Spring is the most delightful season of all. Aside from clear sunny days and occasional brisk air, this season also means the arrival of the Japanese cherry blossoms. Known as sakura, these delicate flowers turn spring into a radiant wonderland of light pink hues and whites. But did you know that you don’t have to fly all the way to Japan to experience the cherry blossom’s color explosion? Yes! The sakura trees are now found in over 20 countries around the world, from Europe to South America, apart from Japan.
To help you take advantage of the spring, we’ve rounded up the 20 places to see the cherry blossom trees around the world.
Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.
Fun Facts About The Cherry Blossom
- According to the BBC, about 8.5 million tourists visited Japan during the cherry blossom season, (March-May), last year. This alone brought in roughly 650 billion yen.
- The custom of the cherry blossom season is believed to have been started somewhere between 710-749, in the Nara Period.
- The cherry blossoms in Japan symbolize clouds because they bloom in small bunches bundled together. They are also a symbol of the nature of life.
Best Places To See Cherry Blossom Trees
First stop to sightsee some gorgeous cherry blossom trees: Vienna, in Austria. The sakura season in the city usually starts in mid-March and lasts until mid-April, but due to the colder temperatures in this region, the cherry blossoms tend to make their arrival and departure rather quickly. So, if you want to check the radiance of the cherry blossoms in Vienna, make sure you go during this time period — after that, it’s hard to find them.
One of the best places (if not the best) to see the cherry blossoms in Vienna is the Hainburger Weg, in the third district, which is also regarded as the cherry blossom street. In this residential neighborhood, the sakura flowers usually appear early to mid-April and last for about two weeks.
Other Vienna spots to add to your cherry blossom route are the Hofmühlgass, in the 6th district, the University of Vienna and Sigmund Freud Park, and the Stadtpark.
Now, if you’re looking for an immersive experience that will take you straight to Japan, go to Setagaya Park. Designed in 1992 by Ken Nakajima, a Japanese gardener, Setagaya is filled with ponds and streams, aside from densely-planted garden elements. The best time to go is the last week of March and the first week of April.
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Cherry blossoms usually thrive in cold climates and mountain areas of Australia and are usually found in southern states such as Victoria, Adelaide, and New South Wales. One of the best spots in the Land Down Under for checking the blooming sakura trees during spring is Cowra, a small town located on the banks of the Lachlan River, in New South Wales. The town is home to Sakura Avenue, the Cowra War Cemetery, the Prisoner Of War Camp, and the Japanese Gardens, which are dotted with soft-pink cherry blossom trees. Curious fact: each tree is sponsored by Japanese businesses and citizens, and they were planted in 1988 by the Cowra Shire Council as a sign of peace and reconciliation with the Japanese people.
The Blue Mountains, which is a mountainous region in New South Wales, is also a must-go spot for those who want to have a glimpse of the cherry blossoms. Travelers can go to the 28-hectare Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, which houses 20 blossom trees, or to the town Katoomba, where the flowering cherries reach their spring peak around mid-October.
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While most travelers expect to marvel at gorgeous beaches and lush tropical forests in Brazil, the country’s stunning scenic landscape also features cherry blossom trees. Most of the sakura flowers are found in São Paulo, which is home to the largest Japanese community outside of Japan. After the Japanese began immigrating to Brazil, they brought many seedlings of the cherry blossoms with them.
One of the top places for witnessing the Sakura Flowers in São Paulo is at Parque do Carmo. Placed in the neighborhood of Itaquera, the park hosts the annual Cherry Blossom Festival between July and August, which is when 4000 cherry blossom trees reach their peak. The event was established more than 40 years ago by Hisayoshi Kataoka, a Japanese immigrant that had brought 500 seedlings from Japan and planted them with the help of São Paulo City Hall and the Consulate of Japan.
Located in the southernmost part of the country Curitiba, in the state of Paraná, is another great place for sakura sight-seeing in Brazil. The city harbors a French-inspired Curitiba Botanical Garden, which gets lined with cherry blossoms in July.
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Every year since 2006, Vancouver has been hosting the Cherry Blossom Festival to celebrate the city’s 43,000 cherry trees, which display a profusion of pink petals during the sakura season. Vancouver has received hundreds of trees during the early 1930s, as a “thank you gift” to the Japanese Canadians who served in WWI.
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival usually starts in April and lasts until the end of the month. Visitors can take a tour through the blossom threes, enjoy guided walking tours, and even indulge in cherry scouts, where they can locate, identify, and photograph their favorite sakura flowers.
Aside from participating in this blossom-themed event, travelers and locals can also explore the prime spots to have a glimpse of the cherry blossom trees in Vancouver, including the Queen Elizabeth Park, Stanley Park, Burrard Skytrain Station.
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Cherry blossoms are spread throughout many provinces in China and usually bloom between late March and late April. The oldest sakura trees in the country are be found in the Longwangtang Park, in the Liaoning Province, which is home to 2,000 cherry blossoms that, come into full bloom in late April.
Beijing also becomes a veritable wonderland filled with cherry blossoms during spring, and the city even hosts an event dedicated to the sakura flower. Hosted at the 136-hectare Yuyuantan Park, the Cherry Blossom Festival is the largest of this kind in northern China and draws thousands of visitors each year who go to the park to marvel at about 2000 cherry trees of over 30 different species. Many of the trees were gifts from Japan when both countries re-opened diplomatic ties in the 1970s. One of the most unique features of this festival is that the Yuyuantan Park has two kinds of blossoms: the early ones, which happen during late March and can be viewed for only a week, and the late cherry blossoms, from mid-April to the end of the month.
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During spring, Copenhagen’s scenic landscape with 17th-century mansions, 19th-century boroughs, and modernistic buildings gets even more Instagrammable. This is the time when the cherry trees start to blossom in the city, and plenty of local districts, from Østerbro to Vesterbro, burst with a profusion of rosé petals. One of the finest places to check the cherry blossoms in the city is at the Copenhagen Sakura Festival, which takes place in Langelinie Park at the end of April, and features 200 sakura trees.
Another prime spot for seeing cherry blossom trees in Copenhagen is, surprisingly enough, the Bispebjerg Cemetery, which harbors a large avenue that during spring, turns into a pink tunnel lined with cherry trees.
Cherry blossom seekers should also consider going to Kongens Have, the most visited park in central Copenhagen. Founded in the early 17th century as the private gardens of King Christian IV’s Rosenborg Castle, Kongens Have turns into a true flowery paradise during spring.
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Do you know what’s more beautiful than Paris? Paris during spring, which is when the city’s Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, and Classical-style buildings get perfectly framed by cherry trees. The blooming of the cherry trees usually happens from mid-March to late-April, and the first ones usually appear in front of the Eiffel Tower, which needs no introduction. Another famous sakura spot sits on the south side of the Notre Dame Cathedral, and they tend to blossom in mid-April, at the end of the season. The iconic Shakespeare and Company also has its very own cherry blossom tree, which blooms outside the bookstore in mid-April.
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Placed in western Germany, straddling the Rhine river, Bonn is the most famous destination for cherry blossom viewing in Germany. The city center has about 300 ornamental cherry trees -nearly 60 are of the Japanese Kazan variety-, and many of them were planted in the late 1980s to beautify the area. One one the best place for witnessing this natural spectacle is at Bonn’s Heerstrasse, in the Nordstadt, which was considered one of the most beautiful tree tunnels in the world.
Cherry blossom seekers can also add another German destination to their itinerary. Hamburg, for instance, hosts an annual festival to welcome the return of the cherry blossoms, drawing in thousands of spectators every Frühling (spring). Every May a “Cherry Blossom Queen” is selected by the Japan Cherry Blossom Association and the festival is known as “Kirschblütenfest.”
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In India, the cherry blossoms are found mainly in the Himalayan states, across the east and west Kasi hills. One of the prime spots for viewing the sakura trees in this region is Shillong, a hill station in northeast India and the capital of the Meghalaya state. The buds start to show in late October and begin to bloom in early November. To celebrate this true gift of the Himalayas, Shillong hosts the International Cherry Blossom Festival, which is centered around a variety of blossom-themed activities. The blossoms can be seen covering the Himalayan foothills, which is a truly breathtaking scene.
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If you want to experience South Korea in all its glory, visit the country during the spring, preferably between late March, early April, which is when some parts of the country turn into a veritable pink wonderland. To have a glimpse of the cherry blossoms in South Korea, you can head over to Seoul, as the city hosts a myriad of blossom-themed festivals. One of the most famous is the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival, regarded as the biggest spring festival in Korea. Some of the most unique features of the festivals are the 800-meter long tunnel of cherry blossoms and the 1.5-kilometer long flower streams. With blooms lasting for only about 10 days, Seoul plays host to other jaw-dropping festivals, such as the Gyeongju and the Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival.
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How amazing would it be to gaze at Myanmar’s secular temples surrounded by pink-hued trees? If this sounds appealing to you, make sure to visit the Southeast Asian country at the beginning of the year, which is when stunning cherry blossoms adorn the streets of the local cities. Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of Myanmar, hosts an annual sakura festival, where visitors can not only marvel at the flowers but also indulge in a showcase of events and traditional food. Another destination for viewing cherry trees in Myanmar is Pyin Oo Lwin, also known as “The Land of Cherries”, which is where cherry trees grow at a highland 3000 feet above sea level.
And while the Netherlands are known for their gorgeous tulip fields, there is also a showcase of cherry trees in the country, especially in Amsterdam. The city, by the way, is the ultimate spring travel destination. Filled with parks and crossed by scenic canals, it is the perfect place to enjoy the chilly and sunny spring days outdoors. The must-go spot for sakura viewing? Definitely the Bloesempark, in Amsterdam Forest, which houses 400 cherry trees, given as a gift by the Japan Women’s Club, in 2000. Out of these trees, 200 have female Japanese names and 200 have female Dutch names. During your sakura tour, you can also go to the Westerpark, and the Museumplein (Museum Square), which has a small cluster of cherry blossoms next to the Van Gogh Museum.
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Already checked all the previous destinations off your “Cherry Blossom Viewing” bucket list? Then make sure to add Christchurch, in New Zealand, to your itinerary. Located on the east coast of the country’s South Island, the city is home to the Christchurch Botanical Gardens, which harbors a profusion of pink cherry trees during the entire month of September. Home to numerous flowering gardens, the place also features other gorgeous species during Spring, including magnolias, camellias, and rhododendrons.
Another amazing spot for blossom viewing in Christchurch, New Zealand, is the North Hagley Park, which displays a hybrid cherry blossom species named Yoshino Cherry. Very popular in Japan, this tree generally blooms and falls within one or two weeks in mid-September.
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Every March, the arrival of the cherry blossoms transform the landscape of Jerte Valley in Extremadura, Spain. Over two million cherry trees reach their full-bloom peak in mid-March, covering up the entire valley.
In Jerte Valley, the blossom trees are grown in the traditional way, on terraces that are carved out of the mountainsides. During the spring, a myriad of special events is held in the region to celebrate the beauty of the blossoming cherry trees, such as the Fiesta del Cerezo en Flor. Curious fact: spanning over 70 square kilometers, Valle del Jerte is the largest uninterrupted area covered with cherry trees in Europe.
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April 28th is the official Day of the Cherry Blossom in Stockholm, although these flowers tend to make an earlier appearance in the spring. To celebrate this special day, make your move to the Kungsträdgården (“The King’s Garden”), which is not only one of the city’s most famous parks, but also home to Stokholm biggest collection of cherry trees. In mid-April, the park hosts one of the most fascinating cherry blossom festivals in Sweden, the Cherry Flower Day Festival, which is arranged by the Japanese Association.
But the Kungsträdgården is not the only place to see cherry trees in Stockholm, as more than 10,000 Japanese sakura trees have been planted across the city in recent years. Located just outside the city center, the Lumaparken houses some 50 pink trees that are also worth seeing.
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The cherry blossom festivities in Taiwan attract 50,000 visitors each year, and the season typically starts in mid-January and it lasts until March. One of the most popular places to witness the pink spectacle of the cherry trees is the TianyuanTemple in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan. In early to mid-March, this Taoist pagoda temple gets brimming with sakura trees, which some people believe were planted by a hundred volunteer workers in 1970. Another great spot for cherry blossom sight-seeing in Taiwan is the Yangmingshan National Park from Mid-February to mid-March.
Thailand might be applauded for its ancient temples, verdant forests, and idyllic beaches. But the country also happens to be one of the best countries to see the cherry trees. The difference is that the typical season for cherry blossoms trees in Thailand is winter, and flowers bloom mostly in northern cities such as Chiang Mai.
From December to January travelers and locals can gaze at the sakura trees across Thailand. In Chiang Mai, there’s a sister variety of the sakura called Wild Himalayan Cherry or the “Tiger Queen”, which can be found specifically in the Khun Chang Khian Highland Agriculture Research Centre.
The Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park is another Thailand destination that is guaranteed to take your breath away. Placed close to the border with Laos, in the forested mountains of the Luang Prabang Range, this protected area gets covered by a pastel pink blanket of more than 100,000 Himalayan cherry trees in winter.
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The birth of the sakura trees in Turkey has a bitter beginning. In 1890, a Turkish boat was engulfed by a typhoon and sunk during a visit to Japan. Even though the Japanese Coast Guard managed to save 67 men, 587 sailors and officers died. Later on, 587 sakura saplings were donated by Japan to Turkey, honoring each one of the sailors and officers who died in the tragedy.
In 2010, the first cherry blossom festival happened in Turkey at the Istanbul Nezahat Gokyigit Botanical Gardens, which is also the perfect place for you to welcome the cherry blossom season. Another great cherry blossom viewing spot in Istambul is the Japanese Garden, a small-scale replica of the ones found in Japan, featuring ponds, waterfalls, and a 5-meter-high sakura tree.
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Travelers can find pink flowers all across the UK. The Batsford Arboretum in the county of Gloucestershire, South West England, holds a stunning national collection of Japanese flowering cherries, which include species such as the Yoshino Cherry, praised for its almond-scented blossoms, and the Umineko, covered with soft snow-white flowers
London is also home to several parks and gardens that are popular spots for cherry blossom viewing, including the Kensington Gardens, Regent’s Park, St James’s Park, and Alexandra Palace.
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From coast to coast, travelers can see the beautiful cherry blossoms in many states of the US. Some of the best places to see cherry blossoms in the US are located on the East Coast.
But, when it comes to the best places to see flowering cherry trees in the US, Washington, D.C, tops the list. Every spring, the city hosts the National Cherry Blossom Festival, a spring event that celebrates the gift of Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo on March 27, 1912. The festival, which runs from March until April, draws more than 1.5 million visitors that are eager to admire over 3,000 cherry trees. The peak bloom usually happens at the beginning of April, which is when 70 percent of the trees surrounding the Tidal Basin have opened their buds, covering the area with a pink and white blanket.
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Add a visit to the cherry blossoms in your home country to your bucket list.
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