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Story The Different Varieties of Cherry Blossoms in Japan
From Light Pink to Radiant Yellow
By JNTO on 1 March 2023

Cherry blossom season is the stuff of dreams for almost anyone in Japan during spring - the transient beauty of fragile petals accentuates the charm of any destination in the country. These ephemeral blossoms draw thousands of visitors yearly. Cherry blossoms start blooming from the south of Japan as early as late January and end as late as early May up north, with full blooms happening around the end of March to the start of April. Check out the predictions for Sakura blooming this year below!


cherry blossom forecast 2023

Source: Japan Weather Association (http://tenki.jp)
Note: The forecast is subject to change due to weather conditions.


But did you know that there are hundreds of varieties of domesticated and wild cherry blossoms in Japan? This article explores a variety of cherry blossoms, their characteristics, and where they can be found.


Somei Yoshino (Yoshino Cherry)


somei yoshino variety


The most common variety of cherry blossom, the Somei Yoshino is said to have been cultivated by farmers in the Somei Village (currently Komagome) of Tokyo’s Toshima district during the Edo Period.


These flowers are usually oval-shaped, three to four centimetres long, and have five petals per flower. Taking on a pale pink appearance during the initial bloom and becoming whiter as the days go by, Somei Yoshino usually blooms in bunches of three to four flowers and green leaves replace them once the petals have fallen. These flowers start blooming from mid-March to late April depending on where you catch them. (Hokkaido’s, for instance, starts blooming in late April.)


somei yoshino trees near mount fuji


Somei Yoshino blossoms can usually be seen all over the country except for northern and central Hokkaido and Okinawa Prefecture. Some of Japan’s most popular Somei Yoshino spots include the Arakurayama Sengen Park in Yamanashi Prefecture which overlooks Mount Fuji, Ueno Park in Tokyo and Hirosaki Park in Aomori Prefecture.


Arakurayama Sengen Park
Address: 2-4-1 Asama, Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi Prefecture 403-0011, Japan
Website: https://fujiyoshida.net/en/see-and-do/12


Shidarezakura (Weeping Cherry)


weeping cherry


The beauty of the shidarezakura - recognised through its thin, dangling branches - is unrivalled. Its hanging flowers make for an inviting, poetic sight for its visitors. It is a weeping cherry tree whose history dates back to the Heian Period, and depending on the type of tree, the shidarezakura’s colours come in red, white or pink. The flowering period of the shidarezakura starts in late March and extends to April.




One of the most famous examples of shidarezakura is the Miharu Takizakura in Fukushima Prefecture’s Miharu town; it is a cherry blossom tree that is over 1,000 years old and was designated as a National Monument in 1922. Takizakura translates to ‘waterfall cherry trees’ in English, and the branches of the Miharu Takizakura appear to spread in all directions, resembling a waterfall.


Another recommended shidarezakura spot is in Akita Prefecture’s Kakunodate District. Shidarezakura trees can grow up to 15 meters tall, and lined up along the blackboard walls of Bukeyashiki Street, they make for a moving sight.


Miharu Takizakura
Address: Sakurakubo, Taki, Miharu City, Tamura District, Fukushima Prefecture 963-7714, Japan
Website: https://fukushima.travel/destination/miharu-takizakura/7


Ukonzakura (Ukon Cherry)


ukon cherry


Ukon is the Japanese word for turmeric, a well-known ingredient used for hangover cures in Japan. The ukonzakura takes on the colours of turmeric, starting with a faint yellow colour. The flower’s core takes on a light red colour then a pink at the end.


Ukonzakura flowers are considered double blooms, with 10 to 20 overlapping petals in one flower. The ukonzakura blooms from mid-April to mid-May.


ukon cherry trees


For a gorgeous display of ukon cherry trees, head Tokyo’s Shinjuku Gyoen and Koishikawa Botanical Gardens, the Kanagawa Prefectural Ofuna Botanical Garden, or Ueji Hachimangu in Aichi Prefecture.


Ueji Hachimangu
Address: Miyawaki-48 Uejicho, Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture 444-0824, Japan
Website: https://ueji80000.com/


Kanhizakura (Bellflower Cherry)


bell flower cherry


Popular for taking on the appearance of a hanging bell with deep pink hues with blooms that do not fully open, the kanhizakura is mainly found in Okinawa Prefecture where it is known as the Ryukyu kanhizakura. The blooming period of the kanhizakura starts between January and February in southern Japan, and in the main Honshu region in early March.


bell cherry tree


For some of the best views of kanhizakura, head to Mount Yae in Okinawa Prefecture. Here, you’ll find thousands of Kanhizakura blooms when it reaches its peak in early February.


Mount Yae (Yaedake)
Address: 921 Namizato, Motobu Town, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture 905-0222, Japan
Website: https://visitokinawajapan.com/travel-inspiration/cherry-blossoms-okinawa/


Kikuzakura (Chrysanthemum Cherry)


chrysanthemum cherry blossom


Kikuzakura, or the chrysanthemum cherry, is a type of yaezakura (multi-layered cherry blossom) or cherry blossoms with more than five petals in a flower. The petals of the kikuzakura come in as many as 100 in a single blossom. 


chrysanthemum cherry blossom tree


These blossoms are also some of the late-flowering ones, starting around late April and early May. One of the best places to see kikuzakura in Japan is at Ishikawa Prefecture’s Kenrokuen Garden. It is said that the kikuzakura here, aptly named Kenrokuen Kikuzakura, is a very rare species where one flower has as many as 300 petals!


Address: 1 Kenrokumachi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0936, Japan
Website: http://www.pref.ishikawa.jp/siro-niwa/kenrokuen/e/


cherry blossom blooming schedule


Curious about when to see more cherry blossom varieties when you visit Japan? Check out the forecast for Somei Yoshino for 2023 by the Japan Meteorological Corporation here. You may also check out the cherry blossom forecast for this year prepared by the Japan National Tourism Organization here.


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