The cherry blossom, or sakura, forecast for this year has already started to roll in. The Japan Meteorological Corporation releases its forecast each year around January to give an indication of when it thinks the flowers will bloom.
Read on to find out when and where to go and how to enjoy this season just like the Japanese do.
When to see cherry blossoms in Japan
Cherry blossoms typically bloom at different times depending on where they are located. Naturally, trees in colder parts of the country like Hokkaido will bloom later. However, overall, you can expect to see cherry blossoms around mid-to-late March and early April.
Note that the cherry blossom forecast can change depending on weather patterns.
How to celebrate cherry blossoms in Japan
The usual way to experience cherry blossom season in Japan is to have a picnic with friends. In Japanese, this is called hanami and it is serious business in Japan. Often groups will gather with a large plastic tarp at a park and eat and drink the day away. The most serious hanami fans may even camp out overnight to save the best spot at their favourite park.
You don’t need to go to those extremes to get a decent spot, though. Just show up early and bring plenty to eat and drink!
Other ways you can enjoy sakura include simply visiting different parks, strolling around and taking plenty of photos. Depending on the park you go to, you will get to see a range of different cherry blossom flowers. Read more on our blog!
Some beautiful locations across Japan to visit for cherry blossoms include Himeji Castle, Lake Kawaguchi and Hirosaki Castle Park.
For our pick of 10 great spots to enjoy cherry blossoms in Tokyo, read our blog article here.
Seasonal food and drink
Starbucks is usually one of the first to announce their seasonal cherry blossom-themed drinks and merchandise each year. But if you wander around, you will probably notice a lot of sakura-themed treats at cafes.
Sweets manufacturers always use this time of year to put out limited edition versions of popular items. Pocky has two limited edition spring flavours and popular souvenir sweets company Tokyo Banana has also released a cherry blossom version of its banana sweets.
Drinks manufacturers Asahi and Suntory also release seasonal beer and alcoholic pre-mix drinks.
It’s not just food and drinks that take on a cherry blossom theme during this time though! Many cosmetics and beauty brands will release limited edition sakura themed products like shampoos, moisturisers and perfumes.
Want to be studying in Japan for the next cherry blossom season? Contact us about how to study in Japan. Or if you can’t commit to something long-term, don’t forget that we also offer two spring Study Trip courses. You can experience studying at a Japanese language school while also taking part in fun cultural activities.