Where, when, and how?
The air temperature is starting to rise, your eyes itch as pollen fills the air, and that golden ball of light makes its yearly debut - spring time is upon us once again! And that means Japan's cherry blossom viewing season is approaching rapidly!
Cherry blossom viewing can be quite tricky, as the blooming times of each region are different from each other. If you take a quick look at the map provided in this article, you can see the approximate dates of the cherry blossoms' first bloom for this year. Keep in mind that these are just predictions, and that they are also the dates for the first bloom. 'First bloom' is when the cherry blossom buds just start to open. The time between the first bloom and full bloom (80% of buds are fully bloomed) varies on temperature, but you can expect about a week between the first and full bloom. Blossoms remain in full bloom for approximately one week (depending on the weather).
Of course the map isn't very helpful in showing you the exact places to go, so here is a list of some of the most popular viewing locations:
Alright, great! Now that you know where to see the cherry blossoms, let me tell you how to see the cherry blossoms. For the Japanese people, Cherry Blossom viewing is a lot more than walking past the trees and briefly enjoying their beauty. The Japanese like to hold day-long picnics under the trees so that they can enjoy them all day. If you visit any of the popular viewing spots, you can expect to see many people spreading out large tarps, eating various foods, and of course celebrating with a few drinks (there is no open beverage law in Japan).
As you read above, you can see how cherry blossom viewing is a bit more complicated than one would expect. But with the right amount of preparation and planning, you can enjoy this seasonal activity just like the Japanese do!