HOME Latest Japan Cherry Blossom 2024 Forecast: When & Where to See Sakura in Japan (Updated 2/22)
Latest Japan Cherry Blossom 2024 Forecast: When & Where to See Sakura in Japan (Updated 2/22)

Latest Japan Cherry Blossom 2024 Forecast: When & Where to See Sakura in Japan (Updated 2/22)

Last updated: 22 February 2024

Planning your dream trip to Japan in spring for cherry blossom season? Here is where and when is the best time to see the cherry blossoms in Japan in 2024!

In this deep dive, we share the Japan cherry blossom forecast, talk about sakura viewing culture, and see where are the best places to see cherry blossoms in Japan.

Table of Contents
  1. When is cherry blossom season in Japan in 2024?
  2. Japan’s 2024 cherry blossom forecast
  3. Where is the best place to see the cherry blossoms in Japan?
  4. Why is cherry blossom season so important in Japan?
  5. Does Japan have cherry blossom festivals?
  6. When to start planning your spring trip to Japan
  7. Book an unforgettable cherry blossom tour

When is cherry blossom season in Japan in 2024?

Cherry blossom in Tokyo
Cherry blossom in Tokyo

Cherry blossom season in Japan for 2024 is expected to peak from late March to early April, particularly in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. The official forecast was updated by the Japan Meteorological Corporation on February 15, 2024, and updates will be available on LIVE JAPAN.

How long do the cherry blossoms last in Japan?

Cherry blossoms in Japan usually last about two weeks from the start of their bloom to peak bloom.

If you're traveling outside of peak times, you can still enjoy early blossoms in southern regions like Kawazu on the Izu Peninsula and Atami City from January to February.

For later blossoms, visit colder areas like Sendai and Hokkaido from April to May.

Where to visit for early blossoms (January-February)
There are regions located south of Tokyo where cherry blossoms begin to bloom as early as January. Among them is Kawazu town, situated on the Izu Peninsula coast, which is about three hours away from Tokyo. Kawazu boasts a distinctive type of cherry tree called Kawazu-zakura, which blooms roughly a month earlier than the typical cherry blossoms.

Another such area is Atami City, which is approximately an hour and a half away from Tokyo. Here, Atami-zakura blooms alongside a serene stream, also blooming about a month earlier than the average Japanese cherry blossoms.

Where to visit for later blossoms (April-May)
In the colder areas of Northern Japan, cherry blossom season typically occurs later than in the rest of the country. For example, sakura in Sendai (northeastern Japan) is typically forecast to open at the end of March.

The last cherry blossoms in Japan to open are typically in Hokkaido at the end of April.

Where to visit for early cherry blossoms (January-February)
Where to visit for later cherry blossoms (April-May)
Comments about the 2024 Japan Cherry Blossom Forecast
  • Nationwide: Across various regions in Japan, cherry blossoms are expected to bloom either at the usual time or earlier than usual.

    Despite an initial delay in budding, higher average temperatures should foster growth. Expect to see the first blooms in Kochi around March 18th, with other regions like Kanto-Koshin, Tokai, and Kyushu following shortly.

Japan’s 2024 cherry blossom forecast

The forecast for Japan's cherry blossom season in 2024 was issued by the Japan Meteorological Corporation on February 22, 2024, and listed below. These dates can be used as a reference for planning your trip.

Tokyo
Flowering: March 21 / Full bloom: March 28
Sapporo
Flowering: April 30 / Full bloom: May 3
Sendai
Flowering: April 2 / Full bloom: April 8
Kanazawa
Flowering: March 29 / Full bloom: April 5
Nagoya
Flowering: March 19 / Full bloom: March 29
Kyoto
Flowering: March 22 / Full bloom: March 31
Osaka
Flowering: March 24 / Full bloom: April 1
Hiroshima
Flowering: March 23 / Full bloom: April 1
Fukuoka
Flowering: March 21 / Full bloom: March 30

Where is the best place to see the cherry blossoms in Japan?

With over 1,000 locations boasting beautiful Japanese cherry blossoms, picking a single ultimate spot can be quite a challenge. To make the selection process simpler, we've compiled a list of gorgeous locations by region.

a. Northern Japan: Hokkaido

Sakura blossoms around Goryokaku (Hakodate, Hokkaido)
Sakura blossoms around Goryokaku (Hakodate, Hokkaido)

Moerenuma Park (Sapporo): Designed by sculptor Isamu Noguchi, this artistic park features large sculptures and is awash with bright pink cherry blossoms in spring.

Goryokaku Tower and Fort Goryokaku (Hakodate): This star-shaped, French-style fort is a national historic site surrounded by renowned cherry blossoms. The adjacent 107m-high Goryokaku Tower offers a unique aerial view of Hokkaido's cherry blossoms.

・Asahigaoka Park (Furano): Known as one of Japan's Hundred Views, it offers a spectacular panorama of the Furano Basin and Tokachi mountains, complemented by 3,000 cherry trees.

Mt. Tengu (Otaru): Named after mythical creatures, it provides stunning views of Otaru and the Sea of Japan, with illuminated cherry trees in spring creating a dramatic effect.

Asahikawa Park (Asahikawa): Home to about 3,500 cherry trees, this park is a popular destination in Hokkaido, featuring night-time illuminations of the blossoms during the season.

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b. Northeastern Japan: Tohoku Region

Weeping cherry tree blossoms along Kakunodate Bukeyashiki-dori (Akita)
Weeping cherry tree blossoms along Kakunodate Bukeyashiki-dori (Akita)

Miharu Takizakura (Fukushima): A national natural treasure, Miharu Takizakura is one of Japan’s Three Most Famous Cherry Blossom Trees. Over 1,000 years old, this magnificent weeping cherry tree is surrounded by a walking path for visitors.

・Hitome Senbonzakura (Miyagi): Stretching over 8 kilometers along the Shiroishi River, this area features a breathtaking view of cherry trees with the snow-capped Zao Mountains in the background.

Hirosaki Park (Aomori): Spanning 49 hectares and home to about 2,600 cherry trees, Hirosaki Park is celebrated as one of Japan's premier cherry blossom viewing locations.

・Kakunodate Bukeyashiki-dori (Akita): Known for its well-preserved samurai district, Kakunodate is adorned with pink weeping cherry trees in late April, creating a striking contrast against the black board fences of the samurai residences.

Mt. Iwaki (Aomori): Revered as a sacred mountain, Mt. Iwaki boasts about 6,500 cherry trees along a 20km road, offering a spectacular bloom from late April to early May.

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c. Eastern Japan: Kanto-Koshin Region

Cherry blossoms at night along Chidorigafuchi Park (Tokyo)
Cherry blossoms at night along Chidorigafuchi Park (Tokyo)

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (Tokyo): Renowned as a pinnacle of Japanese garden design, Shinjuku Gyoen features around 1,000 cherry trees of 65 different species, offering a stunning display in spring.

Ueno Park (Tokyo): Hosting approximately 1,200 cherry trees, Ueno Park is a top spot for cherry blossom viewing. The park attracts nearly 2 million visitors each spring, especially enchanting in the evening with illuminated bonbori lanterns.

Meguro River (Tokyo): Along the 3.8-kilometer stretch of the river, about 800 cherry trees bloom beautifully, complemented by the option of dining and drinking in nearby cafes and restaurants.

Yoyogi Park (Tokyo): As one of Tokyo's largest parks, Yoyogi Park draws crowds in spring under its expansive cherry blossoms for hanami gatherings.

Rikugien Gardens (Tokyo): This serene and historic Japanese landscape garden, designated a Special Place of Scenic Beauty, is famed for its weeping cherry trees in spring.

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d. Central Japan: Hokuriku and Tokai Region

Matsumoto Castle framed by beautiful sakura blossoms (Nagano)
Matsumoto Castle framed by beautiful sakura blossoms (Nagano)

・Ueda Castle Park (Nagano): Built in 1583, Ueda Castle is renowned for its surrounding area, adorned with over 1,000 cherry trees that create a breathtaking spectacle each spring.

Matsumoto Castle (Nagano): As Japan's oldest five-tiered, six-story castle, Matsumoto Castle is celebrated for its springtime cherry blossoms. The evening illumination event along the outer moat creates a mesmerizing, romantic atmosphere.

・Takato Castle Ruins Park (Nagano): Home to approximately 1,500 cherry trees, this park is recognized as one of Japan's top 100 cherry blossom spots and is a must-visit during the bloom season.

・Kenrokuen Garden (Ishikawa): Ranked among Japan's three most famous gardens, Kenrokuen features about 40 varieties and 420 cherry trees, blooming in mid-April. It's also listed among the 100 Best Sakura Spots in Japan.

・Shinshu Zenkoji Temple (Nagano): Founded in 642, this temple is surrounded by a stunning array of cherry trees and weeping cherry blossoms, adding to its historic and spiritual ambiance.

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e. Mid-Western Japan: Kansai/Kinki Region

Some of the 1,000 cherry blossoms around Himeji Castle (Hyogo)
Some of the 1,000 cherry blossoms around Himeji Castle (Hyogo)

Himeji Castle (Hyogo): Famous for its over 1,000 cherry trees, Himeji Castle offers a unique cherry blossom experience, including boat tours in the moat under the pink petals during the cherry blossom festival.

Tō-ji Temple (Kyoto): Featuring Japan’s tallest wooden pagoda, Tō-ji Temple is surrounded by about 200 stunning cherry trees, creating a mesmerizing scene. You can also enjoy cherry blossom views while dining at nearby Kyoto restaurants.

Ninna-ji Temple (Kyoto): Ninna-ji is known for its Omuro-zakura, a variety of late-blooming cherry trees, set against a five-story pagoda. This picturesque site is recognized as a national scenic beauty and one of Japan's top 100 sakura viewing spots.

Yoshimine-dera Temple (Kyoto): Established in 1029, Yoshimine-dera is celebrated for its beautiful weeping cherry blossoms and sits amidst the western mountains of Kyoto.

Mount Yoshino (Nara): Mount Yoshino boasts about 30,000 white wild cherry trees spread across its valleys and ridges, offering a spectacular cherry blossom view in spring.

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f. Southwestern Japan: Chugoku and Shikoku Region

Ritsurin Garden in Kagawa Prefecture. (Photo: PIXTA)
Ritsurin Garden in Kagawa Prefecture. (Photo: PIXTA)

・Matsuyama Castle (Ehime): One of the 12 remaining castles built before the Edo Period, Matsuyama Castle is a picturesque location for cherry blossom viewing. Its historic grounds are adorned with numerous cherry trees, offering a splendid combination of natural beauty and historical significance during the spring bloom.

・Ritsurin Garden (Kagawa): Known for its scenic beauty, Ritsurin Garden in Kagawa features a tranquil landscape perfect for cherry blossom admiration. The garden's well-manicured paths and ponds are enhanced by the delicate blossoms of cherry trees, creating a serene and picturesque setting for visitors.

g. West Japan: Kyushu Region

Kumamoto Castle (Photo: PIXTA)
Kumamoto Castle (Photo: PIXTA)

Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto): As one of Japan's most iconic castles, Kumamoto Castle offers a magnificent backdrop for cherry blossom viewing. The castle's expansive grounds are dotted with cherry trees, making it a prime destination for experiencing the stunning beauty of spring blossoms amidst historic architecture.

Why is cherry blossom season so important in Japan?

Dressing in kimono and seeing the cherry blossoms is a popular activity for many visitors to Japan
Dressing in kimono and seeing the cherry blossoms is a popular activity for many visitors to Japan

Cherry blossom season is significant in Japan due to its historical and cultural importance. Originating as a national pastime in the 8th century, the practice of viewing cherry blossoms, or 'sakura', symbolizes the transient nature of life.

This concept, known as “mono no aware” in Japanese, reflects on the brief yet beautiful life of the blossoms, which bloom for only about a week to ten days. The appreciation of sakura's fleeting beauty has deeply influenced the Japanese mindset, emphasizing the impermanence of life and the importance of cherishing each moment.

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Does Japan have cherry blossom festivals?

Blossoms along the Meguro River (Tokyo)
Blossoms along the Meguro River (Tokyo)

Yes, Japan hosts numerous cherry blossom festivals centered around the traditional practice of “hanami,” or flower viewing. These festivals occur during the brief cherry blossom season, which lasts only a few weeks.

People gather in parks and streets lined with sakura trees to enjoy picnics and celebrate the blossoms. The timing of these festivals varies across Japan, starting in the warmer southwest and ending in the colder north.

Additionally, "yozakura," the viewing of illuminated cherry blossoms at night, is a popular activity during these festivals.

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Can I join hanami events in Japan?

Hanami picnics are a popular pastime in spring (Ueno Park, Tokyo)
Hanami picnics are a popular pastime in spring (Ueno Park, Tokyo)

Yes, you can definitely participate in hanami events in Japan! To enjoy these cherry blossom viewing parties, you'll need a few essentials.
・Bring a waterproof tarp or picnic blanket, easily available at 100 yen shops, or use a large plastic garbage bag.
・Stock up on your favorite drinks and sakura-themed bentos or snacks from convenience stores or supermarkets.
・Don't forget wet wipes, chopsticks, a garbage bag, a camera, and warm clothing for the cooler evenings of early spring.
・For an extra special experience, consider renting a kimono for daytime strolling and photo opportunities.

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When to start planning your spring trip to Japan

Those wishing to enjoy cherry blossom season in Japan are encouraged to start planning their spring travel at least 5 months in advance.

As with autumn foliage season in the fall, hotels in Tokyo and Kyoto can fill up quickly for cherry blossom season, so it's recommended to book accommodations as soon as your travel dates are set.

More on traveling to Japan in spring

Visiting Japan for the cherry blossoms? Be sure to check out these important links to help make your time even more amazing!

Book an unforgettable cherry blossom tour

Make your trip extra memorable by booking one of these recommended cherry blossom tours.

Enjoy cherry blossom season by train

Japan has a huge number of scenic train rides letting you enjoy the magic of cherry blossom season. The articles below feature some of our biggest recommendations.

We also recommend saving money and hassle by getting a Japan Rail Pass or other discount tickets via our Transport Passes section, at the link below.

Dates referenced are based on information available on the Japan Meteorological Corporation's website.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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