Japan is a beautiful country to visit all year around, but is perhaps most popular for its spring time beauty. Here are some spots around the country you can check out whilst the famed sakura are blooming.
The last area in Japan to see the blossoming of cherry blossoms, Hokkaido attracts many outdoor lovers due to its unspoiled nature.
Takinoue Pink Moss Park
From mid-May to early June, tiny flowers bloom and spread across the entire park, covering all 100,000 square metres in a pink blanket. The spectacular view can even be viewed from a helicopter ride at 5,000 JPY (S$60).
Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park
Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park is yet another flower paradise, where 1.2 million tulips of 120 different varieties flourish in late spring.
Making your own lavender pillow
At Flower Land Kamifurano (フラワーランドかみふらの), visitors will be able to see a variety of seasonal blossoms, and can even experience making and bringing home their very own unique pillow filled with dried lavender.
Known for their cherry blossoms’ vibrant colours, North Japan has more places famed for hanami than in most regions of Japan.
Yamadera is a scenic temple located at the foot of the steep hill Hōshū-yama (宝珠山). The exceptional views from the temple has made it a nationally designated Place of Scenic Beauty and Historic Sites (名勝・史跡).
Kokeshi Doll Painting
At Morioka’s Tezukuri-Mura, a traditional folk craft village, visitors can try Kokeshi (こけし) Doll Painting. The dolls are originally from northern Japan, handmade from wood, and are characterized by their lack of arms and legs.
Hachimantai Snow Wall
The famous snow corridor that runs through Towada-Hachimantai National Park can only be seen between April and May. In some places, the snow walls can reach a height of 6m and look so smooth they appear to have been sliced by a knife.
The Chubu (中部) Region is located in the centre of Japan’s largest island Honshu (本州) and home to some of the finest spots to view sakura.
Shirakawa-go is best known for their traditional gassho-zukuri (合掌造り, clasped hands-style) farmhouses which were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, and is picture-perfect during sakura season.
Koinobori Village Festival
Tatebayashi’s Koinobori no Sato Festival (鯉のぼりの里まつり) is held every year from late March to early May, and is the world’s largest koinobori (鯉のぼり, carp streamers) festival. Ranging from medium-sized to gigantic streamers, many colourful koinobori are flown in celebration of Children’s Day (5th May).
More than 10,000 azaleas bloom here starting from mid-April to end-May. Here, visitors can take it the glorious sights of giant Yamatsutsuji (山つつじ) azaleas that are more than 800 years old.
Sakura bloom abundantly in spring, making it a great time to explore the 4 prefectures of Japan’s smallest major island.
One of Japan’s 12 original castles, it is located on Katsuyama Hill (勝山) and provides visitors with a bird’s eye view of Matsuyama (松山) and the Seto Inland Sea (瀬戸内海). During spring, around 200 sakura trees bloom on the castle grounds, making it a wonderful sakura viewing spot.
Ōboke Gorge (大歩危) and Koboke Gorge (小歩危) are narrow valleys located upstream of the Yoshino-gawa River in Tokushima. Their names mean “big dangerous steps” and “small dangerous steps” respectively due to the precarious nature of the rocky walls flanking them.
The Naruto whirlpools are a natural phenomenon created by the large volumes of water that move between the Seto Inland Sea (瀬戸内海) and the Pacific Ocean between high and low tide in a narrow strait. Typically seen once in the morning and once in the afternoon for up to two hours.
An early centre of Japanese civilisation, Kyushu offers an array of historic treasures and natural sceneries which thrive during spring.
Yanagawa Boat Cruise
The Yanagawa boat cruise goes around the moat of the old Yanagawa Castle (柳河城), which is lined with willow trees along its bank. As the boat travels downstream, visitors can enjoy the view of red brick warehouses from the early 20th century and traditional Japanese-style storehouses.
While its name literally means ninety-nine islands, Kujukushima (九十九島) is actually made up of two hundred and eight islands which dot the coastline stretching from Sasebo (佐世保) to Hirado (平戸).
This magnificent park was once part of the holiday home of Nabeshima family, rulers of the Takeo Domain. Against the rocky cliff of Mt. Mifune, 50,000 azaleas and 5,000 sakura bloom, making it a perfect spot for photos.
The first prefecture in Japan to herald the coming of spring. Comprising three major island groups, the Okinawa Islands (沖縄諸島), the Miyako Islands (宮古島) and the Yaeyama (八重山諸島) Islands, this subtropical paradise is famous for its marine wildlife.
Cape Manzamo, famous for its rock formation resembling an elephant dipping its trunk into the ocean, is also a great place to watch the sunset as it sinks into the East China Sea.
Ie Island (伊江島) hosts an annual lily festival towards the end of April, where around one million lilies flower and blanket a huge park measuring 86,000 square metres.
Shuri Castle is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site under the Castles of the Ryūkyū Kingdom (琉球王国). It served as the administrative centre and residence for Ryūkyū kings for several centuries until Okinawa became part of Japan in 1879.
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