Japan is one of those places you should definitely plan before you visit – there’s so many different cities to visit, that it can get overwhelming if you just try and wing it. For our family, there were 2 things we wanted to do: ski and view the cherry blossoms.
Visiting Japan’s Cherry Blossoms With Kids
When to Visit: Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival
Visiting Japan’s cherry blossoms with kids is something we highly recommend doing, which is why we planned our trip to Japan around the Cherry Blossom Festival. The cherry blossom festival, also known as hanami, is an important time for the Japanese as the festival celebrates the onset of spring in the region.
Depending on the year, the cherry trees come into bloom anywhere from mid to late-March to the beginning of April. We arrived in Tokyo the 1st week of March with hopes of viewing loads of cherry blossoms. Unfortunately, when we visited Ueno Park, one of the most famous places to visit in Tokyo for cherry blossoms, it was practically empty. No cherry blossoms in sight!
Luckily, we were scheduled to fly to Hokkaido to go skiing and would return to Tokyo two weeks later, which is when people anticipated the cherry blossoms to be in peak bloom.
Cherry Blossoms in Peak Bloom in Tokyo
Viewing Cherry Blossoms at Ueno Park
From Wikipedia, the “cherry blossom is the flower of several different trees of genus Prunus, particularly the Japanese cherry, Prunus serrulata, which is called sakura after the Japanese (桜 or 櫻; さくら). Cherry blossoms are is speculated to be native to the Himalayas.” Two weeks passed and we returned to Ueno Park with the cherry blossoms at almost 75% in full bloom. It was truly a sight to see, and something everyone should experience in their lifetime.
The last week of our vacation, from 25th March to 30th March, our street in Tokyo was filled with sakura flowers overhead.
One of the best things about cherry blossom season in Japan is all the wonderful desserts and foods you get to sample. From Sakura-mochi (cherry blossom rice cake), gum, ice cream, to sakura-flavored lattes from Starbucks, we must have tried them all!
The Best Places to see the Cherry Blossoms in Japan
Cherry blossom viewing or Hanami, literally means “flower viewing” and is very popular in Japan. Hanami can be either a walk in the park, but more traditionally, it involves a picnic under the blooming trees. Hanami picnics or “parties” have been held in Japan for many centuries. Today the public and private gardens across the country can get very crowded, with the best picnic spots fought after.
Here’s a list of all the best viewing spots for cherry blossoms in Japan.
So if you’re looking for something to add to your bucket list for family travel, the annual Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival is definitely one of them.
Check out the rest of our kid-friendly Japan series!