Japan’s Cherry Blossoms 2018 Forecast: When & Where to Catch Them?

Japan’s Cherry Blossoms 2018 Forecast: When & Where to Catch Them?

Ready to swoon over these delicate pink blooms? Here are the top places and best dates to witness Japan’s iconic sakura in spring 2018!

Springtime in Japan is synonymous with the arrival of blooms blanketing the nation with  various shades of white and pink. These famous cherry blossoms draw epic-sized crowds from around the globe, all eager to be a part of this quintessential hanami (flower appreciation) experience.

It can be pretty tricky to time your trip to coincide with the sakura blooming season as they are subjected to natural factors such as weather and unprecedented rainfall. Even though they generally follow an upward shift from the south to the north of the archipelago, cherry blossoms in different parts of the city peak at different times.

To minimise frustrations and optimise trip planning, follow this handy forecast of Japan’s cherry blossoms in 2018 based on the different prefectures!

Okinawa: mid January

Image credit: Pedro Cambra

Best cherry blossom-viewing spots: Nago Castle Park, Nakijin Castle, Yogi Park

Tokyo: 29 March to 4 April

Image credit: Yoshikazu Takada

Best cherry blossom-viewing spots: Ueno Onshi Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, Sumida Park, Koganei Park, Inokashira Park, Yoyogi Park

Fukuoka: 31 March to 7 April

Image credit: yuki5287

Best cherry blossom-viewing spots: San Hou Park, Fukuoka Castle, Atago Shrine, Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, Nishi Park

Fukuoka is one of Japan’s hidden gems that has steadily gained in popularity over the years. Time to plan a visit before it starts getting swarmed with tourists! For a fuss-free experience that will allow you to witness the stunning beauty of Kyushu, opt for JTB’s 8D6N Spring Luxury in Kyushu tour. Explore Fukuoka, Imari, Nagasaki, Beppu, Kumamoto  and more – sans the research. Just sit back, relax and let the experts take care of you!

Highlights: Sakura Festival at Tateyama Park, Yanagawa River Cruise, Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) stays

Departure dates: 23, 27, 29 March 2018

BOOK A 8D6N TOUR WITH JTB NOW!

Hiroshima: 4 April to 10 April

Image credit: Jeremy Hall

Best cherry blossom-viewing spots: Hiroshima Peace Park, Hiroshima Castle, Shukkeien Garden

Kyoto: 5 April to 11 April

Image credit: Ryosuke Yagi

Best cherry blossom-viewing spots: Maruyama Park, Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto Gosho, Shirakawa, Arashiyama, Daigoji Temple

Osaka: 5 April to 11 April

Image credit: Iasta29

Best cherry blossom-viewing spots: Kema Sakuranomiya Park, Osaka Mint Bureau, Osaka Castle Park

Nara: 6 April to 12 April

Image credit: fortherock

Best cherry blossom-viewing spots: Nara Park, Mount Yoshino, Koriyama Castle Park

Kobe: 7 April to 13 April

Image credit: Francis Bourgouin

Best cherry blossom-viewing spots: Gokoku Shrine, Egeyama Park

If you’re heading to Kobe, why not combine your visit with an exploration of West Japan? This 8D6N Spring Breeze of West Japan tour by JTB will have you fly from Singapore to Osaka, followed by a discovery of Kobe, Kinosaki, Toyooka, Arashiyama, Nara and more. Talk about discovering hidden gems!

Highlights: Cherry blossom viewing, strawberry picking, soba making experience, kimono experience, traditional multi-course Kaiseki meal

Departure dates: 26, 28 March 2018

MARVEL AT THE WONDERS OF SPRING WITH JTB NOW!

Fukushima: 8 April to 14 April

Image credit: yisris

Best cherry blossom-viewing spots: Miharu Shidarezakura, Kasumiga Castle Park, Hanamiyama Park

Aomori: late April

Image credit: Daisuke K

Best cherry blossom-viewing spots: Ashino National Park, Hirosaki Park

Kickstart your adventure from Tokyo and work your way up towards the northern bits of Japan! Venture off the beaten path to discover places like Aomori, Akita, Yamagata, Sado Island and more on this 9D6N 5 Prefectures of North Japan tour with JTB. And if you have concerns about whether you’ll be in good hands – fret not! Winner of the TripZilla Excellence Awards 2018 – Best for Japan, you can be rest assured that your experience will be top notch.

Highlights: Tarai Bune (tube boat), Tokyo water bus, strawberry picking, Sakura viewing

Departure dates: 16 April 2018

EXPLORE NORTHERN JAPAN WITH JTB NOW!

Hokkaido: 29 April to 4 May

Image credit: Jiashiang

Best cherry blossom-viewing spots: Hakodate’s Goryokaku, Matsumae Castle, Odori Park, Moerenuma Park

Hokkaido is often best explored by car, but what if you don’t have a driver’s license? Driving in a foreign country may not always be the easiest to manage as well. If you’re looking to plan a spring Sakura escapade that everyone can enjoy – no matter their age – then look no further than JTB’s 8D5N Spring @ Hokkaido tour tour. JTB are known to be the industry’s ‘Japan Experts’, and rightly so! They’ve been crafting exquisite Japan tours since 1987, and are equipped with the necessary know-how and insider tips to make your trip nothing short of memorable.

Highlights: Shiroi Koibito cookie decorating experience, Milking experience, Chitose Outlet Mall,

Departure dates: 9, 10 May 2018

SAKURA IN HOKKAIDO? YES, PLEASE!

Plan and book in advance!

Remember to plan your trip according to these optimal viewing periods to boost your chances of ogling at the dreamy full blooms. Most travellers would book their hotels around two months in advance – but trust us: the earlier, the better! According to HotelsCombined, in Tokyo itself, hotel rates in popular wards (such as Shinjuku, Minato and Taito) would cost an average of US$178/night, so you’ll want to be the early bird to score better deals.

Disclaimer: these dates are rough estimates. With the ever-changing weather patterns, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact full bloom dates. This forecast nonetheless serves as a very close guide and we’ll be updating it when further information is released.

Also read: Korea’s Cherry Blossoms 2018 Forecast: When & Where to Catch Them?

About Author

Nur Sofia
Nur Sofia

When she isn’t plotting her next solo trip, Sofia daydreams about Santorini sunsets, Cape Town coasts and Barcelona’s beaches. Born and bred in Singapore, she feels like her heart belongs to the world though. There is a high chance you'll find her munching on Nutella cupcakes while predicting the next blindside on Survivor.

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