Spring has officially arrived in Japan, as the national weather agency has declared the start of the cherry blossom season. Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are the symbol of springtime in Japan. Considered the country’s unofficial national flower, it is admired across the globe.

Trees in Tokyo will be in full bloom during this week, turning parks into ethereal pink and white wonderlands. They will become a gathering place where friends and family will celebrate the season. Forecasters watching trees at the Yasukuni Shrine said that the city’s first blossoms had appeared, marking the start of the two-week-long cherry blossom season in Tokyo.

People celebrate the Sakura Festival in Maruyama Park, Kyoto.

Japanese cherry blossoms first appear in the warmer southern Japan before blooming in the Kanto region – which includes Tokyo. They are last seen further up north in Hokkaido. As the flowers only stay on the trees for ten days to two weeks, the cherry blossom forecast is a springtime ritual for the country. After the full bloom, the blossoms scatter, covering the streets in their pale perfection.

Sakura, Sakura 

During this time, restaurants offer special delicacies inspired by the cherry blossom, while seasonal drinks also feature the flavor. Cafes and bars also serve cherry-flavored sweets and cocktails.

Osaka castle in cherry blossom season, Osaka

Cherry blossoms are especially popular among tourists. Thousands flock to Japan each year during the spring hoping to get a glimpse of the iconic trees. For those planning to travel to Japan to see the cherry blossoms, keep in mind that the peak bloom occurs about 5 days after the first appearance and that northern cities, such as Fukushima and Niigata will feature blossoms later in the spring.


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