The Four Seasons of Japan: Spring
Japanese Culture & Customs
Let’s talk about one of the four seasons, the season of spring! Spring in Japan is a time of change and new beginnings, with students starting a new school year, and many new hires starting work.
Spring is also the season for “sakura” or cherry blossoms. Every year, both locals and foreign tourists flock at famous cherry blossom spots around the country to admire the beautiful but short-lived flowers, in a tradition called “hanami”.
In this article, I’d like to introduce to you three of my recommended hanami spots where you can see relax and enjoy refreshing nature.
(Tohoku Area) Hirosaki Park and Hirosaki Castle, an Important Cultural Property
The famous Hirosaki Park in Aomori Prefecture has been named as one of the Three Best Night Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan. From late April to early May, it magnificently blooms with over 2,600 cherry trees of around 52 varieties, including somei-yoshino and shidarezakura (weeping cherry) trees.
Held in conjunction with the blooming of the trees is the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival. One of the highlights of this event happens from sunset until late at night, when the 2,600 cherry blossom trees are lighted up, creating a truly magical sight.
The park also features the Hirosaki Castle, whose main tower, gates, and other areas have been designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan. Hirosaki Park is a place to experience not just the beautiful cherry blossoms, but also a part of Japanese history.
(Kansai Area) Cherry blossoms covering the mountainside at Mt. Yoshino
Mt. Yoshino in Nara Prefecture is one of the largest cherry blossom spots in Japan. In spring, around 30,000 cherry trees come into bloom, covering the entire mountainside. During the peak blooming period from early to late April, the trees are lighted up at night as part of a cherry blossom festival. It also features other events and attractions, attracting thousands of tourists and creating a fun and festive atmosphere in the mountain.
If you’re visiting Nara Prefecture to see the Mt. Yoshino cherry blossoms, you should also go and see the famous deer at Nara Park.
(Kanto Area) Cherry blossoms and delicious food along Meguro River
The last spot I want to introduce is Meguro River in Tokyo. This place features hundreds of cherry trees lined up for around 4 kilometers along the river. It is one of the most popular cherry blossom spots in Tokyo, with countless people coming every year. There are also many cafes and restaurants along the river, so you can savor a delicious meal while admiring the amazing view of the trees, a truly blissful experience. If you’re in Tokyo during the spring, Meguro River is definitely a place to visit to enjoy both the food and the flowers.
Besides the three famous spots above, there are many other places all over the country where you can enjoy cherry blossoms in spring. These include Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto, Takada Park in Niigata (one of the Three Best Night Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan), and the Satte Gongendo Park in Saitaima, where you can see a cherry blossom tunnel together with a vast field of yellow rape flowers. Why not search for a cherry blossom spot near your area?
Cherry blossoms are the symbol of spring in Japan. Why not go for a hanami trip somewhere next spring?