9 Ways to Take In Cherry Blossom Season Around the World

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From Hirosaki Castle in Japan to Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park, discover the best locations for cherry blossom season.

Cherry blossoms, also known as sakuras, are symbolic flowers that mark the arrival of spring. The national flower of Japan is often seen as a metaphor for life itself – unpredictable, yet beautiful (the viewing window typically lasts only a week to a week and a half). The Japanese have a tradition called hanami that involves admiring the blooms and perhaps even picnicking beneath them. We’ve rounded up some of the world’s top destinations for viewing the annual surge of sakuras, both in‑person and online.

April 1, 2021
The cherry blossoms in front of Hirosaki Castle in Japan
   Photo: Nien Tran Dinh (Pexels)
  1. Cherry Blossom Season in Japan: Hirosaki Castle —

    These 2,600 trees – located next to a castle in a park in the city of Hirosaki – could be plucked from a fairy tale. The site is one of the best spots to observe cherry blossoms in Japan. There are two great times to visit: during yozakura, which translates to “cherry blossoms at night,” when the castle and trees are illuminated; and as the soft‑pink petals begin to fall from the trees in early May, creating a sakura carpet.
     
    Peak viewing: End of April

People enjoying the cherry blossoms at Toronto's High Park
   Photo: Steven Joniak
  1. Cherry Blossom Season in Toronto: High Park —

    Japanese Ambassador to Canada, Toru‑Hagiwara, gifted 2,000 Japanese Somei‑Yoshino sakura trees to Toronto in 1959, in appreciation of the city’s acceptance of relocated Japanese‑Canadians following the Second World War. Many of the trees were planted on the hillside overlooking Grenadier Pond. High Park also has native cherry trees, black cherry trees (Prunus serotina) and pin cherry trees (Prunus pensylvanica). Take part in the beloved spring tradition and try to identify the different types of trees by checking out the virtual streams: Sakura Watch or BloomCam.
     
    Peak viewing: Late April to early May

Cherry blossom trees along the waterfront at Tidal Basin in Washington D.C.
   Photo: National Cherry Blossom Festival
  1. Cherry Blossom Season in Washington, D.C.: Tidal Basin —

    Yoshino cherry and Kwanzan cherry trees line the reservoir, offering a stunning contrast between the white‑pink petals and blue waters. For a live view of the cherry trees, watch the BloomCam or engage in the Virtual Tidal Basin Tour and step onto the grounds to explore 5.3 kilometres via an interactive map and a video of a National Park Service ranger offering the history and secrets of the memorial‑surrounded landmark. For an in‑person experience, wander the Art in Bloom collection that features a vibrant collection of 26 oversized cherry blossom statues, each one painted by a local artist.
     
    Peak viewing: Early April

Tall pink cherry blossom trees line a pathway in Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver
   Photo: Annie Ma Richmond
  1. Cherry Blossom Season in Vancouver: Queen Elizabeth Park —

    Located on top of Little Mountain, the 130‑acre park is where groups gather every spring to picnic under the canopy of pink cherry blossoms in celebration of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. This year, the 15th anniversary will feature a virtual event lineup, including an educational video called BLOOM! and Sakura at Home, a virtual fundraiser for CanadaHelps, showcasing diverse talented chefs offering a farm‑to‑table, three‑course takeout meal.
     
    Peak viewing: Early April

A person walks under the arches of the cherry blossom trees at Bispebjerg Cemetery in Copenhagen
   Photo: Malthe Zimakoff
  1. Cherry Blossom Season in Copenhagen: Bispebjerg Cemetery —

    One of the most whimsical displays of fluffy flowers is found at a rather unlikely location, the Bispebjerg Cemetery, thanks to a tree‑lined pathway that creates a tunnel of pink blossoms. Spread across 106 acres of land, the cemetery also has plenty of greenery. Since it is predominantly a graveyard, it is important to be mindful that many visit to mourn and seek spiritual solitude.
     
    Peak viewing: April

Cherry blossom trees line the pathway to a fountain at Macon in Georgia
   Photo: Dark Rush Photography
  1. Cherry Blossom Season in Georgia, U.S.: Macon —

    The city of Macon turns pink every March as a whopping 350,000‑plus Yoshino cherry trees – dispersed across a trail of neighbourhoods, avenues and locations  – blossom. The annual ten‑day Cherry Blossom Festival was entirely outdoors this year, with events including a Family Movie Night set beneath the blossoms in Carolyn Crayton Park and Bike the City Pink. Tune in virtually through the Bloom Cam, set up at Wesleyan College for live blossoming.
     
    Peak viewing: Late March

Lush pink cherry blossom trees line a street of white buildings in Heerstrasse, Bonn, Germany
   Photo: Phil King (Flickr)
  1. Cherry Blossom Season in Germany: Heerstrasse, Bonn —

    Nestled in the neighbourhood of Nordstadt in the city of Bonn is Heerstrasse, also known as Cherry Blossom Avenue. With white architecture and blooming bright‑pink sakura trees lining both sides of the cobblestone street – and filling the air with a delightful floral scent – it is one of the top travel‑worthy cherry blossom destinations.
     
    Peak viewing: Early April

Cherry blossom trees along a wide path at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York
   Photo: Pascale Amez
  1. Cherry Blossom Season in New York: Brooklyn Botanic Garden —

    Check out the Flowering Cherry Collection to learn about the 26 different species of cherry trees within Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Then, go on a virtual walking visit through the garden for a serene experience created by cinematographer Nic Petry, complete with the sounds of wind blowing through the trees, birds chirping, the sun peeking through the branches and a lovely display of the gardens’ standout weeping Higan cherries.
     
    Peak viewing: Early April

White cherry blossom trees dot the fields of Jerte Valley in Spain
   Photo: Teo Romera (Flickr)
  1. Cherry Blossom Season in Spain: Jerte Valley —

    Each spring in western Spain, a million and a half sakura trees bloom across the remote, under‑the‑radar field of Extremadura (which literally translates to “the land of the outskirts of Douro”) in the Valle Del Jerte. The cherry trees are at different elevations throughout the valley, so the flowers bloom at different times – the trees at a lower elevation will show their white flowers first while those at a higher, colder elevation bloom slightly later in the season.
     
    Peak viewing: Late March to early April