Written by Foo Mei Tze
Cherry blossom also famously known as Sakura is the embodiment flower of the spring, representing a time of renewal and the fleeting life of nature because of the short lifespan of the flowers. They are one of the most famous Japan’s landscape features during the springtime and the most celebrated seasons.
In Japan, the sakura season falls in the mid March till the end of April or the beginning of May. Leading up to this season, many cherry blossom enthusiasts will have to carefully plan their vacation to join the cherry blossom’s bandwagon. The flowers only blooms for two weeks at most, so Japanese’s blossom forecast plays an important role in announcing the peak of the season. But today, cherry blossoms of different breeds could be seen all around the world and are now celebrated in each country.
Let's check out and bookmark some of these countries around the world with their own hanami spots!
Japan - Kakegawa Castle, Shizuoka Prefecture
Located in the middle of Japan, the cherry blossoms bloom during the end of February to the middle of March and end of March till the mid of April. The reason for the longer viewing time is because there a few types of cherry blossom could be found around the castle and have different periods of blossoming.
The sakura’s festivals are held in the beginning of April every year and it is called the Kakegawa Castle Park Sakura Matsuri. The festival includes street food, tea parties at the Tea Room, workshops sales, morning market and ninja experience for the ninja lovers.
United States - Fairmount Park, Philadelphia
Washington D.C is famous for sakura viewing but the large crowds tend to be a turn off especially in a time when social distancing is needed. Just a few miles away, Philadelphia also offers cherry blossoms viewing and the cherry blossoms in Philadelphia usually bloom during the April.
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the US, Japan gave Philadelphia 1000 trees and these magnificent seeds have then matured and grown into gorgeous blushing cherry blossoms that we loved. Every year the Japan American Society of Greater Philadelphia held the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival in the Fairmount Park’s garden or the Shofuso Japanese House to celebrate and honor the friendship between the United States and Japan.
France - Eiffel Tower, Paris
The capital for lovers and couples has once again surprised us with their beauty from the cherry blossoms trees. The trees blossom during the first few weeks of April and last around two to three weeks. Since the blooms are not too visible, it might be a little bit tricky to find the trees along the streets of Paris.
But fret not, visitors use Eiffel Tower as a landmark and around the area, there will be couples of the cherry blossoms laying around. There also a number of cherry trees laying around Notre Dame, parks, squares, metro stations and certain streets in Paris.
China - Yuyuantan Park,Beijing (Jade Lake Park)
Said to be the largest park in Beijing and it is also home to the biggest cherry garden in China. A total of 180 cherry seeds were gifted from Japan during the spring of 1973 and were planted in the garden. As years passed by, the people of China cultivated more and more trees and now the garden holds 3,000 of them.
The buds blossom in late March to the late of April, during this period, tourists flock in the park to enjoy the Cherry Blossoms Festivals in the Garden. Those who wish to see the cherry blossom here have to be twice as precise because the bud blooms for only 7 days. The trees only take 2 weeks from budding to blossoming, fading and eventually replaced by green leaves.
Switzerland - Aargau Jura
Nothing beats the view of the first spring flower blooming after a long winter month. Beat the crowd by going Switzerland for the cherry blossom viewing. Switzerland’s cherry blossoms are located in the hills and mountains offering nature landscapes differ from the parks and cities landscape.
The best time to visit is typically mid-April to the end of May depending on the weather. The white petals of cherry blossoms adds colours to the green hills of the Aargau Jura and it offers a cherry trail with a five-kilometer circuit for the visitors to enjoy the mesmerizing scenery of the hills with a touch of white blusher by the cherry blossoms.
Taiwan - Yangmingshan National Park, Taipei
Perhaps the most popular place for cherry blossoms viewing in Taipei, is at the Yangming Park. The blossoms will bloom during Mid-February to mid-March. Its popularity came because of the presence of different varieties of cherry blossoms could be found in the park.
There are variants including Yoshino,Keio-zakura, Taiwan cherry and even the Yaezakura double-petaled blossoms. The Yangmingshan Flower Festival is held annually in Yangming Park, Floriculture Experiment Center, and other areas of Yangming Mountain, which draws the focus of numbers of visitors to appreciate the beauty of short live blossoms.
Korea - Jeonnong-ro, Jeju-do
At Jeju-do, there are 100 year old cherry trees lined along the roadside and it is an iconic tree in Korea. This tree is known to be the King of Cherry Trees and their blossoms only last for 2 or 3 days while the normal cherry blossoms in Korea bloom at the end of March till the second week of April. Annually, there is celebration of Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival held in venues like Jeonnong-ro, Jeju City, the entrance to Jeju National University, and at Jangjeon-ri, Aewol-eup.
There is also the Jeju Seosara Culture Street Festival. Performances will be held and the tree will be covered with beautiful lighting to enhance the visitor’s experience by creating meaningful pictures and memories. During the night of the festival, people would be seen walking along the cherry blossom’s road lit with traditional Korean lanterns. Youngsters can enjoy the nightlife because of the abundance of cafes and restaurants in the area.
Malaysia - Alor Setar, Kedah
Do you know that Malaysians do not have to travel overseas just to catch a glimpse of pink flowers? There are a few places in Malaysia that offer "sakura" viewing and one of them is at Alor Setar, Kedah.
Thanks to the abundance of the Tecoma trees there, they add a pop of colour to brightened up the city’s landscape further. They might not be the same flowers as te cherry blossoms we all know and love but they have that same mesmerizing effect. These trees bloom in March and last for two to three weeks unless there is constant rain.
While we maybe limited to the flowers in our respective areas, the optimist in us can always plan for cherry blossom season in 2022 when everyone is vaccinated and travel has resumed once more. With this, just know that the flowers are always there and there are many other countries that also offer a similar experience as Japan.