Talk about flower power.
When pink clouds of cherry blossoms, or sakura (as they’re known in Japan) start blooming, that’s a sure sign that spring has officially arrived. It’s one of those blink-and-you-miss-it natural wonders, which makes it all the more magical when you do catch a glimpse of these pastel beauties. But how can you be sure to see them at their peak? We’ve got you covered with the seven best places to see cherry blossoms around the world.
Cherry blossom viewing season (known as Hanami in Japan) is a time for introspection. The beautiful, yet fleeting, sakura blossoms serve as a reminder of the impermanence of life. Yes, Hanami is a time for contemplation and soul-searching, but enjoying the sakura’s beauty is the main event of this beautiful tradition. Grab your favourite journal and head to Shinjuku Gyoen Park in Tokyo to reflect under the cherry blossoms. This sprawling urban garden draws major crowds for cherry blossom season from late March to late April, so get there early if you crave some solitude.
Our all-time favourite spot for early morning Eiffel Tower photo shoots year-round just so happens to be a prime spot for cherry blossoms in Paris. The wide walkways of Trocadéro serve up prime Eiffel Tower views, and come mid-March to late April this location bursts to life with cherry blossoms—how’s that for an added bonus? Be sure to set your alarm for Bright and Early as these Parisian views are about as hot as French baguettes.
3. Washington, DC
Cherry blossom season in Washington, DC is an event… literally. The National Cherry Blossom Festival was first held in 1934 to celebrate the gorgeous Japanese cherry trees gifted to the city by Tokyo’s mayor in 1912. This year, the festivities run from March 20 through April 14. Get in on the action at the Tidal Basin, where those famous trees beautifully frame some of the capital’s most iconic monuments. Keep an eye out for events all around the city, like the themed Cherry Blossom PUB, a pop-up featuring over-the-top details like a Palace of Versailles-inspired garden room and a ramen room.
The serene Philosopher’s Path explodes with colour during peak Hanami season in Kyoto come early April. Walking the cherry blossom-lined canal path takes about 30 minutes, but spend some extra time visiting the small temples and shrines along the way. As is the case elsewhere, arriving early is recommended to get those sweet cherry blossom views sans crowds.
Visiting Amsterdam during spring is generally reserved for a flower of a different variety, the beautiful and vibrant tulips that pop up around the city! But while you’re there basking in the tulip goodness, you can sneak in some cherry blossom viewing as well. The more the merrier most definitely applies to flowers, so get yourself to Keukenhof Gardens between March 21 and May 19 for all the cheery colourful blooms you can handle. Arrive before 10:30 a.m. or after 4 p.m. for the lightest crowds and the best light for photos.
6. New York City
As if Central Park wasn’t already the perfect place to spend a day in New York City, it’s also one of the best places to see cherry blossoms, which typically bloom from mid-April to early May. To see the resident Central Park beauties bloom to life, head to the west and east sides of the Reservoir, the southeast edge of the Great Lawn, Bethesda Terrace, and the southeast corner of the Great Lawn Oval. Need more ideas for a full day at the park with the little ones? Here are 10 fun things to do in Central Park with kids.