The beautiful sight of Sakura
At the tail end of March, a time also known as Golden Week, Japan doesn’t exactly stop (can you imagine it?), but the country is nonetheless swept along in its own serene way by a fervour for the beauty of its indigenous cherry blossoms.
This pale pink-tinted rite of spring is when blankets of cherry blossom sprout forth into life and bedeck the Japanese countryside, parks and gardens.
The Japanese word for cherry blossom is sakura, and it’s a privilege without parallel to visit the island during sakura season.
A gentle party atmosphere
From metropolis to village, a gentle party atmosphere envelops Japan during the cherry blossom festival.
Families have special trips to the best places for ‘hanami’ - basically flower-viewing spots - where they break out the picnic and savour the sight of the pink blooms.
If you find yourself in Tokyo at cherry blossom time, among the best places to head to and see the flowers in all their glory is the very central Shinjuku Gyoen park, Hamarikyu Gardens or the Imperial Palace Gardens.
And if your Japan tour comprises a customary trip to see Mount Fuji, then the Fuji Five Lakes area is a must for incredible views of both cherry blossom and that near-mythical mountain.