A Guide to Cherry Blossom Season in Japan – When and Where to View Sakura Blossoms 2023

Alevin Chan

Alevin Chan

Last updated 21 February, 2023

This year’s sakura season will be the first one open to foreigners after three years. Learn when the cherry blossom season is expected to start, and the best places in Japan to enjoy the spectacular sights.

Finally after three years, travellers can bask in Japan’s sakura season once more! 

You’ll want to arrange your itinerary such that you catch as much of the spectacular, once-a-year views as possible, but since weather and temperature can affect when the flowers actually blossom, this can pose somewhat of a challenge. 

But as they say, knowledge is half the battle, and to give cherry blossom lovers a helping hand, the Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC) has released a helpful forecast of when cherry blossoms are expected to bloom all around Japan. 

Using that info, we’ve put together a guide that should help you get the most out of your hanami holiday. Enjoy!

Table of contents


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Japan cherry blossom season

According to the JCM’s forecast report released on 9 Feb, Japan is expected to see around 1,000 Yoshino cherry trees nationwide bloom between late March and early April this year. 

Also, the trees are expected to go into full bloom this time round, so get ready for some truly stunning sights. 

Japan’s cherry blossoms are expected to start blooming in Tokyo on 21 March 2023, followed by Western and Northern regions. Here’s the forecast of flowering dates according to region.

Prefecture (Location)
Expected flowering date
Tokyo
21 March
Kochi
22 March
Fukuoka 
23 March
Aichi (Nagoya)
24 March
Hiroshima 
26 March
Kyoto
27 March
Osaka
28 March
Kagoshima
30 March
Ishikawa (Kanazawa)
2 April
Miyagi (Sendai)
6 April
Nagano
6 April
Aomori
18 April
Hokkaido (Sapporo) 
29 April

Source

There are, of course, more than 1,000 cherry blossom trees in Japan; the forecast is simply using the Yoshino species as a benchmark.

Generally, each region’s cherry blossoms reach full bloom around a week after they start flowering. The flowers remain in bloom for around two weeks before shedding, leaving a generous window for viewers to enjoy them.

These dates are accurate at the time of writing, but as explained above, actual blossoming dates may shift.

But fret not, as the JMC will continue to update its forecast up till and throughout the cherry blossom season, and sakura lovers can stay informed by keeping track of new announcements

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What are the best spots for sakura viewing in Japan?

Ueno Park, Tokyo

ueno park sakura blossomPerhaps the most popular hanami location, Ueno Park in Tokyo is a favourite for many cherry blossom enthusiasts. 

Head for the park’s central pathway to view over 1,000 cherry trees. And oh, picnicking and drinking are permitted on the grounds, so don’t forget to pack a basket. 


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Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo

shinjuku gyoen sakura blossomsThis renowned location features over 1,000 cherry blossom trees of different varieties, including numerous trees known for blooming early or late. 

As such, Shinjuku Gyoen can be a great option for those who miss the main blooming season, or for a last-minute visit before flying home after the main hanami viewing is done. 


Okazaki Canal, Kyoto

okazaki canal sakura blossomsHere’s where you’ll find that popular dreamy, sakura-draped view of paddle boats lazily drifting into the sunset. 

Located near Nanzen-ji Temple in Kyoto, Okazaki Canal offers two ways to take in the season. Take a boat ride to immerse yourself in the cherry blossom trees lining the canal, or take a walk right next to the water. 

For added atmosphere, the trees are illuminated after sundown.


Kenrokuen, Kanazawa

kenrokuen sakura blossomsKenrokuen is also one of Japan’s three most beautiful public gardens, and is a must-visit for anyone travelling to Kanazawa. 

During sakura season, both Kenrokuen and the nearby Ishikawa Gate are uplifted with the sight of countless pink blossoms, thanks to the numerous cherry blossom trees located there. 

If you happen to arrive before sakura season, you can catch sight of plum blossoms in the southern end of the garden.


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Yamazakigawa Riverside, Nagoya

yamazakigawa sakura blossomsThe Yamazaki River, which runs for nearly a kilometre, is lined with abundant cherry blossom trees. 

When in full bloom, very little else can compare to the arresting sight of endless sakura blossoms that stretch towards infinity. 

This location is justifiably designated as one of Japan's 100 best cherry blossom spots.


How travel insurance can help make your cherry blossom trip a blooming success

Remember that sakura season tends to take place between winter and spring, which means you’ll be encountering some chilly temperatures, especially after sundown. 

Thus, you’ll want to have adequate travel insurance coverage for luggage and personal belongings in case you need to replace your winter wear or other items.

Read more:
Best Travel Insurance For Stolen or Lost Phones 📱
Best Travel Insurance For Stolen or Lost Laptops 💻
Best Travel Insurance For Stolen or Lost Cameras 📸


Should you be forced to cancel or change your trip due to an emergency, a travel plan can provide compensation for prepaid expenses, such as plane tickets and accommodation bookings. 

Also plans with a “cancel for any reason” clause will partially compensate you should you need to make changes to your itinerary for non-emergencies, but you should check with your insurer before making any hasty changes.

Lastly, because COVID-19 is still a threat, you’ll want to have robust COVID-19 coverage when travelling to Japan, and travel insurance is an affordable and convenient way to obtain it.

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An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.

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