Japanese Hanami Reference Guide: 2018 Edition

27.January.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

Wintertime closure draws close, and soon the cherry blossoms (sakura in Japanese) will be in full bloom in Japan.


Today, we will take a look at last year’s regional data for Japan’s cherry blossom front.

*Source: Japan Meteorological Agency



Visit Okinawa to see the cherry blossoms bloom early from January
Okinawa’s cherry blossom season runs from January through February. The hikanzakura flower is one different from the Japan’s mainland cherry blossom and glares a deep pink colour like peaches and Japanese ume. Its characteristic is its tendency to bloom downwards.


Hanami in Okinawa is celebrated differently than mainland Japan. You won’t see people setting up chairs to eat picnics and drink sake in Okinawa. Enjoy your Hanami in Okinawa by strolling through the tunnels of cherry blossom trees and taking photos.

2016 – First Bloom: January 14th | Full Bloom: February 8th
2017 – First Bloom: January 18th | Full Bloom: February 4th




The nation-wide peak bloom time in Japan is March.

The Kyushu region of Japan has warm weather, so fully bloomed cherry blossoms appear earlier there than in Tokyo. “Nishi Park” in Fukuoka is a recommended spot by locals to enjoy Hanami where almost 1,300 cherry blossom trees stand beautifully. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that every Fukuoka citizen has been to Nishi Park at least once.

2016 – First Bloom: March 25th | Full Bloom: April 5th
2017 – First Bloom: March 23rd | Full Bloom: April 1st



Kyoto is generally more crowded during the sakura season because of tourists and sightseers. The streets of Kyoto have a deep-rooted history, and the spectacular view of them lined with cherry blossom trees is a popular sight to see. You can also enjoy the cherry blossoms at night, a completely different Hanami experience, as temples and such are lit up as night falls.

2016 – First Bloom: March 31st | Full Bloom: April 7th
2017 – First Bloom: March 28th | Full Bloom: April 5th



Each year, the cherry blossoms in Osaka bloom around the same time as in Kyoto. Osaka Castle Park was chosen as one of the 100 best places to see cherry blossoms in Japan, where you can encounter a fascinating sight of both a castle and cherry blossoms in the same place.

2016 – First Bloom: March 30th | Full Bloom: April 6th
2017 – First Bloom: March 28th | Full Bloom: April 5th


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There are many Hanami spots to visit in Nagoya, from inner-city parks to tree-lined streets and avenues. There are also food stalls set up so you can enjoy food and flowers to your heart’s content.


2016 – First Bloom: March 28th | Full Bloom: April 6th
2017 – First Bloom: March 26th | Full Bloom: April 3rd


Tokyo is absolutely brimming with fantastic Hanami spots, a lot of which are very close to train stations, making them easily accessible. The hugely popular Meguro River and Inokashira Park are always bustling with people around this season.


2016 – First Bloom: March 21st | Full Bloom: April 2nd
2017 – First Bloom: March 26th | Full Bloom: April 3rd




Flowers bloom from early April in the Tohoku region
The cherry blossoms come out much later in the Tohoku Region compared to other regions around Japan. In places where the sea level is high, you can also enjoy the flowers in May. One of the most famous locations is Miharu Takizakura in Fukuoka Prefecture. Recognized as one of Japan’s 3 biggest cherry trees and a designated national treasure, the tree stands at a towering 12 meters tall, and the cherry blossom bloomed branches stick out almost double that on each side. This 1,000 year old tree is a must-see.


2016 – First Bloom: April 10th | Full Bloom: April 14th
2017 – First Bloom: April 11th | Full Bloom: April 16th




Cherry blossoms appear late April in Hokkaido
In Hokkaido, you can look forward to seeing a variety of different sakura, from the nation-wide Yoshino Cherry to the deep-pink Sargent’s cherry and chishimazakura, whose colour changes across the cherry blossom season from the first bloom to full bloom. And if you’re lucky enough to be there when snow falls out of season, you’ll have the amazing opportunity to see a magical scene of snowy sakura.


2016 – First Bloom: April 28th | Full Bloom: May 3rd
2017 – First Bloom: May 3rd | Full Bloom: May 7th



Did you enjoy this list? If you’re travelling to Japan for Hanami then be sure to use this article for reference.