error_outline IMPORTANT error_outline

Japan isn’t your only option for a stunning spring getaway. Learn where and when you can experience the magic of cherry blossoms in full bloom – at home and overseas.

Source: Getty

If you’ve ever experienced the beauty of cherry blossoms up close, you’ll know their appeal isn’t only because of their soft, subtle pink or white petals; it’s also because their blooming season is fleeting. Yes, they’re here one moment and gone the next, which makes seeing them even more special.  

Want to experience the magic of cherry blossom season for yourself? Here’s how to figure out when and where you can go to catch them in bloom – whether you want to stay closer to home or fly to the other side of the world.  


Discover the best places to experience cherry blossom season:

Here are some of the best cities to visit during cherry blossom season

Mother and baby enjoying cherry blossom season

Source: Getty

#1. Kyoto, Japan

Everyone knows Japan is the country to experience the wonder of cherry blossom season in the flesh – and that includes our Cover-More travellers. Believe it or not, from 2014-2023, over 45,000 of our travellers visited Japan during the peak blooming months. That’s a whole lot of cherry blossom hunting!  

If you’re wondering “when do cherry blossoms bloom in Japan?”, the answer is simple - between  March and May.  

You can catch sakura (the Japanese term for cherry blossoms) in bloom all over Japan, but the historic city of Kyoto is one of the best places to visit if you only have time for one stop during cherry blossom season in Japan. Why?  

The former capital of Japan offers the ultimate pilgrimage for cherry blossom enthusiasts. The city boasts a mind-boggling 1,600 temples and shrines, many surrounded by cherry trees, making it a nature lover’s or photographer's paradise. 

Cherry blossom season in Kyoto

Kyoto's entire calendar revolves around its cherry blossom festival, known locally as Hanami. The city becomes a sea of soft pastel shades with the blooms complementing the traditional wooden architecture.  

  • When: Late March to mid-April
  • What to expect: Rather than one central festival, Kyoto celebrates through a series of Hanami parties in parks, pavilions, and along rivers.
  • Local traditions: Hanami picnics where families and friends gather under the blossoms. 

Peak blooming periods

Plan your visit for late March to early April to catch traditional geisha and maiko in their embroidered black kimonos against the pink petals. The exact dates change slightly each year, so don’t forget to do some research before you book your trip.

Best spots for viewing cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan

  • Maruyama Park is one of Kyoto's most popular spots, with weeping cherry trees and bustling vibe.
  • Philosopher's Path offers a tranquil canal walkway, lined with hundreds of cherry trees, allowing for serene contemplation.
  • Arashiyama’s Togetsukyo Bridge provides a dramatic backdrop to cherry blossoms, with the white Katsura River flowing beneath.

Kyoto's sakura season is also a great time to try various seasonal treats. Traditional wagashi (Japanese confectionery) and cherry blossom flavoured mochi are served in tea ceremonies or sold at street vendors. 

#2. Seoul, South Korea

Korea's capital is a city steeped in tradition while pulsing with a modern beat. Its cherry blossom season is a joyful time, and Seoul’s residents and visitors take full advantage of this natural spectacle.

Cherry blossom season in Seoul  

  • When: Early to mid-April
  • What to expect: Concerts, parades, and festive markets in various locations across the city.
  • Local traditions: Yebisu Market’s special cherry blossoms festival is a foodie's paradise, with an array of street vendors and traditional Korean stalls crafting delicacies.

Peak blooming periods

Spend your mid-April sauntering around Seoul's historic palaces when cherry blossoms are in full bloom, and temperatures are typically mild.

Best spots for viewing cherry blossoms  

  • Yeouido Park has one of the largest concentrations of cherry trees in the city and is home to the Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival.
  • The Han River provides a unique perspective, with cherry blossoms framing the city's skyline.
  • Namsan Mountain is a simply beautiful spot to view the city and cherry blossoms from above.

#3. Paris, France

Lately, Paris has ignited its love affair with the sakura, and tourists flock to the French capital to experience cherry blossom season in Europe.

Cherry blossom season in Paris  

  • When: Late March to early April
  • What to expect: An undercurrent of the traditional French spring festivals with cherry blossoms celebrated in local parks.
  • Local traditions: Luxembourg Gardens' annual spring festivities include music and dance performances that add a French touch to the cherry blossom experience.

Peak blooming periods

Arrive in the last week of March to the first week of April to coincide with cherry blossom peaks and enjoy the delightful Parisian spring weather.

Best spots for viewing cherry blossoms

  • The Parc de Sceaux, a short train ride from central Paris, offers a pastoral setting with cherry tree-lined paths.
  • The Jardin des Plantes, especially the rose garden, is a local favourite for cherry blossom viewing away from tourists.
  • Martigues, a charming Provencal town, hosts a unique Japanese garden interlaced with French elements, creating a serene setting for Hanami.

While in Paris, don’t forget to indulge in the local pastime of flânerie – the act of strolling leisurely, taking in the beauty of the city (and its blossoms) without a strict agenda.

#4. Stockholm, Sweden

Cherry blossoms in Stockholm offer an off-the-beaten-path experience with a unique European twist – perfect for if you have a trip planned during cherry blossom season in Europe.

Cherry blossom season in Stockholm  

  • When: Late April to early May
  • What to expect: Graduation ceremonies, concerts, and traditional dance performances held under blossoming trees.
  • Local traditions: Special Swedish-Japan cultural exchange events offer insight into how two distant cultures have intertwined.

Peak blooming periods

Plan your visit for the second week of April to the first week of May to catch the best of the blooms and the accompanying festivities.

Best spots for viewing cherry blossoms

  • Kungsträdgården is Stockholm's most famous spot for cherry blossom viewing, bustling with life and adjacent to the Royal Palace.
  • Rosendal's Garden on Djurgården Island provides a more peaceful setting, perfect for a relaxing afternoon among blossoms.

True to the Swedish spirit, don't miss the chance to combine cherry blossom viewing with a fika – a coffee break that's all about taking a pause and enjoying the moment.

#5. Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is extra special during cherry blossom season, as the city celebrates the intermingling of cultures. The cherry blossoms in Vancouver are a sight to behold, and the blooming trees frame this Canadian city's skyline.

Cherry blossom season in Vancouver  

  • When: Early to mid-April
  • What to expect: A variety of arts, music, and culinary events bringing the community together to celebrate the blossoms.
  • Local traditions: The trees are planted throughout communities in Vancouver, making it a decentralised and community-oriented festival.

Peak blooming periods

Early April is your best bet to coincide with the festival and catch the cherry blossoms at their prime.

Best spots for viewing cherry blossoms

  • Stanley Park features one of the best cherry blossom displays, with the famous Seawall offering stunning views.
  • Queen Elizabeth Park's Cherry Blossom Plaza offers a serene garden with a vast array of cherry trees.
  • VanDusen Botanical Garden offers a curated experience with species from around the world, including the delicate Japanese cherry blossoms.

In addition to the floral beauty, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival also includes bike rides, lectures, and haiku writing competitions.  

Retirees enjoying cherry blossom season

Source: Getty

#6. Washington D.C., USA

Cherry blossoms arrived in Washington D.C. as a gift from the Mayor of Tokyo in 1912, and they have since become an symbol of spring in the American capital. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, celebrated for nearly a century, is now a significant cultural event that’s well worth checking out if you want to experience cherry blossom season in the USA.

Cherry blossom season in Washington D.C.  

  • When: Late March to early April
  • What to expect: Various cultural events, from a kite festival to art exhibits, and the famous Blossom Kite Festival.
  • Local traditions: The Tidal Basin becomes a hub of activity as people flock to the water's edge to enjoy the blooms and participate in festival offerings.

Peak blooming periods

Timing your visit is crucial as the blooming period can be brief. Mid to late April offers the best chance to see the trees in their characteristic full bloom.

Best spots for viewing cherry blossoms

  • The Tidal Basin gives iconic shots with the Jefferson Memorial in the background.
  • The United States National Arboretum features a more tranquil environment with a pagoda viewpoint offering excellent photo opportunities.
  • Visit the Kenwood neighbourhood for a less crowded but equally picturesque display. 

#7. Sydney, Australia

If you want to see cherry blossoms closer to home or at a different time of year, why not check out cherry blossom season in Australia? While you’ll find cherry blossoms in most cities across the country, Sydney is the place to be if you want to experience a cherry blossom festival.  

The Auburn Botanic Gardens is the star attraction during Sydney's cherry blossom season. It boasts the largest cherry blossom garden in the Southern Hemisphere, with over 250 trees of various species.  

Cherry blossom season in Sydney  

  • When: Late September to Early October
  • What to expect: Traditional music and dance with a contemporary twist at the festival, and stunning photo opportunities among scenic gardens.
  • Local traditions: Cherry Blossom Festival is a time for Hanami, or flower-viewing parties, where friends and family gather under blossoming trees in Auburn Botanic Gardens to eat, drink, and be merry. The festival is a blend of tradition, with Japanese music and dance performances, and modern culture, featuring cosplay and anime showcases.  

Peak blooming periods

The best time to catch the cherry blossoms in their full splendour is around the first weekend in October. However, Mid-September may have good early blooms to enjoy a quieter experience.

Best spots for viewing cherry blossoms

  • Auburn Botanic Gardens is unrivalled for its sheer quantity of cherry trees.
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens in the city is a serene alternative, with fewer crowds and a beautiful backdrop of Sydney Harbour.
  • Leura, a small town around 100km outside of Sydney, is well worth the drive for a more laid-back cherry blossom viewing experience.  

Whether you visit the time-honoured cities of Kyoto and Seoul or the more recent additions of Sydney and Paris to the cherry blossom viewing circuit, you’re bound to have a spectacular time immersing yourself in cherry blossom festivities.  


Want to protect your trip to soak in cherry blossom season?

Discover which plan is right for your dream getaway.