2 May 2012

Cherry Blossoming in Japan

We love the long awaited season of efflorescence, spring; and nowhere is it quite so beautiful than in Japan during the short, but sweet cherry blossom season. Cherry blossoms, known as ‘sakura’ in Japan are sacred to the natives who admire them in a tradition known as hanami (literally meaning ‘flower viewing’), which dates back many hundreds of years; originally the privilege of the Imperial court, now-a-days it can be enjoyed by everyone. In springtime cherry blossoms line the riverbanks and paint the parks and hillsides pale, dusty pink. However, their blossoming beauty is short lived, so make sure you don’t miss it. Take a look at our top Japanese cherry blossom spots.

YOSHINOYAMA, YOSHINO

Yoshinoyama (Mount Yoshino) has been Japan’s most famous cherry blossom viewing spot for many centuries. The mountain is covered by a phenomenal 30,000 cherry trees, which coat the rolling mountain hills in a sea of pale pink during the April blossoming period.  It is said that the first trees were planted here more than 1300 years ago.

NORTHERN SHORES OF KAWAGUCHIKO, FUJI FIVE LAKES 

The Fuji Five Lake region lies at the northern base of the snow-capped Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan.  The northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko, lined with cherry blossom trees provide breathtaking views of Mount Fuji as the pale pink petals merge into the white of the snowy peek.  Two of the best spots are the lakeside promenade around the Kawaguchiko Music Forest and the small Ubuyagasaki peninsula next to the Kawaguchiko Ohashi Bridge.

Cherry Blossom Petals

YAMAZAKIGAWA RIVERSIDE, NAGOYA

In mid-April the banks of Yamazakigawa River in Nagoya are sheathed in a patchwork of cherry blossoms stretching for over a kilometre. The Shikinomichi (‘Path of Four Seasons’) along the Yamazakigawa River is designated as one of Japan’s 100 best cherry blossom spots, drawing people in their droves to the river bank for hanami celebrations.

PHILOSOPHER’S PATH, KYOTO

Following a glittering canal, the Philosopher’s Path begins around Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) and ends in the neighborhood of Nanzenji. For the two kilometres of its meandering journey cherry blossoms envelope the canalside. The path gets its name from Nishida Kitaro, one of Japan’s most famous philosophers, who used to walk the route on his daily commute to Kyoto University. A number of beautiful eateries and cafes can be found along the path, so you can enjoy a bite under the cherry blossoms.

SHINJUKU GYOEN, TOKYO

Covering 58 hectares, Shinjuku Gyoen is one of Tokyo’s largest parks. The park features three gardens in English, French and Japanese styles and features more than one thousand cherry blossom trees of over a dozen varieties from early to late blooming. Thanks to the early and late blooming varieties, Shinjuku Gyoen is a recommended hanami destination for those who miss the main season by a week or two and is one of Tokyo’s most popular cherry blossom spots during late March and most of April.

TAKE ME THERE

If you fancy a walk under the cherry blossoms, why not combine your floral peregrinations with the many cultural delights Japan has to offer. For more information and booking a trip, visit Black Tomato, bespoke travel agents.

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