The Best Places in the World to See Cherry Blossoms
After a long, gray winter it seems like everyone is ready for spring. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and the world awakes with blooms of every color. The most celebrated sign of spring is the arrival of the cherry blossoms, whose blooms vibrantly paint cities in shades of pink and white drawing visitors from far and wide. I asked a bunch of my travel blogging friends for their favorite places to view the blossoms; while Japan and and the Washington DC area were popular choices there are a few surprises here as well. Here are the best places inn the world to see cherry blossoms.
While Washington DC is great any time of year ,springtime is particularly magical when the cherry blossoms bloom in a burst of pinks and whites highlighting the beauty of the city. One of my favorite cities, I try to get to Washington DC as often as I can but I always try to plan a springtime trip in hopes of seeing the cherry blossoms in all of their glory. A gift of friendship from Japan to the American people in 1912, the colorful blooms that line the Tidal Basin signal that spring has arrived to the American Capitol.
Yours truly, the Casual Travelist
Cherry blossom season(also known as hamani) is one of the most culturally important times of the year in Japan and few places are as great as Tokyo to witness this festival. Tokyo has no shortage of incredible places to view cherry blossoms but some of the most popular include Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, and Chidorigafuchi Park, among others. .In Japan Hanami is a time of celebration, with people traditionally receiving bonuses from work ushering in a season of parties . One of the best ways to spend Hanami is sitting under the blossoms with friends, family, and coworkers drinking, eating, and celebrating the beauty of this season.
Anwar of Beyond My Front Door
Kyoto, Japan is a fabulous place to see cherry blossoms not only because of the many viewing locations, but also because of the opportunities to witness Japan’s deep cultural connection to nature.Whether you are walking down the blossom lined Philosopher’s Path or relaxing in the shade of a weeping cherry tree in Maruyama Park, one thing is for sure- you will see locals enthusiastically celebrating the cherry blossom season.In Kyoto, locals love to dress in their kimonos and have formal pictures and family portraits taken in front of the cherry trees. Hanami parties (blossom viewing parties) are a popular pastime as well. In Maruyama Park, people lay down tarps or blankets and gather for picnics under the trees.As beautiful as the pink blossoms are during the day, I recommend heading out at night to see some of Kyoto’s popular cherry trees illuminated by lights.
Rhonda Krause of Travel Yes Please
Surprisingly, Japan is not the only place in Asia to see the cherry blossoms. I had lived in Japan for a year and didn’t make it to Kyoto in the spring for the festival. So when I booked my trip to China I knew I would be there during the cherry blossom season. I was lucky enough to see them at the Summer Palace in Beijing and the water town of Suzhou but my absolute favorite place I saw them was in Xian, China outside of the Terracotta Army Museum. We had just finished visiting the terracotta warriors and were waiting outside in the gardens when we saw the cherry blossoms. So beautiful at that time of year when the other trees do not have any leaves on them.
Nicole Labarge of nicolelabarge.com
Paris is always a good idea… but arguably, even more so in the Spring! After a dreary winter, the city really comes to life, and often, the first flowers to arrive are the magical cherry blossoms. I spotted these ones just last week at Trocadero, right behind the Eiffel Tower. Cherry blossoms can also be seen in all other manner of places around the city; including near Notre Dame Cathedral and around the city’s quaintest district, Montmartre.
Sophie Nadeau of solosophie.com
Rivaling Washington, DC’s Tidal Basin for quantity and quality of cherry trees is nearby Kenwood, Maryland—located near Chevy Chase Village and less than a mile from Northwest DC. Kenwood has many old brick houses, some with converted carriage houses; others houses are reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel cottages. Cherry trees, of course, are the main draw in the spring and many streets have a canopy of cherry trees. The oldest Kenwood cherry tree is estimated to be 95 years old. Kenwood can also be easily biked to on the Capital Crescent Trail. Kenwood is a magnificent walking neighborhood any time of the year. There are some bamboo patches (cool to see, especially if you never have) and many majestic magnolias.
Charles McCool of McCool Travel
Vancouver, British Columbia
British Columbia has the mildest climate in the whole of Canada – and BC dwellers particularly love to remind fellow Canadians of this during winter, when the rest of the nation is buried under a blanket of snow while Vancouver merely experiences its signature drizzle. But despite the famously mild winters, Vancouverites are overjoyed and excited when winter gives way to spring and the cherry blossoms bloom all over the city, showering so-called ‘Raincouver’ with delicate pink petals on every street corner. Cherry blossom viewing in Vancouver IS a walk in the park, but doesn’t actually require one – as well as gracing plenty of scenic spots like Stanley Park and Queen Elizabeth Park, the whole of the downtown area is covered in shades of pastel pink, which make an interesting contrast with the stark glass skyscrapers.There are said to be 40,000 Japanese flowering cherry trees in the city – to see them head to one of the tourist hubs like Waterfront or Burrard Skytrain stations or artsy Granville Island. Alternatively check out one of the long residential streets where the trees stretch along multiple blocks showing a canopy of color stretching into the distance.
Jaillan Yehia of Savoir There
Cherry trees crowd the paths and surround the pond at Meadowlark Botanical Garden in Vienna, Virginia. Just 18 miles from Washington D.C., the lovely garden offers a peaceful spot to enjoy cherry blossoms, magnolias and spring flowers. A mix of paved and dirt paths make it easy to explore the gardens, and there is a gazebo over a koi-filled pond and a children’s garden that make Meadowlark a popular destination for families. If you arrive past the peak bloom, you’ll find some late-blooming Kwanzan cherry trees on the perimeter path just outside the park. The clusters of big fluffy blossoms offer a perfect close-up photo opp.
Julie McCool of Fun in Fairfax VA
San Francisco, California
When you can’t actually get to Japan to see the cherry blossoms, the next best thing is San Francisco’s Japantown! Every April in the city the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival (the largest Asian festival on the West coast) is held. And this year (2017) it is celebrating its 50th anniversary. This popular event includes parades, food, street performances, traditional costume displays as well as a Taiko drum competition. But the star of the show is the beautiful flowering cherry tree in rows and rows near the Japan Center Mall. If you want to enjoy a more subdued environment to take in these beauties you can also see cherry blossoms in Golden Gate Park at the Japanese Tea Garden and in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.
Kungsträdgården in Stockholm is lined with Cherry Blossoms when the frigid winter weather warms up during the spring. Last year, I traveled to Stockholm and was pleasantly surprised by the sheer number of Cherry blossoms in this city park. It can get crowded with people dressed up in Japanese anime costumes, Hare Krishna supporters, tourists, and Stockholmers hoping to take selfies with the blooming blossoms. The weather in April is still chilly and a bit rainy in Stockholm so pack a warm jacket and some rain gear.
Alaine Handa of Travel with Alaine
As with the rest of Japan, Osaka has incredible cherry blossoms! The best place to go to see them is near the Osaka Castle. The Castle is accessible by train (J-R included) and surrounded by a huge park that you can spend up to a day in. Get there in the morning, eat some street food for lunch, and visit the Castle, the Museum of History, and the International Peace Center! Everything is in walking distance. On weekends, it’s easy to see Japanese families picnicking on the lawns; they make it a family outing! The lawns are covered in cherry blossom trees. When they are in full bloom, the view is simply magical.
Alice Chen of Wherever I Want
Sun and Moon Lake, Tawain
Located in the center of Taiwan about 160 miles north of Taipei, beautiful Sun Moon Lake is popular for honeymoons and famous for its natural thermal hot springs. It has a magnificent temple, some great places to eat (I really liked one that offered an unusual fruit-based menu), and plenty of hot springs (my hotel room had a bathtub with a faucet that emitted hot spring water). I was there in March and the cherry blossoms were abloom. It was understandable that people couldn’t resist capturing a selfie amid them, using the blossoms as a lovely frame.
Carole Terwilliger Meyers of Travels with Carole
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Not many people know about that there is a cherry blossom season in Chiang Mai. If you are spending 2 weeks in Thailand during the January make sure to spend a few days in Chiang Mai to see the cherry blossoms. Just outside the city head up the mountain Doi Suthep past the famous Doi Suthep temple to the Khun Chang Kian Highland Agriculture Research Center. The easiest way to get here jump in an Uber or have a local songthaew bring you up (negotiate price in advance). We suggest visiting the temple early in the morning and continuing up the mountain to see the cherry blossoms.
Hannah and Adam Lucaszewicz of Getting Stamped