After the Chinese New Year Spirits, Spring has arrived around the globe, bringing with it the sprout of vibrant pastels. Following suit, it is the season of cherry blossoms. Catching the endearing clouds of white and pink petals remained to be a popular activity on a traveler’s bucket list, and for good reasons. From the Insta-worthy shots to the aura of romance filling the air, cherry blossom viewing is never an overrated experience.

At least, not if you know the best places to get your prime shot with the cherry trees. ShopBack puts together a list of the best to check out if you’re in the area or if you are looking for a spot to satisfy your Spring wanderlust. From local favorites to lesser-known places, there is bound to be one that fits your tastes.

There is no fixed formula for predicting when the cherries bloom, as peak bloom periods are highly dependent on climate changes. The colder the weather is, the later the flowers bloom; on the other hand, warmer weather might push the peak bloom periods forward by 1-2 weeks. So bookmark this page and keep an eye out for updates closer to the blooming dates!

Japan

The land of cherry blossoms, Japan is highly regarded as the place to go for cherry blossom viewing. ‘Hanami’, which translates directly to ‘flower-viewing’, is a traditional activity done by locals year after year. Prepare your picnic mats and lunch boxes at the following places!

1. Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo

Cherry blossoms viewed from the bottom upwards with the blue skies in the background in Shinjuku Gyoen
Image Credits: @erina.__.a | Instagram.com

Home to some dozen varieties of cherry trees, Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) is one of the most popular hanami viewing spots in Tokyo. Due to the staggering blossoming periods between different species, one can enjoy the pink and white petals throughout March and April. Consisting of three different gardens, head towards the English landscape garden, where the sakura are predominantly found.

Do note that an entrance fee (200 yen) is required to enter the park. A security check will be conducted as no alcohol is allowed on the premise. That aside, the 1500 cherry trees across the vast green space is a great, cosy spot for large groups.

  • Best visiting period: Early April
  • Opening Hours: 9am to 4pm
    Closed on Mondays or Tuesday if Monday is a public holiday, except 25 Mar to 24 Apr and 1 Nov to 15 Nov
  • Address: 11 Naito-cho, Shinjuku
  • Directions: For entry via Shinjuku Gate, take the JR Yamanote, Keio or Odakyu lines to Shinjuku station, south exit.
    For entry via Okido Gate, take the Marunouchi line to Shinjuku Gyoen Mae station, exit 2

2. Chidorigafuchi, Tokyo

Cherry blossoms by the moat in Chidorigafuchi
Image Credits: GO TOKYO

The moat earned its name for its close resemblance to Plovers (Chidori). A historic site that existed since early Edo era, the moat runs along the well-known Imperial Palace. Stroll along the Chidorigafuchi park after your visit from the palace or vice-versa for a fully immersive experience. The hanging cherry blossoms on either side of the moat and the pale pinks being reflected in the waters make for a picturesque snapshot.

Enjoy a special cherry blossom viewing experience by renting a paddle boat (1600 yen per hour). Arrive early if possible, as a long waiting time during the peak bloom period is expected. At night, the trees around the moat light up, adding a magical touch to the arena.

  • Best visiting period: Early April
  • Address: Kudan Minami 2-chome—Sanbancho, Chiyoda-ku
  • Directions: 5 minutes walk from either Kudanshita Station Exit 2 or Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Station Exit 5

3. Mount Yoshino, Nara

Blooming Cherry Blossoms in White and Pinks along the Upper Senbon, Mount Yoshino
Image Credits: Yoshino-cho Official

The most famous cherry blossom viewing spot for centuries, Mount Yoshino is home to some 30,000 cherry trees. These trees cover the mountain slope and are divided into four areas, going from base to the top: Shimo Senbon, Naka Senbon, Kami Senbon and Oku Senbon. One can expect the blooming season to start late March to early April, with the lower sections flowering before the higher sections.

For tourists, the Naka Senbon area is probably the most attractive point. Shops, temples, and accommodations could be found, and the Naka Senbon Park near the top is a popular hotspot for picnics in the season. The famous Kinpusenji Temple and Yoshimizu Shrine could be found in this section as well.

  • Best visiting period: Late March to April
  • Address:Yoshino-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara, Japan
  • Directions: Shutter bus services are available during cherry blossom season, operating between Yoshino Station and Naka Senbon area (near Chikurin-in Temple).

4. Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto

Philosopher's path in Kyoto during cherry blossom season, with people admiring the view
Image Credits: Wenjie,
Zhang | Flickr

This two kilometers long stone path that follows part of Lake Biwa Canal is lined with cherry blossoms. Called ‘The Philosopher’s Path’ (Tetsugaku no Michi), it is named after famous philosopher Nishida Kitaro, who supposedly treads this path daily to Kyoto University while practicing meditation. The route is lit at night so you can admire the cherry trees for a few hours past sunset.

Cafes and restaurants are found along the path, so take a break for a light bite before continuing the stroll. Not to be missed is the number of temples and shrines, with small signs directing you off the main path for a quick visit. Among them includes the famed Honen-in. Signs of history and age could be seen with the moss-covered stairs and gate. Visitors would have to pay a toll fee to enter the main hall, opened only in early April and November when the different blossoming flora marked the start of Spring and Autumn.

  • Best visiting period: Early April
  • Address & Directions: Follow the canal between Ginkaku-ji and Nanzen-ji.

South Korea

With the rise of the hallyu wave, Korea is becoming a more well-known spot for travelers, and the cherry blossom season is no exception. Called ‘beot-kkot’ (벗꽃) in Korea, there are many places to catch the sight of these blooming pink flowers from end March to early April period.

5. Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival, Seoul

Cherry Blossoms along the busy roads of Yeongdeungpo
Image Credits: Yeongdeungpo Official

One popular spot to enjoy the view would be over at Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival. Over 1400 cherry blossom lined up along the roads leading to the Han river. Visitors will find the street bustling with activities, as street performers and stall vendors could be found spotted around the area. Grab a snack as you go for a stroll to enjoy the scenic views.

  • Best visiting period: Early April
  • Address: Gukhoe-daero, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
  • Directions: Take Seoul Subway Metro Line 9 to National Assembly Station (국회의사당역)

6. Kyunghee University, Seoul

Cherry blossoms with the gothic Kyung Hee University building in the background
Image Credits: Kyung Hee University

This long-standing university north of Seoul boasts of beautiful cherry blossoms along the paths. Known for their gothic, renaissance style campus, Kyunghee University makes a great backdrop for photo taking with the fluttering cherry blossoms in the air. For history lovers, don’t forget to stop by the museums located in the vicinity. Most notably, the Hye-Jung Museum (혜정박물관) houses old maps on Korea, while the Central Museum (중앙박물관) contains an exhibition on Korean shamanism.

  • Best visiting period: Early April
  • Address: 26 Kyungheedae-ro, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul
  • Directions: Take Seoul Subway Metro Line 1 or the Junang Line to Hoegi Station (회기역)

Taiwan

7. Yangminshan National Park, Taipei

Yangmingshan park with sakura flowers
Image Credits: Yangmingshan National Park

One of the most popular cherry blossom viewing spots, Yangminshan National Park is bursting with life as budding flowers bloom in time to Spring. Besides the anticipated sakura, find camellia, wild peony and more add their colors to the green canvas. Popular spot even for the local, visitors can find activities being held in the park. These include theatre performances, picnics and tours bringing guests on a history trip and more. Hiking and biking trails are available for sports enthusiasts.

Being near Taipei, Yangminshan experience one of the earliest blooms in the vicinity. Sometimes, the cherry trees flower as early as late January, but the safest bet would be in the first two weeks of February.

  • Best visiting period: Early February to March
  • Address: No.1-20, Zhuzihu Rd., Beitou District, Taipei City
  • Directions: Take the MRT to Jiantan Station, continue by Bus Red-5 to Yangmingshan stop. Alternatively, take the Taiwan High-Speed Rail to Taipei Station and then Bus No. 260 to Yangmingshan stop. From there, take Bus No. 108 to Tourist Center stop.

8. Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village Sakura Festival, Nantou

Cherry Blossoms in a vibrant pink-red hue lining up by the sides of the roads of the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village
Image Credits: Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village

Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village hosts the largest Sakura Festival in the Taiwan region. Starting February, 5000 Kwanzan cherry and Fuji cherry start their transformation into pink hues. Being the first – and only – Japan certified cherry blossom location outside of Japan, this spot is not to be missed for the scenic views and activities to enjoy. Festival-goers can even rent kimonos, purchase a souvenir and enjoy performances on-site.

Please note that an entrance fee of roughly NT400 to NT600 per pax would be required. However, promotions are far and many, and avoiding the busy dates such as Chinese New Year period will usually bag you better rates. Near to the Sun Moon Lake, one can also enjoy cherry blossoms for free without entry to the cultural village.

  • Best visiting period: February to March
  • Admission fees: roughly NT400 to NT600 per pax
  • Address: 555, Taiwan, Nantou County, Yuchi Township, 大林村金天巷45號
  • Directions: Take the Nantou Bus from Taichung HSR station or Taichung station

9. Alishan National Scenic Area, Chiayi

Aboriginal couple viewing the cherry blossoms on Alishan
Image Credits: Alishan National Scenic Area Official

Alishan is well-known for its diversity in ecosystems, pulling you into a haven of natural flora. A popular spot for sunrise and sunset viewing, visitor count rises when Spring arrives, sweeping the landscape in a plethora of colors. The few thousands of Cherry trees inclusive, other flowers such as Common Foxglove and Taiwanese Photinia would start blooming as well. In between the different cherry tree species and blooming time, the cherry blossom viewing festival lasts for about a month.

Some of the best spots to enjoy the flowers include the Forestry Bureau Work Station (阿里山工作站), where a century-old Yoshino cherry blossom stands. Word has it that the tree marks the first bloom of the season on Alishan, and has never missed the mark for over twenty years. Also, don’t miss the train tracks (鐵道沿線) as well. The red and white hues of fluttering flowers atop the passing steam train make for the best photography point. There is also the Alishan Sakura Walkway (阿里山櫻木花道), a Japanese-styled path that takes you on a walk under the pink clouds hanging overhead.

  • Best visiting period: Early to mid-March
  • Address: 605, Taiwan, Chiayi County, Alishan Township, 中正村59號
  • Directions: Take the Taiwan Trip Alishan Routes from either Chiayi Train Station or Chiayi High-Speed Rail

China

10. Shanghai Botanic Gardens, Shanghai

Cherry blossoms blooming from the tree in Shanghai Botanic Gardens
Image Credits: 少婕婕 | Weibo.com

Being one of the earliest Chinese botanic gardens to bring in cherry blossoms, they now have over 80 species and 1100 trees planted. The garden divides its cherry tree viewing experience into three different zones and 10 best scenic spots. An entrance fee of RMB15 is required, though the vast space and leisure atmosphere is great for day-goers.

  • Best visiting period: March to April
  • Opening Hours: 7am to 5pm
  • Address: 997 Longwu Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
  • Directions: Take Metro Line 3 to Shilong Rd. Station. Walk south from there to reach the 4th entrance.

11. Summer Palace (頤和園), Beijing

Summer Palace with spring flowers
Image Credits: 雨幽霖 | Weibo.com

The Summer Palace may have started as a luxurious recreational garden, it went on to become the main residence of the royal members. Suffering damages during the wars it had endured, it was restored twice and finally opened to the public in 1924. Now ranked as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Summer Palace retained its popularity among tourists and locals for both its rich history and beautiful scenery. Plum, Peach, and Cherry blossoms bloom one after another through the course of two months starting in February.

An entrance fee of RM30 would be required, but the unique views would be worth the trip. With fluttering petals everywhere, what’s not to say your heart won’t flutter as well?

  • Best visiting period: February to March
  • Opening Hours: 7am to 5pm
  • Address: 19 Xinjiangongmen Rd, Haidian Qu, China, 100000
  • Directions: Entering via the North Palace Gate, take Line 4 to Beigongmen station, exit D and walk west.
    Entry via East Palace Gate, take Line 4/16 to Xiyuan station, exit C2 and walk west.
    Entry via West Gate, take Line 10 to Bagou Station, switching at Western Sububan Line to Yiheyuanximen Station. Walk north at the exit.

12. East Lake Cherry Blossom Park (东湖樱花园), Wuhan, Hubei

Cherry blossoms with the 5-level pagoda in East Lake Cherry Blossom Park in the evening
Image Credits: @louis_liu124 | Instagram.com

Also called the ‘Wuhan Moshan Cherry Blossom Park’, this is one of the two famous spots for cherry blossom viewing. In fact, this park is considered one of the three cherry blossom capitals in the world, after Hirosaki, Japan, and Washington, USA. this is also a great spot for bird watching, with over 200 species found within the park. An admission fee of RMB60 will be required.

  • Best visiting period: Late March to Mid April
  • Opening Hours: 8am to 5.30pm
  • Address: Lumo Rd, Hongshan Qu, Wuhan Shi, Hubei Sheng, China
  • Directions: Take local buses 401/402/413/515/643 and get off at the Cherry Blossom Park.

United Kingdom

13. Kew Gardens, London

Cherry blossom branch in Kew Gardens
Image Credits: Kew Gardens

There’s no shortage of palaces and gardens in Europe, with lots of beautiful places for a stroll in London itself. This spring, head over to Kew Gardens, where you will be welcomed by blooming Japanese cherries as you waltz through the Victoria gate into the Japanese landscape garden. Kew Gardens offers the largest sample of cherry trees for Insta-worthy photos and starts at Kew’s very own Rose Garden passing through the King William’s Temple and Temperate House.

  • Best visiting period: Late March to early April
  • Admission fees: £16 for adults
  • Address: Richmond TW9 3AB, UK
  • Directions: Take the District Line (Richmon branch) or London Overground to Kew Gardens station.

Sweden

14. Kungsträdgården Cherry Blossoms, Stockholm

Cherry Blossoms at Kungsträdgården around the fountain
Image Credits: Kungsträdgården

The pink flowers sprout in central Stockholm, within the famed Kungstradgarden (King’s Garden) Park. Having existed since the era of the middle ages, it gained its name in the 1700s and 1800s. 63 cherry blossoms were planted near the ‘Fountain of Wolodarski’ (unofficial name) area in 1998. Since then nearly 10,000 cherry trees were planted in Stockholm.

The Cherry trees planted down the stretch form an overhead canopy of pink flowers, as the annual Japanese appreciation festival adds a touch of liveliness during Spring. Munch on Japanese snacks as you take in the Spring air.

  • Best visiting period: Mid April to early May
  • Address: Birgit Nilssons allé, 111 47 Stockholm, Sweden
  • Directions: Alight at Kungstradgarden station on the Blue line

Spain

15. Fiesta del Cerezo en Flor, Jerte Valley

Cherry Blossoms and hiking trail in Jerte Valley
Image Credits: Extremadura Turismo

The fully immersive experience is here at Jerte Valley: as the snow from the mountaintop melts away, white peeks its head on the 1 and a half million cherry trees covering the valley. The beauty of the landscape is well-worth the slow trek through the winding path. Just like Mount Yoshino, a staggering bloom could be observed here as well as trees in the lower sections flourish first.

To celebrate the arrival of Spring, the Cherry Blossom Fiesta will be held. Find exhibits, tasting sessions, performances and even guided tours to fully explore the valley. On top of that, a series of outdoor activities such as paragliding, horse riding, and fishing are available, perfect for the sports enthusiasts.

  • Best visiting period: March
  • Address: Mancomunidad de Municipios del Valle del Jerte, Cáceres (Extremadura)
  • Directions: It’s recommended to travel by car from Madrid, Seville or Lisbon. Car ride will span a few hours.

France

16. Champs de Mars, Paris

Cherry blossoms with Eiffel Tower in the background
Image Credits: @mtatravel | Instagram.com

Just a street away from the Eiffel Tower, the open park of Champ de Mars makes for a perfect spot to snap some Insta-worthy travel shots. Cherry trees are sprinkled all around the park, different varieties bringing out both the pink and white blossoms in later March. Due to different blooming periods of the trees, one can expect to spot them till mid-April.

The well-maintained park is free to access and performers are often seen on the lawn. Thus, bring your own picnic mat and soak in the leisure atmosphere under the blossoms as the Eiffel Towel stands majestically in the background.

  • Best visiting period: Mid March to late April
  • Address: Avenue Joseph Bouvard, 75007 Paris, France
  • Directions: The Eiffel Tower is a giveaway sign, with the nearest metro to the gardens being Ecole Militaire station (line 8). It is a 10-minute walk from Bir-Kakeim station (line 6) and a 15-minute walk from Trocadero station (line 9).

United States of America

17. Tidal Basin, Washington D.C.

Pink cherry blossoms at Washingdon DC
Image Credits: National Cherry Blossom Festival

The city of Washington D.C. bursts into shades of white and pink in Spring, thanks to the 3000 Cherry trees planted in the city. These trees are a gift from then-Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo and arrived on USA soil in 1912. No doubt, the Tidal Basin and the Potomac River are the best places to catch them in D.C.

Located near several memorials and monuments, it’s perfect for tourists to catch a glimpse of history after a slow stroll through the basin. Accommodations tend to get full this season, so be sure to book as early as possible. The estimated timing of the blooms has yet to be available, however, the average peak bloom date in the last decade is 1st April.

  • Best visiting period: Late March to early April 
  • Address: Tidal Basin and Ohio Drive NW, Washington DC, DC 20003
  • Directions: Closest stations are Smithsonian (Orange, Silver, and Blue lines) and L’Enfant Plaza (Yellow or Green lines). They are also 5 minutes walk from the National Mall and World War II memorial.

Canada

18. Stanley Park, Vancouver

Cherry blossoms in full bloom in the Stanley Park
Image Credit: Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

Sakura is aplenty in Vancouver during Spring, and one can find them dotted around the streets. Over at Stanley Park, there are four prominent areas for your hanami experience. First up is the Rose Garden, where over a dozen Yoshino cherries could be found. With wide open space, this is great for a picnic outing as well. Following suit are the trees in Japanese Canadian WWI War Memorial, the Devonian Harbour Park and around the Lost Lagoon.

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival will also run around April, bringing activities like cycling along cherry tree routes and a history tour of various gardens.

  • Best visiting period: Early March to late April
  • Address: Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4, Canada
  • Directions: Take TransLink #19 bus, which would stop at Stanley Park Drive and Pipeline Road, and Stanley Park Loop

Singapore

19. Gardens by the Bay

Cherry Blossoms in Gardens by the Bay
Image Credits: Shawn Tan | Unsplash.co

Immersing in the hanami experience does not require big bucks. If traveling out of the country is out of your budget at the moment, why not head to Gardens by the Bay? After two successive Cherry Blossom exhibits in previous years, it is expected to return to the domes in Spring. Keep your eyes peeled for the announcement on their official pages and grab your tickets early!

  • Expected exhibition dates: March
  • Address: 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
  • Directions: Alight at Bayfront MRT Station, take Exit B and follow the underground linkway. Exit and cross either the bridge to get to Gardens by the Bay.

This rounds up our list of places around the globe for your Cherry Blossom fix. Whether you happen to be in the area or specifically on the hunt for these white and pink blooms, don’t forget to bookmark this page. If the spots tickle your fancy, check out some of our travel deals to satisfy your wanderlust.

Have you got any hanami experience to share with us? Leave your stories in the comments below!

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Featured Image Credits: Wenjie, Zhang | Flickr

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