Japanese Cherry Blossoms or Sakura as they are known in Japan are beyond magnificent. Once a year and for only about seven days these gifts of nature bloom with such ferocity they are something to behold. Attracting visitors from all over the world Sakura really is Mother Nature’s gift to us all. Starting their bloom in the southern areas of Japan, Sakura, like an orchestrated masterpiece, emerge one by one moving further and further north.  Luxury Japan Travel purposely designs the Cherry Blossom Tours to give guests the maximum opportunity to witness this natural wonder in all its glory. If there is one natural event you choose to witness in your life it has to be Sakura.

When is the best time to see cherry blossoms in Japan? 

There is no exact date you can choose that will guarantee the cherry blossoms will be in bloom. As blooming is an act of nature several factors are at play; such as the low temperatures during autumn and winter, cumulative temperatures, past area data, and cherry tree growth status.

We recommend the last week of March and the first week of April for the areas of Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo, Kobe (see Cherry Blossom Tour 2020 Classic).

For Northern Japan (Tohoku, Aomori, Hirosaki, Hakodate we recommend the last week of April and the first week of May (see Cherry Blossom Tour of Northern Japan 2020).

For even further North into Hokkaido for places like Sapporo and beyond we recommend the first two weeks of May.

Forecast Cherry Blossom Season Japan 2020

The official forecast usually arrives in February 2020 so booking a trip at this late date these days is almost impossible. Due to the popularity of Cherry Blossom season it is wise to book your tour as far in advance as possible. It is always recommended to book with a small boutique tour company, that specialises in Cherry Blossom Tours as they always have their fingers on the pulse in relation to forecast dates, and, pay far more attention to conditions. 

The Japan Meteorological Corporation (JMC) produces the cherry blossom forecast; however, as in with all forecasts this is only an educated guess. A good way to help plan your trip to see cherry blossoms in Japan is by using 2019 blooms as a reference. For example: Tokyo’s Cherry Blossoms started opening on March 21, 2019 and the peak bloom was on March 27 for most areas. 

Below are other examples from 2019 that can be used for Japan’s Cherry Blossom Forecast 2020

■(Northern Japan) Hokkaido and Tohoku Region: Cherry blossom forecast

Hakodate (Hokkaido)

Flowering: April 30

Full bloom: May 4

Sapporo (Hokkaido)

Flowering: May 2

Full bloom: May 6

Aomori (Aomori Prefecture)

Flowering: April 23

Full bloom: April 28

Sendai (Miyagi Prefecture)

Flowering: April 5

Full bloom: April 10

Fukushima (Fukushima Prefecture)

Flowering: April 5

Full bloom: April 8

■(Eastern Japan) Cherry blossom forecast


Flowering: March 21

Full bloom: March 27

Yokohama (Kanagawa Prefecture)

Flowering: March 21

Full bloom: April 1

Kofu (Yamanashi Prefecture)

Flowering: March 27

Full bloom: April 7

Nagano (Nagano Prefecture)

Flowering: April 13

Full bloom: April 18

■(Central Japan) Hokuriku and Tokai Region: Cherry blossom forecast

Kanazawa (Ishikawa Prefecture)

Flowering: April 1

Full bloom: April 6

Nagoya (Aichi Prefecture)

Flowering: March 22

Full bloom: April 4

■(Western Central Japan)

Kyoto (Kyoto Prefecture)

Flowering: March 27

Full bloom: April 5

Osaka (Osaka Prefecture)

Flowering: March 27

Full bloom: April 4

Kobe (Hyogo Prefecture)

Flowering: March 27

Full bloom: April 6

Nara (Nara Prefecture)

Flowering: March 29

Full bloom: April 5

What if I go to Japan and don’t see any Cherry Blossoms?

This situation can sometimes arise, particularly if you don’t pay attention to the information available online (see below for Cherry Blossom Travel Tips).  If you have followed all the advice, yet still are unable to see cherry blossoms please don’t despair. Whilst cherry blossoms are magnificent there is so much Japan has to offer. 

Are there different types of Sakura, Cherry Blossoms? 

Yes, there are. There are a great number of different varieties of sakura. Depending on where you are in Japan will ultimately determine what variety you see.  Colours can range from brilliant white to brilliant pink, with all the shades in between.

Where is the best place to see Cherry Blossoms?

The best place to see cherry blossoms in Japan is honestly a personal choice; however, we believe that two very special spots, one on each of our Cherry Blossom Tour (Classic) and Cherry Blossom Tour (Northern Japan) are the very best places to see Japanese Cherry Blossoms.

Is there a festival or food associated with Cherry Blossom Season in Japan?

Yes, absolutely there is. The whole season is known in Japan as Sakura Matsuri, which means Cherry Blossom Festival. As part of this festival special foods are prepared and many stalls serve special treats and sell special souvenirs to cherry blossom tourists. Sakura Matsuri is a the most special time in Japan and as such it is celebrated the whole country over.   

Some Cherry Blossom Travel Tips

Should I be aware of big travel companies?

The number of times we have been conducting our tours only to run into wandering and often lost tourists who are on Cherry Blossom Tours with some of the best-known companies in the world, is beyond surprising. We are astounded by the lack of information provided and the 100% lack of guidance.   These tourists had usually not seen a single cherry blossom until we came across them. When asked where they had been, it was obvious their chosen provider had just taken their money without a care for a cherry blossom forecast dates.

Should I be aware of cruise ships? 

Taking a Cherry Blossom Tour via a cruise ship is not recommended. Whilst on our Cherry Blossom tours in 2019, we came across a vast number of unguided tourists in Hirosaki in early May. To our surprise this was the first any of them had seen a cherry blossom in two weeks. All the tourists had paid large sums of money only to go without seeing a single blossom day after day after day. When we enquired where they had been the reason was obvious. The cruise ship had taken them to southern Japan where the bloom had been finished for some weeks.

Choose a small boutique tour company 

Choosing a small tour company that specialises in Cherry Blossom Tours is always the best option. You will not only receive far better service, greater inclusions, better accommodation and dining experiences; but also, you will be choosing a company that follows the forecasts, historical bloom dates and cherry blossom science 100%.