Japan: Chasing Cherry Blossoms

Visiting Japan in the spring has been on top of my bucket list for the longest time.  So when I was able to go last year, I could not believe that it was finally happening. Why was I being specific about this season? It’s because at this time of year, Japan is covered by millions of cherry blossoms. It’s as if the whole country turns pink. I know Japan is already aesthetically beautiful but seeing it wrapped in a white pink billowing hue just made it even better.

Sakura or cherry trees start to blossom as early as January in Okinawa, the country’s southernmost part and as late as May in Hokkaido which is up north. Since it was my first time in Japan,  I stayed in the popular cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. My hanami (flower viewing) adventure began in Tokyo on the last week of March.

Tokyo

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Where to go:

The best place to view cherry blossoms in Tokyo is in the popular Ueno Park. Thousands of cherry trees lined up for your eyes and for a perfect photo. Be prepared for the crowd and don’t forget your selfie stick!

Must have:

When in Ueno Park, look for the ice cream trucks in the area and try the sakura flavored ice cream!

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Osaka

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Where to go:

Osaka Castle Park has it all. Cherry blossoms AND Japanese history. This park is Osaka’s most popular spot for hanami. Make sure to enjoy the walk from the park’s entrance up to the castle. Beautiful cherry trees can be seen lining up the whole way. It’s hard to resist the temptation of lingering longer than usual for photo ops. The park itself is free but admission to the castle has a small fee.

Kyoto

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Where to go:

Meandering the  streets of Old Kyoto was an amazing experience. The cherry trees are scattered everywhere but if you keep following the pink petals, you will soon be led to some of the most beautiful and unexpected corners of Kyoto. That’s what happened to me. I enjoyed exploring the traditional shops and as soon as I saw those pink hues, I didn’t hesitate to follow them. It led me to the best secret sakura spot.

If you ever venture to Japan, consider going in the spring time. I promise you won’t regret it!

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Jen is a Chicago-based traveler and a full-time Director of Development for an arts & culture organization. Originally from Connecticut, she created Angel of Wanderlust as a place to share her travel stories and photos with friends and family. Now, it is a place for adventurers, explorers and dreamers. Its purpose is to inspire and encourage people to see the world and achieve a better work-life balance.