Japan Cherry Blossom: Sakura forecast 2021

Spring in Japan

See Cherry Blossom in Japan is one of the most incredible experiences for a Japan Photo Tour. But when to travel to Japan in spring for cherry blossoms? Since the moment you decided to make a Sakura photo tour, you will want to photograph in full bloom. But according to the area you are thinking to visit you will need to know the forecast.

Here is our complete free guide region by region to enjoy the sakura 2021. Enjoy the pink colors of the cherry blossom and contact us if you have any doubt. Our guides will glad to help you.

View of mountain Fuji and Chureito Pagoda during Sakura
Fujiyoshida, Japan Beautiful view of mountain Fuji and Chureito pagoda at sunset, japan in the spring with cherry blossoms

If you think you can see cherry blossoms anytime during the Japanese spring, you are a little wrong. The full bloom is very limited to a few weeks, so each area will have different data. Even if you think March & April are the best months to see, you are again a little wrong. In some cold areas like Hokkaido, the best month usually it’s in May.

What Sakura means?

Literally, Sakura means Cherry Blossoms. But for the Japanese culture represents also a new period of renewal and optimism for the new spring. In fact, the pink flowers are the National flower of Japan and a symbol of Buddhism as a symbol of the transience of life.

What does Sakura represent in Japan?

Before thinking about your trip, it’s good to know about the history of Sakura or Hanami. Blossom viewing became popular since the Nara period (710-794) when it helps farmers to know it was time to plant their rice crops. It was during the Heian period (794-1185) when the emperor Saga started throwing picnics and flower-viewing parties.

cherry blossom himeji castle

Since that moment, it became a popular event for all Japanese to go out to enjoy the full bloom outside with friends & family. It’s typical, to find references about the Sakura or Hanami in all kinds of Japanese cultural representations. You can find kimonos, dishes, or folding screens among others.

Also in Japanese gastronomy, where you can find a large variety of desserts and dishes to enjoy the Sakura in Japan not only with your eyes. From cookies to rice balls or also drinks. Hanami food deserves another article or at least a full page to talk about it.


Tea Forte Organic Cherry Blossom Green

Best offer on Amazon

What month is cherry blossom in Japan?

To witness the sakura in Japan, the best moment to see cherry blossom goes from early February to late May, according to the region.

It’s difficult to accurately predict the best time to see cherry blossoms since it depends on weather conditions around the spring of the year. But you can prepare a tour according to two ideas: weather and latitude.

what month is the cherry blossom in Nara

In the south of Japan, it usually starts in the middle of March, and in the North, it starts at the start of May. The Japan Golden Route will have the full bloom between the middle of March and the middle of April.

Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan is famous for the earlier Hanami season. It can start in the middle of January and finish in the middle of February.

Opposite, in Hokkaido & Tohoku you will enjoy the last tree pinky colors of Japan. As a tourist destination, we highly recommend visiting these areas as are more unknown. Thanks to this, you will have a real Japanese experience far from tourists.

However, you also must consider the weather in certain areas. For example, the 5 lakes of Fuji, will have his full bloom later than Tokyo city. Even if these two points are close to each other, the weather and conditions can be different. So it will be a good idea to think about this point before you plan your travel.

map sakura forecast 2021

How long does the full bloom of flowers last?

Since the first bloom, the full bloom usually takes around 10 days. So if you are looking for the perfect sakura in Japan you must check the forecast for the full bloom.

The cherry blossom usually lasts between 5-10 days after reaching the full bloom. This depends on weather conditions, so if it’s rainy or windy it can only the last 5 days. If the weather is cold and no windy, it may last more than 10 days.

Is it illegal to pick cherry blossoms in Japan?

Yes, pick the petals that feel down to earth and don’t pluck them for the cherry blossom trees. The law is very clear in this aspect, so respect the culture and the rules. You can bring from the floor, everything you want but don’t destroy the trees.

Where is the best place to see Sakura in Japan?

Any place in Japan it’s a perfect place to enjoy the Sakura. If you can visit Japan just in certain weeks we recommend you to see the table & images belong to choose your itinerary. Anyway, you will enjoy the cherry blossom from the mountains to the main cities, passing from the countrysides all around the country.

Choose the best places in Japan to see cherry blossom is a really difficult task. The full country is plenty of big and small places where you can really live a unique experience.

The country during the peak of the blooming seasons is full of festivals. People go out for a picnic at any place around the country. Japan doesn’t have a place where you not will enjoy it.

cherry blossom season japan 2021

Here is our list of 10 best places to see cherry blossom in Japan during 2021 from South to North! But before you will find a list of some important Sakura Festivals in some of this best spots.

Hanami Festivals

During this period you can visit thousand of sakura festivals all around the country.

Here is our list of the best Hanami cherry blossom festivals all around Japan:

  • The Chiyoda Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Festival celebrates every year between late March and early April.
  • Naha Sakura Festival is celebrated in Okinawa in the middle of February.
  • One of the best festivals all around Japan is the Himeji Castle Sakura Festival. Usually ends in the second week of April.
  • In Tokyo, don’t miss the Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival. You can expect crowds, but it’s worth a picnic there.
  • Okayama is famous for the Tsuyama Sakura Matsuri (Festival) around the Tsuyama Castle.
  • If you visit Hokkaido in Spring, don’t miss the Matsumae Sakura festival.

Best places in Japan to see cherry blossom

Nakameguro, Tokyo

Nakameguro is considered one of the best neighborhoods of Tokyo to enjoy the sakura in Japan. The canal that crosses the district, is covered during this season by a line of more than 800 cherry trees. During Nakameguro Sakura Festival at night, are illuminated creating a magical atmosphere. Your visit to Tokyo not will be completed if you don’t visit this canal during the evening!

  • Estimated best viewing: The festival is planned from March 23rd to April 10th
  • How to get there: Get off at Nakameguro Station on the Toyoko Line and Hibiya Line. The area is also a short walk from Daikanyama Station.
Cherry blossom lined Meguro Canal at night in Tokyo, Japan. Spri

Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo

We could say that this park is a must-visit during your spring travel to Tokyo for several reasons. First, have a thousand of cherry trees in the middle of Tokyo. Second, it’s a perfect place both to go late or early during the blooming season. Third, is located only ten-minute walking from Shinjuku Station, one of the main train stations in Tokyo.

  • Estimated best viewing: Mid March to early April
  • How to get there: The park is just 10 minutes’ walk from Shinjuku Station.
Shinjuku Gyoen during sakura

Chureito Pagoda, Fuji Five Lakes

Probably the most famous location for photographers all around the world in Japan. Chureito Pagoda offers the perfect view during the Sakura in Japan with Mt Fuji in the background. Anyway, tripods are not allowed to use for no logical reason… But there is always a way to avoid this problem. It’s better to visit during the morning, as probably during sunset the place will be full of tourists. So it not will be so easy to get the photo you are looking for during the day.

  • Estimated best viewing: From late March to mid April
  • How to get there: Chureito Pagoda is 20 minutes’ walk from Shimo-Yoshida Station.
  • Best hotels around Chureito Pagoda
Best places in Japan to see cherry blossom

Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto

This 2-kilometer path is one of the most beautiful spots in Kyoto. During all the way following the canal, you will be cover by hundreds of cherry trees in the middle of Kyoto. The Philosopher’s Path became famous thanks to Nishida Kitaro, a Japanese philosopher, that used to walk and practice meditation in this path.

  • Estimated best viewing: Late March to mid April
  • How to get there: Get off at Miyanomaecho subway station. It takes around 30 minutes to walk around.
philosopher's path during sakura
Photo by Trevor Dobson

Expo 70 Commemorative Park, Osaka

More than 5,000 cherry trees fill the park, doing this spot one of the most populate all around Japan. Constructed for the 1970 World Exhibition and located in the north of Osaka. Here you will enjoy the architecture of the Exhibition to Japanese gardens.

  • Estimated best viewing: Late March to mid April
  • How to get there: Take the Osaka Monorail to Banpaku Kinen Koen Station.
  • Best hotels in Osaka
expo 70 commemorative park cherry blossom
Photo by Art Huang

Kumamoto Castle, Kumamoto

Located in Kumamoto city is one of the three best castles in Japan. Like other castles in Japan, its surrounded by hundreds of cherry trees. During the full bloom create an impressive contrast with the black exterior. It was built around 400 years ago, and the grand figure of the castle’s black exterior is truly impressive.

  • Estimated best viewing: Late March to the start of April
  • How to get there: From JR Kumamoto Station, get off at Kumamotojo-mae tram stop. From Kumamoto Station to the castle is about 30 minutes walking.
  • Best hotels in Kumamoto
kumamoto castle sakura best places

Mount Yoshino (Nara)

Mount Yoshino is the historical place to view the cherry blossom. The first cherry blossom trees were planted over 1300 years ago, and now you will find over 30,000 in the area. The shrines, temples, and parks in Mount Yoshino help this place to create a picturesque view. You can’t miss on your trip to Japan during spring.

  • Estimated best viewing: Late March to early May
  • How to get there: Take a shuttle bus to visit the area, they run between Yoshino Station and the Naka Senbon area.
  • Best hotels in Nara
nara valley cherry blossom

Matsugasaki Park, Yamagata

Matsugasaki Park, located in Yonezawa, Yamagata prefecture, is a park built on the former site of Yonezawa Castle. 200 sakura trees surrounding the moat bloom in spring, attracting many visitors. The reflection of the cherry blossoms on the moat surface, and the petals floating on it, is truly a sight to behold.

  • Estimated best viewing: From mid- to late April.
  • How to get there: Get off at JR Yonezawa Station, from here is only 10 minutes walking.
  • Best hotels in Yamagata
matsugasaki park during sakura
Photo by annintofu

Mifuneyama Rakuen Park, Saga

Here you not will also enjoy the sakura trees illuminated in the nighttime, also you will find over 20,000 azaleas. The Mifuneyama Rakuen (The Paradise of Mt. Mifune), located in Takeo, is one of the best places in Japan to see cherry blossom. Here you can also enjoy all seasonal changes in the scenery. If you are looking to capture dreamy photos, you must visit this incredible park.

  • Estimated best viewing: Around late March to first days of April
  • How to get there: You can take a bus at Takeo-Onsen Station on the JR Sasebo Line. Get off at Mifuneyama Rakuen stop, and walk for a minute. Or you can just take a 5 minutes taxi from the station.
  • Best hotels in Saga
Mifuneyama Rakuen Park during sakura

Hikone Castle, Hikone

Another castle to finish our list… Parks are great spots to enjoy the sakura in Japan, but castles will give you the perfect photo to capture the essence of this phenomenon. Located close to Kyoto and Nagano, is a must-visit in your trip to Japan.

  • Estimated best viewing: Late March to middle April
  • How to get there: The castle is located just 10 minutes walking from the train station.
  • Best hotels in Hikone
Hikone castle best spot for cherry blossom

As we say at the start of the post, there is no wrong place in Japan to enjoy the sakura. This list represents a great spots for photographers. But if you are going to visit a certain area, you will find hundreds of beauty spots.

We wanted to make a shortlist we couldn’t include other places. Here could be locations as Himeji, Osaka, Matsumoto, Takato, or parks as Nishiyama, Takada, or Suzuka as an example. Without mention all places in Tokyo & Kyoto that during the cherry blossom look amazing.

Check out our map with our 10 best places in Japan to enjoy the Hanami. Also, you can find some of these other spots which we didn’t include in this list.

Sakura forecast 2021: Calendar to See Cherry Blossom in Japan by region

Using the last cherry blossom forecast, you can check the estimated data based on average best viewing times from previous years. Therefore, it can help you to prepare for your trip, as it helps to prepare our Photo Tour to Japan

cherry blossom season japan 2021

When is the cherry blossom season in Japan 2021?

You can check here the Calendar of the Sakura Forecast 2021 by Cherry Blossom viewing dates update.

As you can see in 2021, the Sakura was earlier than usual. With an average of more than 10 days before the previous year. It means, that next year can be later but it will depend on the winter weather.

PrefectureLocationForecasted flowering dateFlowering deviation (days)Forecasted peak bloom dateFull bloom deviation (days)Flowering date in average year
HokkaidoSapporo4/22-114/26-65/3
AomoriAomori4/13-114/17-124/24
MiyagiSendai3/28-143/31-164/11
TokyoTokyo3/14-123/22-123/26
IshikawaKanazawa3/23-123/29-124/4
NaganoNagano3/29-154/1-164/13
AichiNagoya3/17-53/28-63/26
KyotoKyoto3/16-123/26-103/28
OsakaOsaka3/19-93/28-83/28
WakayamaWakayama3/18-73/27-83/26
HiroshimaHiroshima3/11-133/25-103/27
KochiKochi3/15-73/2373/22
FukuokaFukuoka3/12-113/22-113/23
KagoshimaKagoshima3/17-93/30-53/26
Source: Japan Weather Association (http://tenki.jp) Note: The forecast is subject to change due to weather conditions.*Dates in italics indicate blossoms have bloomed.

Check this report often for further updates to the Sakura 2021 forecast.

2021 forecast can have different dates. So you can get an idea of the Sakura days with the past 10 years data in the main cities:

HISTORICAL SAKURA IN TOKYO

YearDate of first bloomDate of peak bloom
201921-Mar27-Mar
201817-Mar24-Mar
201721-Mar2-Apr
201621-Mar31-Mar
201523-Mar29-Mar
201425-Mar30-Mar
201316-Mar22-Mar
201231-Mar6-Apr
201128-Mar6-Apr
201022-Mar1-Apr

HISTORICAL SAKURA IN KYOTO

YearDate of first bloomDate of peak bloom
201927-Mar6-Apr
201822-Mar28-Mar
201731-Mar7-Apr
201623-Mar2-Apr
201527-Mar1-Apr
201427-Mar2-Apr
201322-Mar30-Mar
20123-Apr9-Apr
201128-Mar7-Apr
201019-Mar1-Apr

HISTORICAL SAKURA IN OSAKA

YearDate of first bloomDate of peak bloom
201927-Mar4-Apr
201820-Mar26-Mar
201730-Mar6-Apr
201623-Mar1-Apr
201526-Mar1-Apr
201427-Mar2-Apr
201321-Mar29-Mar
20122-Apr9-Apr
201131-Mar7-Apr
201021-Mar4-Apr

HISTORICAL SAKURA IN KAGOSHIMA

YearDate of first bloomDate of full bloom
201925-Mar9-Apr
201817-Mar29-Mar
20175-Apr15-Apr
201627-Mar6-Apr
201521-Mar31-Mar
201420-Mar31-Mar
201315-Mar26-Mar
201226-Mar5-Apr
201123-Mar5-Apr
201023-Mar6-Apr

HISTORICAL SAKURA IN NAGOYA

YearDate of first bloomDate of peak bloom
201922-Mar4-Apr
201819-Mar27-Mar
201728-Mar6-Apr
201619-Mar31-Mar
201521-Mar30-Mar
201424-Mar31-Mar
201319-Mar28-Mar
201230-Mar6-Apr
201127-Mar6-Apr
201018-Mar2-Apr

HISTORICAL SAKURA IN SAPPORO

YearDate of first bloomDate of full bloom
201924-Apr29-Apr
201826-Apr29-Apr
201728-Apr3-May
201625-Apr1-May
201522-Apr26-Apr
201429-Apr1-May
201313-May17-May
20121-May4-May
20117-May12-May
20107-May14-May

HISTORICAL SAKURA IN SENDAI

YearDate of first bloomDate of peak bloom
20195-Apr10-Apr
201830-Mar4-Apr
20177-Apr13-Apr
20161-Apr6-Apr
20153-Apr9-Apr
20147-Apr11-Apr
20139-Apr15-Apr
201218-Apr23-Apr
201112-Apr15-Apr
201013-Apr21-Apr

We hope this post helps you to prepare your travel to see the cherry blossom in Japan. Likewise, if you want to join us during our Cherry Blossom photo tour, we will help you to capture the best photos. You will be able to visit & photograph places as Mount Fuji, Matsumoto, Kyoto, Koyasan & Tokyo. Come with us during the best weeks to photograph the sakura in Japan.

Chureito Pagoda & Fuji in Spring, Japan

Sakura Photo Workshop 

From 3,850€  3,595€ 
15 days  
Tokyo  
Min Age : 18+  
Max People : 8  
 
Photograph the Sakura with our professional guides. Tokyo, Kyoto, Mount Fuji... the best of Japan in 15 days.
 
 
 
Eduardo Fuster
About the author

Eduardo Fuster is a Spanish photographer based in Russia. Graduate in Art & Design and specialized in video & photography. More than 15 years of experience working for advertisement, tv, cinema, real estate & stock agencies.

Leave a Reply