On almost every travel list, there will be recommendations to view the northern lights in one of the Scandinavian countries, experience carnival in Rio, or celebrate the new year in New York City. However, lesser mentioned, is one of the most magical natural events that also takes place annually: cherry blossom season in Japan. This is special for a number of reasons, one of the main ones being the way Japanese culture treasures the few weeks that the flowers bloom. It makes up a huge part of their culture. From all matter of foods, savoury and sweet, flavoured with cherry blossom, to kimonos embroidered with intricate designs of the delicate flower, the country honours this time of the year beautifully. Japan is famous for this particular time of year, and for the beauty of its autumn foliage as well. There is even a special cherry blossom weather forecast, to help everyone know just exactly when is the best time to visit the country to see the blooms, but normally it is during the last weeks of March towards the start of April.
Visiting Japan in itself is a huge experience, but visiting during this particular time is even more special. The juxtaposition of the light pink cherry blossom against the bright neon lights of the cities is a unique sight, and one that you cannot see anywhere else. Even the melding of the trees with the quiet temples that you will find dotted throughout Japanese cities is so picturesque, and really makes you feel like you are walking through a movie set. During cherry blossom season, many workers will even enjoy their bento box lunches in the temple grounds, as they sit in front of the trees.
Imagine walking down the tiny quiet alleyways of Kyoto, a temple’s spire in the distance, and cherry blossom trees lining the streets. Little traditional teahouses are filled with people sat on the floor, sipping on some matcha tea, and looking outside. In Tokyo, you might be walking between the skyscrapers of the Shibuya district by day, then come across large parks full of friends and families sat on picnic mats underneath the trees. This celebration is called hanami, and is valued greatly within Japanese culture.
Japan has some of the most beautiful parks in the world, known for the famous aesthetic of water being a central focus of the design. These are some of the most beautiful places to enjoy the cherry blossom season, as they are quieter and are often near to traditional Japanese castle.
Everyone should consider visiting Japan at this time of year. Although it is very busy with tourists who have come to enjoy the unique sight of cherry blossom flooding the streets, it is this way for a reason. It is incredibly beautiful, and allows you to see the Japanese people and their culture in such a special way. It is easy to see why they value this time in nature, and base their calendar around it, because it is something that is so unique.