Is there ever a time when we don't have cherry blossoms on our minds? The Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC) released its 2024 cherry blossom forecast. Thousands of residents and tourists look forward to this forecast to plan their trips and maximize their time with Japan's favorite spring flower. Keep reading for a map of sakura hot spots, approximate dates, and additional tips to plan your spring trip to Japan.
Pro planner tip: Bookmark this page and check again later this season to see when cherry blossoms will bloom in major cities around Japan.
When to see Japan's cherry blossoms in 2024
Like its fall foliage forecast, the JMC updates its cherry blossom forecast once or twice before the sakura season kicks off, taking into account weather patterns and temperature projections.
Make note of the dates below — it's around this time that cherry blossoms are forecasted to be in full bloom (at their fluffiest!) around Japan.
- Sapporo: May 4
- Aomori: April 22
- Sendai: April 10
- Tokyo: March 30
- Kanazawa: April 6
- Nagano: April 11
- Nagoya: March 31
- Kyoto: April 1
- Osaka: April 2
- Wakayama: March 31
- Hiroshima: April 2
- Kochi: March 28
- Fukuoka: March 31
- Kagoshima: April 8
These dates were updated to match MC's latest forecast, released at the end of January. Keep in mind that it's always possible that a third forecast will be released closer to March as temperatures around Japan go up.
Where to see cherry blossoms around Japan
You can find cherry trees everywhere in Japan, from riverside to local neighborhood parks. Check out our guides to the best places to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka:
- Where to See Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo
- Where to See Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto
- Where to See Cherry Blossoms in Osaka
Want a more interesting way to see sakura this spring? See Tokyo's cherry blossoms while exploring the city on a guided bicycle tour.
Tips & tricks for enjoying sakura season in Japan
Whether you're just passing by or you've recently moved to Japan, if this is your first spring in the country, here are a couple of tips to make the most of the season.
Sign up for a cherry blossom food tour
What better way to enjoy the season than to tackle it hands-on? ByFood hosts have curated seasonal food experiences where you can enjoy the best this season has to offer, including the famous cherry blossoms.
- Cherry Blossom Festival: Evening in Nakameguro
- Hanami & Food Tour in Yanaka, Tokyo
- Kyoto Cherry Blossom Food Tour
- Osaka Cherry Blossom Food Tour
Hanami (cherry blossom viewing)
Hanami is a quintessential activity of this season. Get together with friends or coworkers, settle under a cherry tree and eat and drink to your heart's content (if you're over 21). It's an unparalleled bonding activity. Check out our guide to hanami to plan the perfect spring gathering.
During this time of year, you'll also see a few spring foods pop up around Japan. Most notably, you'll see limited-edition sakura-flavoured foods, both traditional and contemporary. One must-try and extremely seasonal snack is sakura mochi (pictured above). This wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery) is made from mochi wrapped in a cherry tree leaf and makes for a tangy, sweet-and-salty treat.
But nothing tastes as good as a dessert you bake yourself, right? Bake a sakura chiffon cake in this Tokyo baking class.
Be one with the crowds
While cherry blossom season is generally a positive experience, one of its more negative characteristics is the sheer volume of people you'll see at famous sakura hot spots. Nakameguro in Tokyo, for example, is notoriously an overcrowded neighbourhood around this time of year, as is Yoyogi Park.
You can go about this in two ways: play the game and plan early, or look for off-the-beaten-path places to get your cherry blossom fix.
These pink and white flowers usually appear toward the end of March. Throughout Japanese history, their ephemeral existence has made cherry blossoms the subject of poetry, visual art, and more. Let them be the backdrop of an unforgettable trip.
When do cherry blossoms bloom in Japan?
When cherry blossoms bloom in Japan will highly depend on when you're visiting and where you'll be traveling. Generally speaking, cities in southern and central Japan (think Fukuoka, Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo) will see cherry blossoms reach full bloom toward the end of March and early April. In Tohoku in Hokkaido, the cherry blossom season is a little later, sometimes as late as early May.
Another factor to consider is the type of cherry blossom tree. The most common type in Japan, and the one the JMC's forecast is based on, is the Yoshino tree, but there are over one hundred varieties of cherry trees in Japan — some even bloom in February!
Where are the best spots to see cherry blossoms in Japan?
Popular places to see cherry blossoms around Japan include Ueno Park in Tokyo, the Philosopher's Path in Kyoto and Osaka Castle. Other regions of Japan are also beautiful at this time of year. Himeji Castle, one of Japan's most famous structures, is also a popular cherry blossom viewing spot.
Can I participate in hanami?
You absolutely can! Just be sure to follow park rules and laws and be respectful of others around you.