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7 things you didn't know about cherry blossom in Japan

For around one month every year Japan is awash with pink and white cherry blossom trees, adding even more to colour amongst the colourful temples and clothing. Discover more about the cherry blossom season in Japan.


1. The cherry blossom is known as 'sakura' in Japanese and symbolises not only the return of spring but of renewal and hope.

2. The cherry blossom is Japan’s unofficial national flower and it appears on the 100 Yen coin – but Japan is not actually the cherry blossom capital of the world. This title is currently held by Macon, Georgia, in the USA, which is home to over 300,000 sakura trees. Japan sent the blossom trees over to the US in 1912 to represent friendship and good will. 

3. There are over 100 different varieties of blossom in Japan, with the most popular bloom being the Somei Yoshino, which is a white flower with a hint of pink.

4. Picnicking in the park is a Japanese tradition during blossom season. It is ancient Japanese tradition to take part in ‘hanami’ (also known as flower viewing), a custom that dates back centuries.

5. The oldest tree in Japan is over 2,000 years old. You can find Jindai Zakura within the grounds of the Jissoji Temple in Yamanashi, with a root circumferences of 13.5m!

6. The famous blossom trail begins in the south of Japan around the middle of  March - there are forecasts in place to predict the optimum time to view the blossom. The cherry blossoms start in tropical Okinawa in early February then travels north in a movement called ‘sakura zansen’, tracked right to its final stop in the northernmost island of Hokkaido in early May.

7. Planning is key! Although the blossom predictions can’t be made too far in the future, the season lasts for around one month, from the time of the first bloom to the last. The cherry blossoms only last for around one week in full bloom and the trees live, on average, for 40 years.


Explore our Japan tours

We offer trips during cherry blossom season on our cultural discovery tours to Japan. Explore colourful temples, sail among '99 islands' and stay in a traditional ryokan on our Shogun Trail tour. Or, meet snow monkeys and tame deer, stay in a Buddhist temple and watch a fire ceremony on our Simply Japan trip.  
View all Japan tours

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