14 Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms Outside Japan & South Korea

14 Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms Outside Japan & South Korea

Catching these springtime wonders is truly a magical experience!

Cherry blossoms are arguably the quintessential flower that symbolises the arrival of springtime. These pastel pink and white blooms look like candy-coloured clouds that can turn even the gloomiest location into a gorgeous sight. Top it all off with a soothing, delicate scent that brings a sense of calm and optimism. Is it even any wonder there are countless festivals around the world to welcome its presence? 

For those who live in countries where these flowers aren’t present, planning a trip to the best places to see cherry blossoms could get tricky. Not only do forecasts change rather often, but these also only last for around two weeks (under ideal conditions). Yet, it’s precisely this fleeting aspect that makes the experience all the more worth chasing after. 

Beyond the usual crowd favourites — that is, Japan and South Korea — there are many other destinations where you can spot these natural wonders. Hence, we’ve rounded up more famous cherry blossoms locations across the globe. 

Best places to see cherry blossoms in Asia-Pacific

1. Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan

best places to see cherry blossoms

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Next time you’re in Taipei between February and March, you might want to maximise your trip with a day tour to Yangmingshan National Park. There, you’ll find a serene sea of various cherry blossoms variants, decorating the vast hiking trails. It’s certainly a welcome respite from the bustling streets and bright city lights. And the best part? It’s only about a 40-minute bus ride from downtown Taipei! 

2. Taichung, Taiwan

best places to see cherry blossoms

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Head over to the city of Taichung in central Taiwan for countless awe-inspiring attractions. Beyond the charming Rainbow Village, you can check out more vibrant sights at Wuling Farm, which has more than 700 hectares of tea plantations, flower fields, and more. Not to mention, this highland spot is home to over 30,000 cherry trees! Among its highlights would be the Pink Lady: a unique hybrid of Taiwan and Japanese cherries that you can only find here. 

Tai-an Police Station is another one of Taichung’s best cherry blossoms locations. Situated in Houli District, it features a 200-metre-long road lined with the Yae-zakura: a type of cherry blossom that has more than five petals and double layers. Is it even any wonder that some have dubbed it the “country’s loveliest precinct”? A rather odd-sounding moniker, but we totally get it! The ideal time to visit both of these places would be from February to March. 

Also read: 15 Reasons Why Japan Lovers Will Also Love Taiwan!

3. Chiang Mai, Thailand

The Land of Smiles is also one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Asia. Make your way up north to Chiang Mai Province, where delightful pink blooms thrive in the chilly climate between late December and February. In Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, you’ll see the spectacular wild Himalayan cherries (or Tiger Queen, as nicknamed by locals). These are specifically found in Ban Khun Chang Khian, a Hmong village with an agricultural research centre run by Chiang Mai University. The planting of these trees was an initiative by the facility to draw more visitors in… and it clearly worked! 

Meanwhile, Doi Inthanon National Park houses a similar facility that is the Khun Wang Royal Agricultural Research Centre. Stroll along a pathway surrounded by cherry trees mingling with the lush scenery. It’s also located near the top of Doi Inthanon, aka the highest peak in all of Thailand! 

Also read: 7 Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Thailand That Will Take Your Breath Away

4. Auckland, New Zealand

Image credit: SilverStack

Unlike most places with cherry blossoms, Auckland experiences the peak of these blush-coloured blooms around September. Cornwall Park is a popular go-to, especially since it’s quite the urban oasis. There’s a spot (pictured above) near Pōhutukawa Drive that features the largest collection in the area. Sounds like a lovely setting for a lazy picnic, yes?

Another top pick would be the Auckland Botanic Gardens, nestled in the multi-cultural Manurewa neighbourhood. Also, is it just us, or is this view somewhat reminiscent of the opening credits in the show, Bridgerton? (You know, the one with a lone tree in the middle of a meadow). 

Also read: 10 Fantastic Reasons Why You Should Visit New Zealand

5. Shillong, India

India is among the few places in Asia with cherry blossoms in autumn. You’ll spot most of these in the Indian Himalayan Region, where the proximity to the alpine climate allows for these flowers to festoon the landscape. Your best bet would be Shillong, a famous hill station that looks especially stunning from late October till November! 

Enjoy bright shades of pink juxtaposed with fall foliage; surely, a combo that’s hard to find elsewhere. While this sight is prevalent around Shillong during that season, we recommend visiting Ward’s Lake (or Nan Polok, as the locals call it).

Also read: 10 Most Beautiful Hill Stations of India

Where to find cherry blossoms in the Americas

6. Washington, D.C., United States

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Back in March 1912, the Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gifted Japanese cherry trees to the American capital. Now, the city hosts an annual festival to commemorate this diplomatic gesture that took place on the banks of the Tidal Basin. It’s no doubt an iconic spot for sakura sighting, given that the area is home to nearly 4,000 cherry trees! Adjacent to it is the historic National Mall, so it’s often packed with visitors, especially in the spring.  

Image credit: John Weiss

That said, most locals would prefer strolling through the less touristy Dumbarton Oaks, where the crowds are certainly fewer. This home-turned-public museum sits on the highest point of the Georgetown neighbourhood and spans more than 50 acres of manicured grounds. The best time to visit both of these is typically around late March to early April. 

Alsso read: USA Entry Requirements: What to Know When Travelling During COVID-19

7. New York City, United States

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For most travellers, a vacation to ’Murica wouldn’t be complete without visiting the City That Never Sleeps. Beyond the wondrous skyscrapers and vibrant streets, it’s also home to scenic parks where you can take a breather from the frenetic urban energy. For starters, there’s the famous Central Park and its plentiful cherry blossoms locations. Another option in good ol’ Manhattan would be Sakura Park. Located in the Morningside Heights neighbourhood, it features 2,000 cherry trees that were also a gift from Japan in 1912. 

There’s also the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which has over a dozen cherry blossom species; including the Kanzan variant planted along the aptly named Cherry Esplanade. Meanwhile, in Queens, we recommend Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. Fun fact: Its Okame cherry trees are often the first to bloom in the city! Click here to see the varying sakura forecasts for each park.

Also read: Travelling to New York City: Expectations vs Reality

8. Portland, United States

Of course, the East Coast isn’t the only place where you can find cherry blossoms in America. The Pacific Northwest also has a brag-worthy roster, especially those in Portland, Oregon. For the best seats in the house (or city, rather) — as far as feeling like you’re experiencing hanami in Japan — look no further than Portland Japanese Garden. Tucked in the hills of Washington Park, its delicate Yoshino and Weeping Cherry trees are meticulously arranged throughout the space, similar to a traditional garden. It also has a Japanese-style cafe where you can enjoy tea and mochi!

Image credit: Northwest-historian

You can also opt for the Japanese American Historical Plaza in Waterfront Park. It has 100 Akebono trees set against a panorama of the Willamette River and the skyline, making it a popular photoshoot location for locals and tourists alike. It was built in honour of the Japanese Americans who suffered discrimination and were sent to internment camps during World War II. That said, do take the time to explore the rest of the plaza, and read the inscribed poems describing their tragic experience. 

Also read: 8 Things That Only Culturally Insensitive Travellers Do

9. Vancouver, Canada

If you’re already in Pacific Northwest, why not head further up to the Canadian part for even more cherry blossom locations? In the 1930s, the cities of Yokohama and Kobe gave Vancouver its first 500 sakura trees in, as a token of gratitude to the Japanese Canadians who fought in World War I. And yes, you can appreciate these very same trees in VanDusen Botanical Garden

Image credit: GoToVan

Other prime spots include Queen Elizabeth Park, Stanley Park, and Burrard Skytrain Station. Although, with over 40,000 cherry trees scattered across the city, it certainly wouldn’t be hard to find a gorgeous backdrop for those dreamy pink-filled snapshots. In most years, the best time to visit would be throughout April. 

Also read: Canada Entry Requirements: What to Know When Travelling During COVID-19

10. Curitiba, Brazil

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Some of you might know that Brazil has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. For the benefit of those who don’t, here’s a quick history lesson: Thousands of Japanese migrant workers moved there in the early 1900s. This was due to a treaty between the two nations, partially in response to the labour shortage in Brazilian coffee plantations.

Of course, these immigrants brought a piece of home with them — the (arguably) best one being sakura seedlings! While there are countless places with cherry blossoms throughout the country, the most epic displays are in the city of Curitiba; specifically in Jardim Botânico, Parque Tanguá, and Praça do Japão. Just keep in mind that, unlike most countries, these flowers bloom mostly in July… which is actually wintertime in Brazil! Pretty fascinating, right?

Best places to see cherry blossoms in Europe

11. Bonn, Germany

best places to see cherry blossoms in Europe

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Bonn is primarily famous for being the birthplace of Beethoven, as well as the former capital of West Germany. Nowadays, travellers flock there in spring (typically April) to fulfil their dreams of walking under majestic canopies of sakura. Picture charming streets lined with pastel houses and cherry trees that form natural flower tunnels. Definitely, a scene that looks straight out of a fairy tale! 

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You’ll find several of these in the city’s Altstadt (Old Town). The area is mostly pedestrianised, so you can easily go around without worry. Make a beeline for the crowd-favourite cherry blossom-covered streets, Heerstrasse and Breite Strasse. The latter also happens to be right by the entrance — you’ll know it when you see a blue sign that says “Altstadt”. 

Also read: 10 Dazzling German Castles That Are Straight Out Of A Storybook

12. London, England

Say hello to the land of royalty, big red buses… and some of the most stunning gardens you’ll come across! Hence, it’s no surprise that London is also an ideal city to visit for cherry blossoms locations. To start off, we have Kew Gardens, aka the largest botanical garden in the world. Its very own Cherry Walk hosts a variety of sakura trees, complete with species labels that any horticulture enthusiast would appreciate. 

Another would be the neighbouring Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park, which look straight out of a romantic period drama! So, go ahead and promenade along its perfectly manicured lawns — the dainty parasols are optional. Meanwhile, Glasshouse Street in the ever-buzzing Soho district is your best bet for gazing at these bright pink flowers in a more urban setting. 

Also read: UK Travel Restrictions: All You Need to Know Before Visiting

13. Paris, France

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Through the years, scores of travellers have dubbed Paris the most romantic city on Earth. That said, no list of best places to see cherry blossoms would be complete without mentioning this dazzling metropolis. For the full touristy experience, we recommend Parc du Champ-de-Mars and Jardins du Trocadéro, which stand on opposite sides of the Seine. Both serve up prime views of the Eiffel Tower, so it doesn’t get any more Parisian than that. 

Afterwards, make your way to the Latin Quarter to witness more spectacular displays — this time, at the Jardin des Plantes. Its springtime centrepiece is the “giant” old cherry tree (supposedly the largest in the city!), whose boughs are brimming with pink blooms and nearly touching the ground. Aside from that, the park also has a Shirotae cherry tree, which features dominantly white flowers… and tends to be less crowded than the former. 

Also read: France Travel Requirements: What to Know Before Visiting

14. Jerte Valley, Spain

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Tucked away in the Extremadura region that borders Portugal is Jerte Valley: a hidden gem in the Spanish countryside. It’s home to nearly two million cherry trees, most of which are grown the traditional way — that is, on the mountain slopes. From late March to mid-April, the hills and gorges are blanketed in white cherry blossoms that go as far as the eye can see. 

cherry blossoms locations in Europe

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Make the most out of your trip by exploring all 11 villages in Jerte Valley. It’s quite the scenic drive that springtime dreams are made of! 

Also read: Spain Entry Requirements: What to Know When Travelling During COVID-19

Now that you have this handy guide to the world’s best places to see cherry blossoms, which one has caught your eye the most? Or better yet, are you planning to travel for these anytime soon? Especially since — as of writing — Japan and South Korea borders have yet to open to international tourists. 

With travel slowly but surely getting back on track, we can’t wait to hear about your future adventures. Whether it’s cherry blossoms locations or other exciting attractions, don’t be shy and tell us all about it on our Facebook page


Featured image credit: OGphoto via Canva Pro; Facebook image credit (right): Viviane Monconduit | Pixabay

About Author

Marcy Miniano
Marcy Miniano

A fast-talking caffeine-dependent wordsmith, Marcy has never been one to shy away from sharing a good story or two. If she’s not in a quiet coffee shop somewhere, she enjoys spending afternoons in a museum or art gallery — whether it’s around Metro Manila or a foreign city she’s visiting. She wishes to retire in a winter village someday, so she can fulfil her lifelong dream of wearing turtlenecks all year round and owning a pet penguin.

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