For many travellers, spring is the best time of all to visit Japan. That’s when you can see the cherry blossoms that the Land of the Rising Sun is known for. These gorgeous pink flowers, called Sakura in Japanese, can be seen in a number of spots around the country. Snap away for those unbeatable Insta shots to make your mates back home green with envy, or just enjoy the view! Read on for all you need to know about Cherry Blossom Season Japan 2024.

Choose the right moment

Want to know when is the best time to go to Japan for cherry blossoms? Well, you’ll have to do your research first. That’s because the flowers only bloom for about two weeks each year. Plan your trip carefully because it’s easy to miss the blossoms in action.

That being said, Japan is a surprisingly big place. On the map, it looks like a very small archipelago, but in reality, it stretches for over 3,000 km from the north to the south. The cherry blossoms tend to bloom in geographical clusters, starting in the southern Okinawa islands and steadily moving north. If you’re in Tokyo and you don’t see any Sakura in action, don’t despair. It’s entirely possible they’re blooming somewhere else in Japan. All in all, the season lasts around two months, from mid-March until May.

The Japan cherry blossom forecast

First up, let’s be honest. Sakura experts can make predictions about when the flowers will bloom, but nobody really knows for sure. A surprisingly cold winter, unexpected storms and other variables can cause the dates to change. Nevertheless, Japanese floral meteorologists — yes, it’s a real job, we promise — have the following predictions about the upcoming Japan cherry blossom season:

Tokyo: The capital city of Japan is, of course, one of the most popular places to see cherry blossoms. In 2024, they should start to bloom in early March, but they’ll be at their best in the last week of the month.

Kyoto: The old imperial capital is more beautiful than ever in the cherry blossom season. Visit from late March to early April to see them at their best. Just be warned — Sakura season is also peak tourist season in Kyoto, so you’ll have to book early.

Osaka: This is another stunning city with lots of old buildings to enjoy. If you want to see Sakura blooming around Osaka Castle, visit the city during the last week of March or the first week of April.

Sapporo: Are you travelling a little later? Then heading to the far north of Japan is a great way to see the last cherry blossoms of the year. The season in Sapporo doesn’t start until the end of April, and you’ll see Sakura blooming well into May.

Now you know when cherry blossom time in Japan will be, but there’s still one important question — where exactly are you going to go? The good news is that you’ll find Sakura all over the country. The better news? Some places are particularly stunning during the Japan cherry blossom season, so here’s where you should be heading if you want to see the flowers at their finest.

Sakura-spotting in Tokyo

You won’t have to look hard to find cherry blossoms in Japan’s capital city. Even in this bustling metropolis — the biggest city in the world by many metrics — there are plenty of parks and leafy boulevards that come to life in the spring. Start your journey with a trip to the Cherry Blossom Festival at Ueno Park. Over 1,000 trees line the central path of this green haven, and most of them are more than 400 years old. Don’t worry — they’re still going strong! During the Cherry Blossom Festival, park staff string lanterns around the trees, making them particularly beautiful by night. During the day, people enjoy a picnic under the cherry blossom trees, but be warned — you’ll have to get there well before lunchtime if you want to be sure of a spot.

One of our top cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo is a bit of a hidden gem, so don’t go blabbing about it to everyone you meet. The Meguro River is an incredibly stunning, serene spot tucked away between the big buildings of the city. During the Sakura season, trees on both sides of the 8-kilometre river come into bloom. Why do we like it so much? Well, you’ll soon understand when you see the pink flowers reflected on the surface of the water. It’s even beautiful at the end of the season when the blossoms start to fall off and float gently down the river.

a large crowd of people walking along a road

Where to see cherry blossoms in Kyoto

You haven’t truly experienced the Japan cherry blossom season until you’ve been to Kyoto. This is the place to go if you want to see a little slice of old Japan. Beautiful shrines, traditional buildings and harmonious temples are just a few of the attractions. When they’re surrounded by that brilliant pink carpet of blossom, they’re even better!

One of the best places to go see Sakura in Kyoto is Arashiyama, a historic area that was once home to the imperial family. You won’t just see the flowers here — you can also check out the 120 Japanese macaque monkeys playing in the monkey park, and you’ll get stunning views of the 400-year-old Togetsukyo Bridge. Make sure your camera has plenty of batteries because this is one of the most picturesque areas in the entire country.

Of course, there are more places within Kyoto where you can enjoy the cherry blossom season. Maruyama Park is the oldest public park in the city, and it’s been a popular spot for Sakura fans for hundreds of years. During the Sakura season, the park is at its best. It’s lit up with twinkling lights at night, and it fills up with food vendors selling delicious Japanese snacks for you to nibble on as you admire the flowers.

empty path through the bamboo trees

Enjoying the Sakura season in Osaka

Osaka may be better known as a foodie’s paradise, but it’s also one of the best places to see the cherry blossoms blooming in Japan. The highlight of the city at any time of year is the stunning, historic Osaka Castle with its moats and turrets. Now imagine that famous view covered with brilliant pink cherry blossoms. Even better! This is, bar none, one of the most beautiful places in Japan, and no trip to Osaka would be complete without stopping here.

You can easily spend all day wandering around Osaka Castle Park, admiring the flowers in bloom. There are 4,500 cherry blossom trees in Kema Sakuranomiya Park, running along either side of the Ogawa River. It’s one of the best places in town for a picnic, so get stuck into that incredible Osakan cuisine as you admire the flowers reflected on the water.

One of the strangest spots to see cherry blossoms is the Osaka Mint Bureau. Yep, it’s just what it sounds like — a rather dry, official government building — but for a couple of short weeks a year, it’s transformed into something out of a fairytale. The civil servants throw open the gates to the public, and you can wander around the fresh green grounds, which are carpeted with brilliant trees. It’ll almost make you wish you were a Japanese bureaucrat…almost.

boat on the river between skyscrapers at night

Cherry blossoms out of season

The Japan cherry blossom forecast tells you when to see Sakura from March to May. Can’t travel in the springtime? Don’t despair! You’ve got a couple of extra chances to see flowers well outside the Japan cherry blossom season. In Okinawa, the dark pink kanhizakura flowers start blooming as early as February, while Tokyo has its own October cherry blossom season. This lasts from October to January, and the flowers are a beautiful, deep pink.

These alternative cherry blossom seasons are a great option if you want to beat the crowds and still see flowers, too. Travellers from all over the world flock to Japan in the spring, so going out of season generally means lower prices and fewer crowds. That’s a win-win in our book!
Are you ready to experience the Japan cherry blossom season for yourself? Come and join us on this cross-country adventure across the Land of the Rising Sun. You’ll see Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, as well as the incredibly moving landscape of Hiroshima. This 11-day tour will help you make the most of the Sakura season. Grab your backpack, and let’s go!

WeRoad Team
Written by WeRoad Team