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Enchanting Cherry Blossom Festivals in Japan 2023 | Ratepunk

Japan is a stunning country with its traditions and interesting festivals, such as the cherry blossom festival, also known as Sakura-Matsuri.

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By Eglė

Published: jan 18, 2023 min read

Enchanting Cherry Blossom Festivals in Japan 2023 | Ratepunk

When the cherry’s buds burst open people start throwing picnics and hanami ("viewing flowers"). However, the cherry blossom festival is not only a celebration of the beauty of the cherry blossoms but also a celebration of the arrival of spring. The cherry blossoms are a symbol of renewal and the fleeting nature of life, and their brief blooming period is seen as a reminder to appreciate the beauty of the present moment.

It is believed that the first hanami started 1300 years ago, during the Nara period. During that time aristocrats of Nara (Japan’s capital at that time) went to see the blossoming plum trees ("ume"). As time went on, the focus of hanami switched from plum to cherry blossom trees. Japanese say that since the Edo Period, original cherry blossom festivals have been celebrated. 

Nowadays Sakura-Matsuri or Cherry Blossom Festivals are known and celebrated worldwide. That’s why we’d like to share with you our top Sakura-Matsuri places in Japan. Please note that some cherry blossom festivals and events in Japan may be canceled due to the coronavirus. Before visiting any of the mentioned places, please check the latest information on official websites.

Ueno Park

The most favorite Hanami spot for decades and you know what it means. Although Ueno park is huge and has about 800 cherry blossom trees, it usually gets crowdy. So if you are thinking of going there with friends and/or family to have a picnic and make some photos, get there as early as you can. However, don’t forget that it is also worth staying there in the evening while many lanterns hang and emit light from the trees. During this festival, people can enjoy Daikoku-mai and Kotobuki-jishi performances and visit flower or Aozora antique markets.

Cherry Blooming Period: from Mid-March till Mid-April.

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Hirosaki Park (弘前公園)

Hirosaki Park is a public park located in the city of Hirosaki in the Aomori prefecture of Japan. The park is famous for its beautiful cherry blossom trees and is one of the country's most popular destinations for cherry blossom viewing. Over 2600 cherry blossom trees of different varieties were planted, including somei-yoshino, shidarezakura, and yamazakura. The main attraction of Hirosaki Park is the Cherry Blossom Tunnel, lined with cherry blossom trees forming a picturesque pink tunnel. Visitors can walk through the tunnel and admire the cherry blossoms from different angles. The park also features a moat around the Hirosaki Castle, and the cherry blossoms that line the moat are a beautiful sight during the festival.

Cherry Blooming Period: from Mid-April to early May.

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Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

The park features a large central lawn that is surrounded by 1300 cherry blossom trees, making it a perfect spot for picnics and hanami parties during the cherry blossom festival. Visitors can take a stroll along the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden's many paths and enjoy the cherry blossoms from different angles especially then the park also has many other attractions: traditional Japanese gardens, a French formal garden, and a traditional English garden. 

Cherry Blooming Period: from Mid-March till late-April.

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Goryokaku Cherry Blossom Festival (Hakodate City, Hokkaido)

Another stunning location for celebrating cherry blossom festival. There are around 1,500 cherry blossom trees in Goryokaku Park. So undeniable it is one of the top places in Japan to enjoy the Cherry blossom festival. In the park is Japan’s largest Western-style fort, called Goryokaku. The original structures behind these unique and historic star-shaped castle ruins were built by the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1867). But the park is not as old as the castle ruins. In 1914 many trees were planted there and since then the park has been open to the public.

Cherry Blooming Period: Late April to mid-May. 

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Izu Highland (伊豆高原)

Izu area is known for its beautiful natural scenery, including mountainous landscapes, hot springs, and a variety of outdoor activities. Izu highland is particularly popular for its 3 km long arch tunnel formed by pink cherry blossoms. And who wouldn't want to have a ride under mesmerizing millions of cherry blossoms. Truly extraordinary experience.

Cherry Blooming Period:  from late March to early April. 

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Maruoka Castle Cherry Blossom

One more beautiful place is the Maruoka castle, also known as Kasumi-ga-jo or Kasumi Castle, which is an important historical site. It is one of the 12 original castles in Japan and is the oldest existing castle tower built in 1576. To add more, it is famous for its mindblowing beautiful cherry bloom festivals. The cherry blossom tunnel is also so people can walk through the pinkish tunnel. 

The Maruoka Castle is also popular for hanami. Everyone can get comfy having a picking and sitting under blossoms. People can bring their own food or buy it from local vendors. In this case, need to mention sakura-themed bento lunch boxes with blossom-shaped food or pinkish decorations and sakura mochi that are usually wrapped in the leaf of a sakura tree. Cute, isn't it?

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Miharu Takizakura

Miharu Takizakura is a cherry blossom tree located in the town of Miharu in Fukushima. This weeping beauty is known as "shidarezakura" and is considered one of the most famous and iconic cherry blossom trees in Japan. Can you imagine that this beauty is estimated to be over 1,000 years old and is considered a National Treasure of Japan? Undoubtedly it is a symbol of beauty and longevity. 

During the cherry blossom season, the tree is illuminated at night and the Miharu Takizakura Cherry Blossom Festival is held annually to celebrate the blooming of the cherry blossoms. The tree is surrounded by a beautiful traditional Japanese garden, which is also illuminated during the festival. 

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Chidorigafuchi Moat 

Chidorigafuchi Moat is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot located in Tokyo, Japan. The moat is located in the Imperial Palace and is surrounded by over 260 cherry blossom trees of different varieties, including somei-yoshino and yamazakura. Visitors enjoy the cherry blossom promenade that runs along the moat. They can also rent boats and take a leisurely cruise along the moat to enjoy the cherry blossoms from the water. The area is also illuminated at night, creating a magical atmosphere, and making it a great spot for evening hanami. What’s more, Chidorigafuchi Moat is also a popular spot for photography, and visitors can capture beautiful shots of the cherry blossoms and the surrounding landscape.

 Cherry Blooming Period: from late March to early April.

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Japan is full of great places for cherry blossom celebrations. So if you haven't found one from our list check others: Daigoji Temple, Nijo Castle, Maruyama Park, Hirano Shrine, Kyoto Botanical Gardens, Hiroshima Peace Memorial park, Sumida Park, Koishikawa Botanical Gardens, Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa, Himeji Castle, Mount Fuji, Moerenuma Park, Shizunai Nijukken Road, Seiryu-Ji Temple, Maizuru Park, Kikuchi Park, Nishi Park, Isshin-Ji Temple, Kusaba River,  Osaka Castle Park, Koriyama  Castle, Settsukyo Park, Kema Sakuranomiya Park, Osaka Mint, and…

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jan 18, 2023

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