The top three things to do during Japan's cherry blossom festivals can show you the beauty of the blossoms in the season and give you an idea of how to experience the best of the occasion.
From sampling regional cuisine beneath the pink and white blooms to finding the perfect view overlooking the countryside, or exploring the souvenir stalls during a jovial Japan festival, embrace the exciting ambiance of the season during your vacation.
The cherry blossom has become a symbol of Japan that you can enjoy as you partake in the related festivals with these ideas of how to experience them.
Japan’s cities come alive during cherry blossom season and the festivals flood historic quarters with a joyous atmosphere as locals and tourists enjoy the beautiful colors and exciting events.
A visit to the Meguro River in Tokyo during the season allows you to wander around a number of local food stalls, cafes, restaurants, and bars throughout the day amid the 800 cherry trees that line nearly two miles of the riverbanks.
The evening lighting events at Gongendo Park, less than an hour from Tokyo, showcase the contrasting pink of the blossoms and yellow rapeseed flowers alongside 100 specialty stalls, revealing more natural charm around the corner from the capital.
Golden Week occurs between the end of April and the first week of May. It is the time when many cherry blossom trees between Tokyo and Kyoto bloom in concurrence, with four consecutive Japanese holidays that host incredible festivals.
The celebrations consist of locals sipping sake and snacking on home-cooked cuisine, in addition to the various food and souvenir stalls that offer regional specialties such as umibudo, or sea grapes, in Okinawa, or freshwater eel over rice, known as unaju in Tokyo.
At cherry blossom festivals during Golden Week, you too can indulge in the delectable dishes and regional cuisine at your favorite destinations for viewing the blossoms.
The tradition of hanami reflects the idea of enjoying transient beauty, like the passing charm of flowers, especially during cherry blossom season.
The season often brings crowds of younger citizens and families to the countryside and city streets eager to experience the tradition, inviting travelers to participate in it for a more immersive experience at the festivals.
Some provinces use soft, electric lights or paper lanterns along the walkways for evening viewings. Hanami is often accompanied by special drinks and dishes, such as a sweet dumpling known as dango or the single-portion meal referred to as bento, complemented by sake.
The best cherry blossom festivals in Japan will introduce you to locals and demonstrate how different regions celebrate the changing scenery during the season. Whether in a northern mountain town or a world-famous metropolis, when you witness the cherry blossoms in Japan, you are connected to the local cultural and natural landscape.