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Japan’s 2024 cherry blossom forecast revealed (and some of the best places to see them)

Chidorigafuchi Park. Image by Yu Kato on Unsplash.

It’s the moment so many travellers have been waiting for; Japan’s annual cherry blossom (sakura) forecast has been revealed, and the good news is, they’ll be kicking off earlier than normal this year with Tokyo and Osaka one of the first locations to see the colourful blooms in March.

But while Japan’s southernmost regions will be beautifully spruced with cherry blossoms in only a few weeks, the season continues for almost three months with cherry blossoms emerging in Japan’s northernmost Hokkaido Prefecture as late as mid-May – leaving plenty of time to witness this annual spectacle.

Here’s how the forecast is shaping up around Japan

Location (Prefecture) 2024 Forecasted
flowering date
Average date
Fukuoka City (Fukuoka) 19 March 22 March
Kochi City (Kochi) 19 March 22 March
Chiyoda (Tokyo) 20 March 24 March
Hiroshima City (Hiroshima) 21 March 25 March
Osaka (Osaka) 22 March 27 March
Kanazawa (Ishikawa) 27 March 3 April
Niigata City (Niigata) 2 April 8 April
Nagano City (Nagano) 6 April 11 April
Aomori City (Aomori) 19 April 22 April
Sapporo (Hokkaido) 27 April 1 May
Kushiro (Hokkaido) 12 May 16 May

*Latest forecast as of 9 February. Source: JNTO

Why the cherry blossom season is so important in Japan and how it is forecast

Sakura season has been celebrated for centuries in Japan. The emerging blossoms symbolise a time for renewal, as well as serving as a reminder of the transient nature of existence, beauty, and the importance of ‘being the moment’.

Ater remaining dormant during the icy winter months, Japan’s cherry blossom trees sense the arrival of spring after experiencing several warm days in a row. Forecasters know that a string of warm days will trigger the required “temperature sum” for the blossoms to open, which is also an important signal in the broader plant world.

Japan’s cherry blossom season is firmly in the hands of the weather, which is why you’ll always see earlier blooms in Japan’s warmer southern prefectures compared to in the north, and the exact onset of the seasons will vary everywhere from year-to-year. If winter clings on for longer than usual, you can expect the season to begin later than the average, but if it seems like spring is in the air early, those beautiful blooms will probably be right around the corner.

From earliest to latest, here are 6 spectacular viewing locations around Japan

Fukuoka: Nishi Park in the north of the city is home to around 1,300 cherry blossom trees making it a top location to view the blooms. First opened in 1875, this historic park with views of the city, Hakata Bay, and its islands is a popular spot for picnics in spring and you’ll find abundant stalls selling food and drink during the flowering season.

Nishi Park. Image by JNTO.

Hiroshima: Hiroshima Castle is surrounded by as many as 450 cherry blossom trees, making it the perfect location to appreciate the beauty of Japan’s unique flora and historic architecture. Here, you’ll see the pink hue of cherry blossoms all around the grounds and lining the castle’s moat. 

Osaka: Mt Yoshino has been a top viewing spot for centuries with its vast area home to 30,000 cherry blossom trees of different varieties. The cherry blossoms are easily visible from the many walking trails as well as the ropeway up the mountainside.

Mt Yoshino. Image by JNTO.

Tokyo: There are over 1000 trees in Tokyo’s Ueno Park, most of them lining the pathway between Keisei Ueno Station and the Tokyo National Museum. The branches from either side are so long that they reach out overhead, creating a tunnel-like effect. Chidorigafuchi Park is another great spot for viewing the cherry blossoms in Tokyo, especially if you decide to hire a paddle boat to see the colourful branches cascading down the banks of the river and reflecting in the water.

Tohoku Region: Mostly made up of rural communities, sprawling national parks, and hot spring resorts, Tohoku covers six of Honshu’s prefectures. Hirosaki Park in Aomori Prefecture is one of the region’s best cherry blossom viewing locations with around 2,300 trees and 50 different varieties – some of which are over 300 years old. Walk along the Sakura Tunnel on the West Moat, admire Hirosaki Castle among the blooms, or visit the park at night to see a spectacular display of illuminated colourful blooms.

Hirosaki Park. Image by JNTO.

Ibaraki Prefecture: Often overlooked by international travellers, Ibaraki is well worth visiting during cherry blossom season because many of its trees are the double-flowering variety. As the name suggests, this variety has twice as many petals as the typical cherry blossom tree. Around 2,300 of these trees can be found blooming Shizumine Park in Nakashi City.

Hokkaido: Hokkaido is the last area of Japan to experience the cherry blossom bloom. Visit Hokkaido Shrine next to Maruyama Park in Sapporo to see around 1,400 trees in full bloom around the shrine. The location is unique compared to many other viewing spots around Japan because Hokkaido’s climate sees both cherry blossoms and white and red plum blossoms flourish at the same time.




For more information, please contact:
James Cooley | james@thelucidagency.com.au | +61 401 316 701



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