Japan is a nation of culture, with a rich history, and a wealth of amazing things to see and do, it has long been a nation on many people’s bucket lists.
From ninja to samurai, to sushi, Japan is full of iconic images and symbols, but perhaps few are more iconic than the beautiful splendor of the falling cherry blossoms!
But when is the best time to visit Japan in order to see the cherry blossoms? Many tourists make a point of visiting Japan specifically to see the cherry blossoms, so is there a best time to head there?
If you want to get a head start on planning your trip to Japan, then read on below, because we are going to take a look at the very best time to visit and see the cherry blossoms!
What Is The Best Time To Visit Japan For Cherry Blossoms?
If you want to see the cherry blossoms when you visit Japan, then you will want to make sure that you visit at the right time. Now, what “the right time” is will depend on where in Japan you are visiting.
Cherry blossoms generally begin growing from around the southernmost part of Japan around January.
Thus, if you are planning to visit anywhere in Japan that is closer to the south, then you will want to aim to visit between the months of January and February.
If you are in slightly more central parts of Japan, such as the popular cities of Tokyo and Kyoto, then you will want to aim to visit from the last week of March at the earliest, to the first week of April at the latest.
This tends to be the time when the cities see their largest concentration of cherry blossoms (see also ‘Do Cherry Blossom Trees Grow Cherries?‘) and is definitely a time to go!
And, of course, if you are visiting any area towards the Northern tip of Japan, then you should aim to be there around May, as that is the time when the cherry blossoms bloom towards the North!
Why Do Cherry Blossoms Die So Quickly?
It is still largely uncertain why exactly cherry blossoms begin falling from their trees so quickly after blooming.
However, the sight of falling cherry blossoms has actually become just as iconic as the blossom itself, and is not seen as a bad thing!
What Do Cherry Blossoms Symbolize?
Not only do cherry blossoms look simply incredible, and fill Japanese towns and cities with a gorgeous pink color, but they are also highly symbolic for the Japanese people.
When the cherry blossoms (see also ‘Are Cherry Blossoms Edible?‘) are in bloom, people often gather around the trees to take in the splendor of the blossoms before they inevitably fall within around 2 weeks of first blooming!
The Japanese believe that cherry blossoms are a direct reflection of life itself, in that while it is incredibly beautiful, it is also fleeting, so you must make the most of it while you can.
The symbolism of cherry blossoms has shown up in numerous ways across Japanese culture, especially in film, television, and anime.
When a cherry blossom is shown falling from a tree in fiction, it very often symbolizes that a character has died.
How Long Does A Cherry Blossom Tree Live?
Though cherry blossoms themselves may only ever be on display for a short period of around two weeks, the cherry blossom tree itself can actually live upwards of around forty years!
This means that the same tree can provide countless years of cherry blossom beauty many years after first growing.
Can Cherry Blossoms Be Found Elsewhere In The World?
Definitely! Cherry blossoms can actually be found all over the world, it’s just that they are slightly more common in Japan, and they have a much stronger significance in the country.
In more western nations in Europe, or even in states across the US, cherry blossoms can still produce very similar blossoms that will take your breath away.
These trees will begin to bloom in springtime within each specific region, and the blossoms will also last for around 14 days before they begin to fall from the trees.
If you want to experience the cherry blossom season in a way similar to what you might find in Japan, there are plenty of national parks and amazing areas in countless US cities that host numerous cherry blossom trees.
Some of the best include the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, the city most famous for cherry blossoms, and the University of Washington campus in Seattle.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Should You Avoid Japan?
If you are planning to visit Japan, you should try to avoid visiting from June to July.
This is because June to July is when much of Japan experiences its rainy season, so each day you could experience very strong rainfall, which could put a significant damper on your trip.
Is It OK To Wear Shorts In Japan?
Yes. It is totally fine to wear shorts in Japan (see also ‘What To Wear In Japan‘), especially during the summer months. Many tourists in the area wear shorts during the summer.
Is Japan Expensive To Visit?
Japan can be quite costly to visit and is one of the more expensive holidays to go on (see also ‘Is Japan Expensive?‘). This is because the average tourist to the area will spend around $120 per day, with much of that cost going on food to fuel their trip.
There you have it. If you want to make a trip to Japan even more magical, you can easily do so by visiting at the perfect time to witness the splendor of the cherry blossom trees.
If you are heading towards some of Japan’s major cities, like Tokyo or Kyoto, then make sure to be there from around the end of March to the beginning of April, as this will allow you to see the cherry blossoms at their best.
For cities north of more central areas, aim to get there closer to May, whereas for cities more towards the south of Japan, aim to be there before the months of March and April!