it a highly anticipated event.

In this comprehensive 2024 travel guide, we unveil the essential details on when, where, and how to immerse yourself in the enchanting spectacle of cherry blossom season.

Cherry Blossom Season Forecast

Japanese cherry blossoms have a short blooming period, typically around two weeks. The exact timing of the cherry blossom season varies each year and is highly dependent on weather conditions.

The Japan Meteorological Corporation releases a cherry blossom forecast known as “sakura zensen” to help travelers plan their trip. This forecast predicts the expected dates for the first and full bloom of cherry blossoms in different regions of Japan. It is usually released around mid-February, giving travelers enough time to plan their trip.

Cherry Blossom Flowering Forecast Map

Japan Sakura Forecast (updated Feb 29 2024) | Source Japan Meteorological Corporation


Location Flowering Full Bloom
Kochi March 19 March 27
Nagoya March 20 March 30
Fukuoka March 22 March 31
Tokyo March 22 March 29
Hiroshima March 22 April 1
Wakayama March 22 March 31
Kyoto March 23 March 31
Osaka March 25 April 1
Kagoshima March 27 April 7
Kanazawa March 31 April 6
Nagano April 5 April 10
Sendai April 6 April 11
Aomori April 19 April 23
Sapporo May 1 May 5

How to View the Cherry Blossoms

How to View Cherry Blossoms - Hanami

Viewing cherry blossoms, or Hanami, is an ancient Japanese tradition where friends gather beneath the cherry trees. Picnics, drinks, and lively conversations are all part of this festive event.

What to Do:

  • Enjoy a Picnic: Pack a picnic with friends and family. Traditional Japanese snacks, sushi, and seasonal fruits add to the authenticity of the experience. Don’t forget to bring something to drink, like green tea or seasonal sakura-flavored beverages.
  • Stroll Under the Blossoms: For those who prefer not to sit, taking a stroll through the cherry blossom-lined pathways is equally enchanting. Night-time strolls are particularly magical when the trees are lit up.
  • Take Photos: Cherry blossom season is incredibly photogenic. Whether daytime or night-time, capture the beauty of sakura with your camera or smartphone. Early morning and late afternoon offer the best natural light for photos.

What Not to Do:

  • Don’t Pick the Blossoms: Preserving the natural beauty and integrity of the cherry blossom trees is paramount. Picking blossoms or branches is generally frowned upon.
  • Avoid Loud Music and Noise: Hanami is a time for the serene appreciation of nature. Playing loud music or creating noise that could disturb others around you is considered impolite.
  • Leave a Mess: Maintaining cleanliness in public spaces is crucial to Japanese culture. Pack up all your trash and take it with you when you leave.

7 Best Cherry Blossom Festivals in Japan

1 – Goryokaku Cherry Blossom Festival (Hakodate City, Hokkaido)

Goryokaku Cherry Blossom

With nearly 1,500 cherry blossom trees and found next to Goryokaku Tower in Hakodate, Goryokaku is renowned as a prime spot for viewing cherry blossoms. The trees are predominantly of the Somei Yoshino variety and offer a spectacular sight during the cherry blossom season, attracting locals and tourists alike.

After relishing the cherry blossoms at ground level, take in the panoramic view of Goryokaku from the observation deck of Goryokaku Tower. Here, you’ll witness the stunning display of pink cherry blossoms in full bloom encircling the star-shaped moat.

2 – Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival (Tokyo)

Ueno Cherry Blossom

With over a thousand sakura trees, Tokyo’s Ueno Park turns into a stunning sea of pink blossoms from late March to early April. The Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival is one of Japan’s most significant. During the sakura season, the park hosts food stalls, outdoor performances, and various activities.

Don’t miss out on rowing a boat under the canopy of cherry trees along Ueno Park’s Shinobazu Pond. This picturesque experience is not to be missed during the cherry blossom season.

3 – Meguro River Cherry Blossom Festival (Tokyo)

Meguro River Cherry Blossom

The Meguro River, stretching for kilometers, stands out as one of Tokyo’s top hanami spots. Lined with Sakura trees, it creates a picturesque pink tunnel over the canal. During peak times, especially in the evening, crowds flock to witness the cherry blossoms illuminated by lanterns.

Avoid the crowds by booking the budget-friendly cherry blossom cruise along the Meguro River. Enjoy a relaxing ride while enjoying the stunning views and traditional Japanese snacks.

4 – Takada Cherry Blossom Festival (Joetsu)

Takada Castle Site Park’s cherry blossoms rank among Japan’s top three night-time cherry blossom light displays. The park is located on the historic grounds of Takada Castle, originally constructed as the dwelling of Matsudaira Tadateru, the sixth son of Tokugawa Ieyasu. During peak bloom, 4,000 cherry delicate blossoms adorn Takada Castle Site Park, complemented by the lighting of the three-story turret (formerly a weapons storehouse) and “bonbori” paper lanterns.

5 – Kyoto Botanical Gardens Cherry Blossom Festival (Kyoto)

Kyoto Botanical Gardens Cherry Blossom

Kyoto Botanical Garden is a hidden gem for cherry blossoms in Japan. This stunning garden is home to an impressive array of 12,000 plant varieties, including 500 types of sakura.

The garden features various cherry blossom species such as Somei Yoshino, Ukon, Weeping Cherry trees, and Satozakura. During the cherry blossom season in Japan, the Kyoto Botanical Garden is a popular spot for visitors. The approximately 200 cherry tree species on site bloom at different times throughout the blooming season, offering a more extended viewing period than other locations.

Visitors can enjoy the late-blooming cherry blossoms until mid to late April, thanks to the garden’s wide variety of trees. Additionally, the garden houses some rare cherry tree species that are hard to come by elsewhere.

6 – Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival (Aomori)

Hirosaki Cherry Blossom

In late April each year, Aomori Prefecture transforms into a pink paradise with cherry blossoms. Hirosaki Park, recognized as one of Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Viewing Sites and Top 100 Sights of People and Nature, boasts some of the most stunning cherry blossoms in the country. With 2,600 trees showcasing over 50 cherry varieties, including Somei Yoshino, Shidarezakura (Weeping Cherry), and Yaezakura (Double Layer Cherry), the park is a breathtaking sight. The Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival attracts over 2 million visitors annually to admire this natural spectacle.

7 – Himeji Castle Cherry Blossom Viewing (Hyogo)

Himeji Castle Cherry Blossom

From late March to mid-April, the cherry trees encircling Himeji Castle burst into bloom, turning the iconic castle into a top spot for cherry blossom viewing in Japan.

Over 1,000 cherry trees are found on the castle grounds, and during the spring, the castle’s white exterior stands out against a pink sea of blossoms. Visitors can admire the flowers outside the castle for free or pay to tour the castle’s interior.

Cherry Blossom Travel Tips

  • Timing is Everything: To catch the blossoms at their peak, monitor regional sakura forecasts and plan accordingly.
  • Reserve Your Spot Early: Popular parks can get amazingly crowded. Arriving early in the morning to lay down a picnic sheet can ensure a good viewing spot.
  • Respect the Environment: Keep the tradition of cleanliness by taking your trash with you or disposing of it properly in designated areas.
  • Try Traditional Foods: Hanami is not just about cherry blossoms but also a culinary experience. Don’t miss the chance to try sakura-flavored treats and other traditional Japanese picnic foods.
  • Join a Local Group: Join in with locals or a guided hanami group. It’s a beautiful way to learn more about the cultural nuances of the tradition and make new friends.
  • Transportation: Expect crowds and plan transportation in advance. If traveling to multiple locations, consider purchasing rail passes if necessary.
  • Leverage the JR Pass: Take advantage of the Japan Rail Pass for affordable and efficient travel nationwide. This pass is especially valuable during cherry blossom season for exploring multiple destinations.
  • Stay Connected: Purchase a local SIM card or rent a pocket WiFi to ensure you have internet access on the go.


Japan’s cherry blossoms are a spectacle that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime. Whether traveling solo, with friends, or with family, there are endless opportunities to embrace the beauty and culture of hanami. By following these tips and doing some extra research, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable experience during this magical time in Japan. So pack your bags, and grab your camera.

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