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How to see Japan’s cherry blossoms

How to see Japan’s cherry blossoms

It is arguably the most beautiful time of year to visit Tokyo, when the cherry blossoms turn the parks and gardens into a sea of pink.

How to see Japan’s cherry blossoms

Called ‘Sakura’, this splendid season of growth and blooming has grown to be extremely popular, with people flocking to the city to snap photos and to take it all in. But if you want to add more to your cherry blossom experience, here are five tips on how to do it.

Cherry blossom illuminations

For a different view of the blossoms, check them out at night, when they are lit up in what is name as ‘Yozukura’. Admire them from a boat cruising along the Chidorigafuchi moat and also take in the night view of the blooms in Tokyo Midtown’s Sakura-dori.

For something extra special, head to the Sakura-matsuri festival in the Nakameguro neighbourhood, where you can take in the blossoms in the stunning river setting, along with always magical paper lanterns.

Dinner is easily arranged at one of the food stalls. matsuri festival where, in addition to the illuminations in a beautiful setting by the river, paper lanterns and food stalls add to a magical atmosphere. Click HERE for a list of illuminations.

Party like a local

The Tokyo locals don’t just look at the cherry trees, they have what’s called as ‘Hanami’ parties under the branches. Friends and workmates will meet under the cherry trees wo tuck into a Bento meal, some friend chicken, accompanied by sake or beer.

If too much sake or beer is imbibed, there may be karaoke. The more lively Hanami are at the Yoyogi and Inokashira parks, while for a quieter affair, try the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

Escape the city

If you can’t get enough of the feisty flowers, head to Mount Takao, about 50 minutes from the centre of Tokyo.

Here, there are many varieties of cherry trees and they bloom a week later than the rest of Tokyo. One of the best spots to sakura is the Takaosan Senbonzakura area, which offers a more relaxed view of the blossoms.

Cherry blossoms, back in time

Tokyo’s trees date back as far as the Edo period (1603-1867). At Rikugien Garden, built by a feudal lord in the 18th century, there is a famous weeping cherry tree that attracts any to ooh and aah at its pretty blossoms. The tree is stunning by day but truly spectacular at night.

Eat, drink and be cherry

Cherry blossoms don’t just have to be experienced by the eyes and heart, as during the cherry blossom season Tokyo’s shops sell special bento boxes, cherry-blossom flavoured sweets and wine flavoured with petals.

*This year, the weather experts say that the season will start a little earlier than usual, with the trees to hit full bloom on 23 March.

For more information on sakura season, access the complete ‘Hanami Guide’ HERE.

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