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See Cherry Blossom in Japan: Sakura forecast 2021

Spring in Japan

See Cherry Blossom in Japan is one of the most incredible experiences for all kinds of photographers. But when to travel to Japan in spring for cherry blossoms? Since the moment you decided to travel to Japan, you will want to photograph in full bloom, but according to the area you are thinking to visit you will need to choose different data.

sakura forecast see cherry blossom in Japan

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, and as in autumn, 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.

Cherry blossom in Japanese culture

Before think about our photo tour, its good to know about the history of Sakura. 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, as the maple leaf, to find references about the Sakura in all kinds of Japanese cultural representations as 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 not only with your eyes. From cookies to rice balls or also drinks.

What month is cherry blossom in Japan?

To witness the sakura, the best moment to see cherry blossom in Japan 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.

nara cherry blossom

In the south of Japan, it usually starts in the middle of March, and in the North, it starts at the start of May. Always according to the weather during the last months, you can guess that the central area of Japan (where is the most famous touristic places as Tokyo or Kyoto) the full bloom will be around the middle of March and the middle of April.

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 will be different, so it will be a good idea to think about this point before you plan your travel.

How long does the full bloom last?

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

Where to see Cherry Blossom 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, and people go out for a picnic to any place around the country. As during autumn, Japan doesn’t have a place where you not will enjoy it.

Here is our list of 10 best places to see cherry blossom in Japan during 2021 from South to North!

Best places in Japan to see cherry blossom

  1. Nakameguro, Tokyo
  2. Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo
  3. Chureito Pagoda, Fuji Five Lakes
  4. Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto
  5. Expo 70 Commemorative Park, Osaka
  6. Kumamoto Castle, Kumamoto
  7. Mount Yoshino (Nara)
  8. Matsugasaki Park, Yamagata
  9. Mifuneyama Rakuen Park, Saga
  10. Hikone Castle, Hikone

Nakameguro, Tokyo

Nakameguro is considered one of the best neighborhoods in Tokyo to enjoy the sakura. 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 23th 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 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 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 🤫 Visit during the morning, as probably during sunset the place will be full of tourists and it not will be so easy to get the photo you are looking for.

  • Estimated best viewing: From late March to mid April
  • How to get there: Chureito Pagoda is 20 minutes’ walk from Shimo-Yoshida Station.
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 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 since 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.
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 that 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 early 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.
kumamoto castle sakura best places

Mount Yoshino (Nara)

Mount Yoshino is the historical place to view the cherry blossom. The first cherry 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 that you can’t miss in 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.
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.
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 not only one of the best places in Japan to see cherry blossom, but also you can 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 early 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.
Mifuneyama Rakuen Park during sakura

Hikone Castle, Hikone

Another castle to finish our list… parks are great spots to enjoy the sakura, 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 if you arrive in the early April to Japan.

  • Estimated best viewing: Late March to early April
  • How to get there: The castle is located just 10 minutes walking from the train station.
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.

As we wanted to make a short list we couldnt include places as Himeji, Osaka, Matsumoto, Takato or parks as Nishiyama, Takada or Suzuka as example. Without mention all places in Tokyo & Kyoto that during the cherry blossom looks amazing.

Check out our map with our 10 best places in Japan to see cherry blossom and some of these other spots which didn’t include in this list.

2021 forecast to see Cherry Blossom in Japan by region

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

2020 sakura forecast Japan map

This year the sakura generally was early than usual. Here is the difference with previous years:

RegionpointExpected flowering dateNormal difference
(Day)
Last year 
(Day)
Expected full bloom dateNormal difference
(Day)
Last year 
(Day)
Osaka PrefectureOsaka city03/23-5-404/03-2-1
KyotoKyoto03/22-6-503/30-6-7
Nara
Prefecture
Nara city03/26-3-304/03-2-2
Aichi PrefectureNagoya City03/22-4004/01-2-3
Nagano
Prefecture
Matsumoto city03/28-13-1004/09-6-7
TokyoChiyoda03/14-7-Four03/22-12-5
Yamanashi PrefectureKofu City03/22-5-504/02-1-5
Aomori PrefectureAomori04/12-12-604/17-12-5
Yamagata PrefectureYamagata04/03-12-904/09-Ten-8
Fukuoka PrefectureFukuoka city03/21-2004/02-14
DooSapporo04/22-11-204/25-12-4
Wakayama PrefectureWakayama City03/22-4-303/31-4-1
Kagoshima PrefectureKagoshima city04/01+6+704/07+3+2

When is the cherry blossom forecast in Japan 2021?

You can check here the Sakura Forecast 2021 by Sakura viewing dates update:

HokkaidoForecast of first bloomForecast of full bloom
Sapporo (Hokkaido)25-Apr 202028-Apr 2020
Muroran (Hokkaido)29-Apr 20204-May 2020
Hakodate (Hokkaido)23-Apr 202027-Apr 2020
TohokuForecast of first bloomForecast of full bloom
Aomori (Aomori)17-Apr 202021-Apr 2020
Akita (Akita )8-Apr 202015-Apr 2020
Morioka (Iwate)14-Apr 202020-Apr 2020
Yamagata (Yamagata )3-Apr 20209-Apr 2020
Sendai (Miyagi)28-Mar 20203-Apr 2020
Fukushima (Fukushima )28-Mar 20201-Apr 2020
KantoForecast of first bloomForecast of full bloom
Tokyo (Tokyo)14-Mar 202022-Mar 2020
Choshi (Chiba)27-Mar 20203-Apr 2020
Yokohama (Kanagawa)18-Mar 202028-Mar 2020
Mito (Ibaraki)21-Mar 202031-Mar 2020
Utsunomiya (Tochigi)21-Mar 20202-Apr 2020
Maebashi (Gunma)19-Mar 202026-Mar 2020
Kumagaya (Saitama)18-Mar 202025-Mar 2020
Nagano (Nagano )2-Apr 20208-Apr 2020
ChubuForecast of first bloomForecast of full bloom
Kofu (Yamanashi)22-Mar 20202-Apr 2020
Niigata (Niigata)1-Apr 20207-Apr 2020
Toyama (Toyama )27-Mar 20203-Apr 2020
Kanazawa (Ishikawa)26-Mar 20201-Apr 2020
Fukui (Fukui )25-Mar 202031-Mar 2020
Nagoya (Aichi)22-Mar 20201-Apr 2020
Shizuoka (Shizuoka)27-Mar 20205-Apr 2020
Gifu (Gifu )21-Mar 20201-Apr 2020
KansaiForecast of first bloomForecast of full bloom
Tsu (Mie)25-Mar 202031-Mar 2020
Osaka (Osaka)23-Mar 20203-Apr 2020
Hikone (Shiga)27-Mar 20205-Apr 2020
Kyoto (Kyoto)22-Mar 202030-Mar 2020
Kobe (Hyogo)26-Mar 20204-Apr 2020
Nara (Nara )26-Mar 20204-Apr 2020
Wakayama (Wakayama )22-Mar 202031-Mar 2020
ChugokuForecast of first bloomForecast of full bloom
Hiroshima (Hiroshima)22-Mar 20202-Apr 2020
Okayama (Okayama )24-Mar 202031-Mar 2020
Matsue (Shimane)23-Mar 202030-Mar 2020
Tottori (Tottori )23-Mar 202031-Mar 2020
Shimonoseki (Yamaguchi)24-Mar 20204-Apr 2020
ShikokuForecast of first bloomForecast of full bloom
Takamatsu (Kagawa)23-Mar 20204-Apr 2020
Tokushima (Tokushima )27-Mar 20207-Apr 2020
Matsuyama (Ehime)25-Mar 20206-Apr 2020
Kochi (Kochi )24-Mar 20202-Apr 2020
KyushuForecast of first bloomForecast of full bloom
Fukuoka (Fukuoka)21-Mar 20202-Apr 2020
Oita (Oita )25-Mar 20204-Apr 2020
Nagasaki (Nagasaki)24-Mar 20204-Apr 2020
Saga (Saga )23-Mar 20202-Apr 2020
Kumamoto (Kumamoto )23-Mar 20203-Apr 2020
Miyazaki (Miyazaki )25-Mar 20204-Apr 2020
Kagoshima (Kagoshima)1-Apr 20207-Apr 2020
OkinawaForecast of first bloomForecast of full bloom
Naha (Okinawa)6-Jan 20203-Feb 2020
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.

Also, as 2021 can have different datas, you can get an idea of the Sakura days with the past 10 years datas in the main cities:

HISTORICAL SAKURA IN TOKYO

YearDate of first bloomDate of full 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 full 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 full 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 full 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 full 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
map sakura forecast 2021

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 photo tour, you will be able to visit & photograph places as Mount Fuji, Matsumoto, Kyoto, Koyasan & Tokyo during the best weeks to photograph the sakura in Japan.

spring Japan photo tour

Spring Japan Photo Tour: Sakura

Join our Japan Photo tour in Spring and 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.
2 Responses
  1. Avatar
    Royal CBD

    Wonderful website you have here but I was curious if you knew of any discussion boards that
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    like to be a part of group where I can get advice from other
    knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

    Many thanks!

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