When speaking of spring in Japan, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? Cherry blossom, of course! It is an unforgettable experience to put a picnic mat under the cherry trees with your family/partner and enjoy the pink blossoms while eating snacks. You can also see local people in kimonos posing for cherry blossom photos.
March to May is the peak travel season in Japan, when tens of thousands of travelers from Japan and abroad go to enjoy the cherry blossoms. Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are the top recommended places to see cherry blossoms, and they are the most popular destinations for first time visitors to Japan as well. If you want to avoid the crowds, Hokkaido might be a better place to go, though.
Prices during the cherry blossom season are about two or three times higher than usual. Many traditional ryokans and excellent guides are also fully booked in advance, so we recommend you make your decision at least 6 months in advance.
Do I Need a Visa to Visit Japan?
Nationals of many countries are exempt from needing a visa to enter Japan, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Most travelers can stay in Japan without a visa for 90 days.
Dates and Tips for Japan's Cherry Blossom Cities
- Average temperatures for March to May: 10–18°C (50–64°F)
- Average rainfall: 120 mm (5 inches)
- Suggested clothing: T-shirt, jacket, thin coat, light trousers.
In general, the best time to see cherry blossom is from late March to early April (around 10 days). Each region in Japan has a different climate, so blooming times vary. Starting in January in the southern island of Okinawa and lasting until May in the northern area of Hokkaido.
Every year at the end of January, the official website will predict the flowering time of cherry blossoms. The predicted time for 2024 has not yet been released. Here is the cherry blossom forecast for 2023 as a reference for you:
- Fukuoka: Flowering from March 19; in full bloom from March 29
- Osaka: Flowering from March 23; in full bloom from March 30
- Kyoto: Flowering from March 24; in full bloom from April 1
- Tokyo: Flowering from March 20; in full bloom from March 29
- Sapporo: Flowering from April 23; in full bloom from May 1
If this is your first time to Japan, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are recommended as they're conveniently connected via Shinkansen (high-speed railway). For Japan return trips, you could consider Sapporo in Hokkaido.
Suggested reading: How Long Should You Spend in Japan?>>>
Sharon has been very helpful since the…
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May, Jul 2023
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Albee was very helpful and responsive…
Albee was very helpful and responsive in helping me make plans for their 10 day Japanese tour.More
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Alisa was a perfect tour consultant
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Matha Goram, Jul 2023
I highly Recommend Asia Highlights
For our first guide Jun, he was amazing. Very accommodating. Kept in good communication & kept us on time for our activities. Reached out to me the night before to confirm meet times and locations. Our driver for this time was also so kind & driver was always on time. For our second Guide , Ho. He went above and beyond. He stayed in great communication. Stayed later with us on one of the days because we were worried about riding the train back alone but wanted to visit at the shopping center a littler longer, so he stayed with us and made sure we got off on the right stop! During our time with him he took pictures of us and sent them to us! He was very knowledgeable about every place we visited. He was kind and patient with our large group. He made our trip easy & memorable. The driver we had for this timeframe was also kind & always on time! We felt a bond with both guides given to us! If you want an easy going, stress free trip book with “Asia Highlights”!!!More
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Wonderful Service from Sharon!
Sharon at Asia Highlights has been a HUGE help in planning our trip to Japan later this year. From her initial contact to finalization of the plan, she has been very responsive, professional, patient, and knowledgeable. She was able to quickly propose an amazing itinerary and helped us customize it for our interests. She also made many great recommendations and gave us tips for the trip. I wasn’t familiar with Asia Highlights before I reached out, but after Sharon’s wonderful service, I have full confidence in them. I can’t wait for the trip and I hope it’s as awesome as Sharon’s service!!!More
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We had a wonderful time in Japan with guides Moni and Kazuko and with Jan in Singapore. Will always remember this trip!More
Happy Customer, Jun 2023
Just got to say
Just got to say, Monica was great in every way! So sweet and helpful with planning, itineraries, answering questions… would love to meet her in person! Thank you Monica!More
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Monica is fantastic
Monica is fantastic. She understood our needs, was very responsive and planned a perfect vacation for us. Highly recommend.More
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Me and my son are traveling to Japan
Me and my son are traveling to Japan. Albee is magnificent. Extremely efficient, helpful, trustworthy. I am very happy she is helping us with my son's dreaming trip.More
Ana Letícia Urbanin, Jun 2023
A great way to plan a dream vacation
Due to circumstances, we had to delay our trip to Japan so this review is only about the process of designing the trip. Albee was always available, responsive to our goals, and competent. Based on how involved he was with our family trip, we know we will be back next year and resuming the plan he built. Really impressed with the quality and extent of resources we found through Albee and KimKim.More
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Sharon’s was very patient and helpful…
Sharon’s was very patient and helpful when navigating me through the trip planning process. She helped me plan a very exciting and extravagant trip.More
Jonny Abad, May 2023
Wonderful 10 day trip in Japan!!!
Well planned trip by Alisa . Everything was well scheduled, guides and drivers were excellent!! The cars were extremely comfortable and the hotel she chose for us was beautiful!! Enjoyed planning with her she was very professional and always offered other choices.More
Lianne Stone, May 2023
11 days trip to Japan
I am planning my trip to Japan in November with Sharon's help and she has provided amazing customer service.She is very responsive and put together very quickly an incredible plan for 11 days in Japan. She provided recommendations and made changes based on our interests and budget. She also provided information about visa restrictions and the best way to get tickets for transportation services. Thanks so much Sharon, looking forward to this trip!More
LE, May 2023
Hi Cathy! I just want to thank you for making our Japan trip so much fun & memorable! We loved everything that you had scheduled for us! All the guides and drivers were great & punctual! We love Japan so much that we’re planning to go back next year to different part of Japan! We’ll definitely contact Asia Highlights for our trip again! SereneMore
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Quick, easy and detailed service
Alisa was our advisor from Asia highlights and she prepared for us a wonderful 28 day trip to Japan, taking into consideration our needs and desire not to be traveling everyday and to have a mixture of slow and busy days. We've not yet taken our trip, but very much looking forward to it Thank you Alisa for the quick response and wonderful itineraryMore
Lynette Whittle, Apr 2023
Sharon Huang did an excellent job in planningour 15 day Cherry Blossom Japan tour. Shewas available during our trip to answer our questions and readily agreed to the itinerary changes.Everything was arranged - accommodation,breakfast, guide, car, entrance fees and train tickets. The guides were knowledgeable, and managed the tour very efficiently. The drivers were punctual and very patient. We visited must see places in and near Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima. We also got to experience Japanese Tea ceremony, Sushi making, Sake tasting, shopping etc.We highly recommend Asia Highlights for your travel needs.More
Madhu, Apr 2023
I organized a trip to Japan for my
I organized a trip to Japan for my parents who don’t speak English and Alisa was so amazing helping make an itinerary for them. They needed a Spanish guide and she coordinated everything so they wouldn’t have any trouble when they got there. She was so patient changing and adjusting the itinerary to their needs and wants, it’s been a total pleasure working with her and she always responds promptly to any question I have. I definitely recommend this company and if you can ask to work with Alisa.More
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Where's the Best Place to See the Cherry Blossom?
With over 1,000 popular spots for seeing cherry blossoms across Japan, it is tough to choose where to go. If you are travelling during late March to early April, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka would be the perfect destinations.
Hotels around popular attractions are always booked up quickly, so we strongly recommend booking hotels and flights at least 6 months in advance.
Hokkaido would be great if you want to avoid crowds of tourists, and its ideal time is from late April to early May.
Here are some suggested best cherry blossom places:
The following three places are easily accessible and you can go to them all in one day. If you don't have much time, it is highly recommended to visit one of these three attractions. If you want to see cherry blossom lit up at night, the best place to go is Chidorigafuchi.
1) Ueno Park
Ueno Park is the most popular spot for seeing cherry blossom in Tokyo — a lively and crowded place. It has more than 1,000 cherry trees, which are spectacular when they bloom together every spring. Lay out a picnic mat under a tree and enjoy the cherry blossom fluttering down in the spring breeze, as local Japanese do while eating snacks.
2) Shinjuku Gyoen
Located in the business hub area Shinjuku, this well-designed garden is one of the largest gardens in Tokyo, and it has about 1,100 cherry trees from 65 species that blossom in spring.
Shops in the garden offer cherry-blossom-related desserts and handmade gifts during the period. It is dreamy to have a picnic on the garden's lawns and enjoy cherry blossoms in the warm spring sun.
3) Chidorigafuchi — Open in the Evening Too
Chidorigafuchi is one of the most picturesque cherry blossom spots in Tokyo. You can take pictures of the cherry blossom and the outer walls of Edo Castle, which enhance each other's beauty.
The cherry trees on either side of the road turn the road into a pink tunnel when in full bloom. Or you can take a boat ride on its lake… Boating while enjoying the cherry blossom along the shore is also a special experience.
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1) Philosopher's Path — A Footpath Lined with Cherry Blossom
Kyoto's best walking trail is a stone path along a canal lined with over 400 cherry trees. It is one of the most popular and pleasing of Kyoto's cherry blossom spots. On a fine day, each cherry blossom deserves close appreciation. If you get tired of walking, sit on a stool and look up at the pink landscape.
2) Kiyomizu Temple — an Ancient Temple with Awesome Views
As one of Kyoto's ancient shrines, Kiyomizu Temple is popular in all seasons, but especially during the cherry blossom season in spring and the red maple season in fall.
When the cherry trees are blooming, you can see a lot of girls in kimonos taking photos under the cherry trees. Don't miss an evening there during cherry blossom season, when the area is lit up magically.
3) Mount Yoshino, Nara — Great for Hiking among the Cherry Blossoms
If you want to be in right in the middle of A LOT of cherry blossom, Mt. Yoshino is the best choice. This mountain not only suitable for hiking, but is also covered with 30,000 cherry trees making the mountain into a pink paradise in spring.
The whole mountain is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are some ancient shrines and temples on the mountain, which look serene amongst the cherry blossom.
Osaka Castle is one of 'the three famous castles of Japan', and it is top of the list of places to enjoy cherry blossom in Osaka. The square around Osaka Castle is covered with cherry trees. Not far from the square around the castle, the old town merges with modern high-rise buildings and cherry blossom — a meeting of traditional and modern, natural and manmade.
As night falls, lights illuminate the cherry blossoms and the castle, making an evening trip a delight also.
Book quickly for the last reservations in January. Just contact us for an effortlessly-tailored dream trip to Japan to see the cherry blossom in 2024.
Suggested reading: How to Plan Your Trip to Japan>>>
Our Suggested 10-Day Japan Itinerary for Cherry Blossom Season
Many of our clients want to see the most beautiful cherry blossom in Japan, but don't know where to start when planning a journey.
Here is Asia Highlights' well-planned small group tour. Travel costs are high in Japan during cherry blossom season, but this small group tour is cost-effective with big savings compared with private or independent travel.
This 10-day tour starts from March 25th in Tokyo and costs US$3,999 p/p, including 4-star hotels with breakfasts, sightseeing/activities, group-only vehicles, train tickets between cities, and English-speaking guides.
During this 10-day trip, you are suggested to stay 4 nights in Tokyo to take in its ancient architecture, local culture experiences, and natural beauty. Then spend 3 nights in Kyoto, feeling Japan's history and culture more deeply. Finally, stay 2 nights in Osaka, where you can sample local snacks. Top-class city-touring is accompanied by the country's best cherry blossom outings.
Days 1–4 Tokyo
In the capital of Japan, you can experience a good mix of history and modernity. Whether you like traditional Japanese culture or their anime and modern style, you can find something interesting in Tokyo.
1) Ancient Architecture
- Meiji Shrine and Sensoji Temple: symbols of Japanese history where you can pray for luck.
- Hamarikyu Garden: a garden from the Edo period where you can enjoy a steaming tea in its teahouse.
2) Mouthwatering Food
Visit the biggest local fish market — Tsukiji Fish Market, and sample the freshly-prepared foods at the market.
Contact us if you would like us to arrange for you and your family/companion(s) to learn making sushi at a typical Japanese home. You could get more ideas about How to Plan a First-Time Family Trip to Japan>>>
3) View the Magnificent Mount Fuji and Its Cherry Blossom
For families and those who want to enjoy natural scenery and do outdoor sports, you are recommended to go to Fujigoko ('Fuji Five Lakes'). You can view the magnificent Mount Fuji by boating, or enjoy the scenery while hiking and camping.
4) Boating on the Sumida
Take a boat ride on the Sumida River in Tokyo, and get excellent views of cherry blossom along the riverside.
Suggested reading: 1 Week Japan Itineraries: Perfect 5 Options>>>
Days 5–7 Kyoto
1) Ancient Shrines and Temples
The medieval capital of Japan, Kyoto, still has many historical buildings. For a deeper understanding of Japan's history, you can visit Kyoto's ancient shrines and temples, such as Kinkakuji Temple, Nijo Castle, and Kiyomizu Temple.
2) Geisha Experience
Gion is the most representative cultural district in Kyoto, where you can see many geishas. Contact us to explore the geisha district with a foreign geisha-culture expert.
3) Traditional Local Food
- Sample a steaming tea at a Japanese ochaya (teahouse).
- Learn about the traditional brewing process and sample the different types of Japanese sake.
- Nishiki Market is known as the "the Kitchen of Kyoto". There are over one hundred shops and restaurants along this narrow shopping street. There, you can taste delicious snacks and experience the lively market atmosphere.
4) See Cherry Blossom
Philiospher's Path, Hirano Shrine, and Arashiyama all have stunning cherry blossom views.
Days 8–10 Osaka
1) Historic Castles and Tall Modern Buildings
- Osaka Castle is the most famous landmark in Osaka and is the first choice for viewing cherry blossom there.
- The history museum next to the castle and the surrounding parks and green spaces are great places for relaxing.
- View the panorama of Osaka City from Floating Garden Observatory.
2) Make Your Own Woodblock Print
Appreciate Japanese prints from the 18th century and make your own woodblock print at Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum.
3) Osaka Street Food
The most authentic Osaka street food, takoyaki (highly decorative and tasty crispy dough balls), can be sampled in Osaka's Dotonbori District, where there are many restaurants to indulge your appetite.
It is possible to have a private tour with the same itinerary as this one (or a bespoke version of it). Just send us a free inquiry to customize your dream Japan trip.
Suggested reading: 10 Days in Japan: 5 Best Itineraries>>>
How to Avoid the Crowds during Cherry Blossom Season
With the resumption of inbound travel to Japan in October 2022, travel to Japan is forecast to be popular in 2023/2024, especially for cherry blossom in the coming spring.
What should you do if you want to see Japan's cherry blossom in full bloom but not the crowds? Here are some suggestions:
- Crowding is relatively low in the early morning and evening, and the cherry blossom in some scenic spots looks good when lit up at night, such as at Chidorigafuchi or Meguro Gawa in Tokyo or at Philosopher's Path in Kyoto.
- There are more local visitors at weekends as many Japanese have a 5-day working work. Thus, avoiding the popular cherry blossom attractions at weekends is another way to avoid the crowds.
- The cherry blossom season varies from region to region in Japan, but most travelers choose to visit Kyoto from late March to early April. If you want to avoid the crowds, Hokkaido is also a good place to go for cherry blossom viewing in late April to early May.
In May, the crowds are not as big in Kyoto and Tokyo, and in Hokkaido spring is just beginning, and there is a lot of fun to be had. For example, go to Shiretoko to experience the natural beauty of melting glaciers and enjoy authentic Japanese beer in Sapporo's brewery.
Suggested reading: 8 Days in Japan
Budgeting for a Cherry Blossom Trip in Japan
A typical private Japan tour usually costs $350-500 per person per day for a family of 3-5 people, with higher prices during cherry blossom season. This includes 4-star hotels, private guide, private car, and tickets for attractions
We would usually recommend staying in a local hotel near a major subway station, such as the Citadines Central Shinjuku in Tokyo and the Hotel Gracery Kyoto Sanjo. Contact us to create a memorable Japan tour with good value of money.
For a cost-efficient experience, you could join our 10-Day Japan Cherry Blossom Spring 2024 Mini-Group Tour (4–7 pax), starting from March 25th 2024 at the cost of US$3,999 per person or US$400 pp/day.
We promise a 100% refund of all monies paid (excluding the amount for the international flights to and from your home country) if a cancellation is received up to 3 weeks before departure.
Suggested reading: How Much Is a Trip to Japan?
Why Travel with Asia Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)
- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
- Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
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At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.