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Up close and personal with cherry blossoms in Japan

With everything from geisha to snow monkey and bullet trains to sumo wrestlers, a luxury holiday to Japan promises to be captivating. One of Japan’s most awe-inspiring sights is when the country’s cherry blossom (sakura) trees come into bloom.

Seeing the magical springtime bloom of the cherry blossom is high on many travellers’ wish lists. The confetti-like display usually blooms between March and May. With only a short time in bloom, Japanese families celebrate typically with viewing parties and picnics.

In preparation for the blossoming that will sweep across the country, we've put together several suggestions of where to plan your hanami (cherry-blossom viewing).

Cherry Blossom, Toyko,  Japan

Shinjuku Gyoen in Tokyo

For the best views, we would recommend heading to Tokyo. Hundreds of cherry trees are scattered throughout the botanical gardens of Shinjuku Gyoen, Ueno Park and Chidorigafuchi. Three great places to sit back, relax and take in the stunning surroundings.

Cherry Blossom, Japan

The Philosopher's Path in Kyoto

For a memorable walking route, head to Kyoto. The Philosopher's Path is lined with hundreds of cherry trees. This path is next to a canal that connects Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) with the Nanzen-ji temple. It’s is one of the most popular routes for hanami – cherry-blossom viewing.

Cherry Blossom, Japan

Mountains & blossoms

One of the most famous hanami locations is Yoshinoyama (Mount Yoshino). Covered by approximately 30,000 cherry trees, it is believed that this is where the first cherry trees were planted in Japan over 1,300 years ago. It’s a must-see on any trip in search of the cherry blossom.