Once a year when Winter falls away to Spring, something remarkable happens in Tokyo. Delicate pink cherry blossoms fill the city in every corner and for locals this is a symbol for how short life really is.
Celebrating cherry blossoms became started during the 1180’s when emperors and members of the Imperial Palace began hosting feasts under the blooming branches. This then became popular with samurai and all members of Japanese society. The tree remain a sacred important cultural symbol in the country, where friends and family gather and have picnics or Hanami during these two weeks of a year.
Hopping on a bike to cycle along the waterways where the sakura or cherry blossom trees are in full bloom is a nice way to spend an afternoon and take it all in. It is quite a spectacular event where not one tree but an entire city is covered in pink cherry trees. Sadly there are no actual cherries after they bloom but the effect is non the less enjoyable.
At night you can stroll thought the parks and the trees are lit up with lanterns or pink lights so you can see the blooms. Visiting this paradise is a once in a lifetime trip and it can be very unpredictable when they will bloom. Sometimes this will be in early March or April depending on how quickly the cool winter temperatures can subside. Seeing them make it all the more special in full bloom as when the buds are just starting to appear you can’t really experience the wonder in full.
BEST SPOTS TO VIEW
Ueno Park & Shinjuku Gyoen Park, Tokyo where over 1,000 cherry trees all lit up at night also
Senkoji Park, Hiroshima
Japan Mint, Osaka a whole 560m avenue of cherry trees
Arashiyama, Tenryu-Ji Temple, Kyoto climb up the Arashiyama mountains to see native Japanese macaques running free at the Iwatayama monkey park.