Visiting Japan during cherry blossom season should be added to everyone’s bucket list. Spring is the most magical season as the city becomes a pink wonderland! This iconic event (also known as Hanami) is not only visited by international tourists, but also hugely celebrated by the locals. Be sure to follow these tips so you don’t miss it! The cherry blossoms only stick around for a few weeks and you don’t want to be disappointed from missing it!
When Is The Best Time To Visit?
This is the golden question. Cherry blossoms in Tokyo typically begin to bloom between March 20-28 with peak bloom taking place about 7 days later. The dates differ every year according to the weather, which brings me to the next tip.
Check The Cherry Blossoms’ Forecast Regularly
It’s important to check and follow the cherry blossom forecast in order to plan your trip accordingly. You can follow the forecast on Japan-Guide, the Japan Rail Pass forecast, or the Japan National Tourism Organization forecast. You should expect to plan your trip for mid-March to mid-April.
Plan in Advance
Make sure to book accommodations well in advance. This is the busiest time of the year and accommodations fill up pretty quickly. It can also get really expensive if you wait too long!
Book hotels with FREE cancellation. In 2019, the cherry blossoms bloomed 5 days earlier than expected and we ended up moving up our trip by a whole week! We were able to cancel the hotel we booked in advance for free and book for our new dates.
Book Your Flights
January is when they release the most accurate bloom forecast, so I’d wait until then to book your flights. If you’re on a time constraint, go ahead and book earlier than that. I’d recommend booking your flights for the last few days of March or the first few of days in early April if you’re unsure.
Most airlines offer direct flights from major cities to Tokyo. I usually compare flights and prices on Google Flights, Trip.com,Kayak, and Skyscanner. I’ve booked almost all my flights on Trip.com since starting my Asia trip, because their prices have been the cheapest.
Prepare For Chilly Weather
We got really lucky with sunny weather every single day in Tokyo. On some days, it was still a little chilly so pack some clothes for layering!
Buy a Japan Rail Pass
We didn’t purchase a Japan Rail Pass since we were limited on where we wanted to travel. The JR Pass allows unlimited travel on all Japan Rail National trains, JR bus services, ferry services and airport transfers. It opens the doors to being able to travel the whole country at a cheaper price. You can buy a pass online or at any of designated JR Line stations if you don’t buy one in advance. Hyperedia is a great website to map out your trips to see if the JR Pass is worth it during your Japan trip.
Don’t Forget Your Camera
Don’t leave your camera at home! The cherry blossoms are absolutely stunning and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to document this bucket-list trip!
Our Japan Trip Dates
We were able to see the cherry blossoms in every city we visited except for Kawaguchiko (Mount Fuji). This area blooms later due to the elevation and generally colder weather. Expect the blossoms to start blooming in Mount Fuji in early to mid-April. Kyoto and Osaka were in full bloom by the time we arrived. These are our dates that we visited and in the order that we visited: