Cherry Blossom Madness
Cherry blossom season (hanami) is one of the most popular times to visit Japan. This also means it’s very crowded and difficult to book tourist services. As usual, the main reason is because everybody wants to go to the same few places.
In Tokyo, the three most popular hanami destinations are, Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, and the moat around the Imperial Palace. Philosopher’s Walk (testugaku no Michi) in Kyoto and Kema Sakuranomiya Park in Osaka are also immensely popular and crowded. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys squeezing into those kinds of places, that’s great. It can be just as fun to watch all the people as it is to look at the cherry blossoms.
If you’d rather enjoy hanami for the sake of hanami, you’ll find them everywhere during the season, which is a lot longer than you might think. In fact, I don’t think you can walk very far in any city, town or village in Japan and not see beautiful cherry trees in bloom.
It’s also very easy to find hanami spots that are just as beautiful and cover more area than those iconic spots in the big cities that are not to far off the beaten path in Japan.
Izu's Kawazu Cherry Festival
Here in Izu, we have some of the earliest blooming varieties of sakura (cherry trees). The most famous is the Kawazuzakura, which begins to bloom in the beginning of February and peaks around the second to third week of the month. This early variety was developed in the city of Kawazu, where a popular festival runs from the beginning till the end of February.
Photos: Kawazu Tourist Association