While Japan's main cherry blossom season starts in March, in early February you can get a preview of Japan's sakura season in Atami, a quiet town just south of Tokyo!
In fact, February just might be the perfect time of year to get a preview of Japan's famous cherry blossom season. Here's all about when and where to see these early bloomers!
- Table of Contents
- Early Cherry Blossoms in Japan: February Sakura in Atami
- Where can I see Atami's cherry blossoms?
- What time is best to see Atami sakura? Enjoy Atami cherry blossoms throughout the day!
- Where are popular places to take pictures of cherry blossoms in Atami?
- Bonus: What to do after seeing the cherry blossoms in Atami?
- Other Cherry Blossom Articles
Early Cherry Blossoms in Japan: February Sakura in Atami
While the majority of Japan's cherry blossoms tend to bloom in mid to late March, there are varieties which favor opening their flowers at the end of winter, when it's still cold outside.
Atami, a quiet coastal town about 90 minutes south of Tokyo (or 44 minutes via Shinkansen bullet train), is well known for its many onsen hot springs, and given its proximity to Tokyo it is a popular weekend destination for many looking to relax in the natural hot waters.
In February, it becomes a destination of choice for flower lovers, with plum blossoms opening in early-to-mid February and the 'Atami-Zakura' cherry blossoms opening in late January/early February - around February 4 in recent years. The blossoms remain in bloom for around 10 days or so, drawing crowds of eager tourists.
Where can I see Atami's cherry blossoms?
The promenade along the small Itogawa River is about a 10-minute walk down from Atami Station. Here you'll see 58 trees planted on either side along the street, making for a lovely pastel-pink canopy that runs for around 300 meters. While called a river, the Itogawa is more of a picturesque stream which meanders down to the ocean.
On either side of the river are a variety of small restaurants, shops, and bars, and on the weekends you might catch some of the local merchants selling drinks and snacks outdoors.
What time is best to see Atami sakura? Enjoy Atami cherry blossoms throughout the day!
Now you might wonder what time of day is best to catch the gorgeous sakura, and the fact is that you can enjoy them at pretty much all time of day. While you can enjoy tea service and other events nearby from 10am to 3pm, the river and its view is open around the clock.
From morning until early afternoon, you will likely see flocks of energetic mejiro - Japanese white eyes - flitting from flower to flower in search of delicious nectar, their excited peeps drawing crowds of shutterbugs hoping for a shot of these shy birds.
And from around 3-3:30pm, the angle of the sun will bring on 'golden hour' - when the light pink of the flower petals will pop against the blue hues of the sky, making for dramatic images.
As evening draws near, the retro-looking streetlights flick on, bathing the area in a warm incandescent glow.
Then from 4:30pm to 11pm, the blossoms themselves are illuminated from below, casting a romantic glow that's rather enjoyable with a bottle of warm sake.
Where are popular places to take pictures of cherry blossoms in Atami?
There are a several small bridges along the Itogawa River, each offering Instaworthy selfie spots. Two particularly popular areas around around the Shinyanagi Bridge (shown above) and Dragon Bridge (below).
Itogawa Sakura Festival糸川桜まつり
- Address Chūōchō, 3, Atami-shi, Shizuoka, 413-0015
About a 10-15 minute walk from Atami Station. Go down the covered shopping street in front of the station and continue along the main street down the hill.
Bonus: What to do after seeing the cherry blossoms in Atami?
Depending on the season, you might be able to catch not only the Atami sakura blossoms, but also the famous plum blossoms! These sweet, fragrant flowers come into bloom in early to mid-February as well, and the Atami Plum Garden is a popular scenic spot to see these beauties.
Also, as Atami is a spa town, don't miss the chance to soak in soothing onsen waters before your trip back to Tokyo!
Other Cherry Blossom Articles
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
Share this article.
Recommended places for you
La Toque Naritakukodainitaminaruten
TANG DYNASTY TOSHOMEN Naritakukodaiichitaminaruten
Other Chinese Food
Set Meal (Gozen)
ITAMAE SUSHI Akasakaten
Tokyo Itineraries: Tour Asakusa in a Day! (Suggested Places, Activities & More!)
Japan’s beautiful new campground looks perfect for living out your Princess Mononoke fantasies
Studio Ghibli releases new plush characters that turn into eco-friendly reusable shopping bags
Ask A Mt. Fuji Guide: Things Travelers Often Forget When Climbing Mt. Fuji
Aqua City Odaiba 1-Day Perfect Plan: Shopping, Dining, and More at Tokyo’s Hottest Tourist Destination
Sanrio Cafe Ikebukuro Opens in Tokyo! We're In Love With the Sweets & Original Merch
Guide to Tokyo's Old Quarter: 7 Quaint Spots in Yanesen!
Planning Your Japan Getaway? 10 Tips for Travelling to Tokyo in Winter
Tokyo Station Top 10 Sweets Ranking!
Cleansing with Fire: Spiritual Bonfires during Japanese New Year!
Osechi Ryori: Japan's Lucky and Traditional New Year's Feast
Shibuya Crossing: Getting the Best View from the Deck at Magnet by Shibuya109!
- #best ramen tokyo
- #what to buy in ameyoko
- #what to bring to japan
- #new years in tokyo
- #best izakaya shinjuku
- #things to do tokyo
- #japanese nail trends
- #what to do in odaiba
- #onsen tattoo friendly tokyo
- #best sushi ginza
- #japanese convenience store snacks
- #best yakiniku shibuya
- #japanese fashion culture
- #best japanese soft drinks