15 Feb 2019
Welcome to that beautiful time of year again, when cherry blossoms begin to bloom in their all-too-short season. It is impossible to think of springtime without an iconic image of a sea of cherry blossom trees awash with all shades of pink instantly coming to mind.
Every spring, cherry blossoms erupt across the globe, drawing nature seekers far and wide to observe the stunning so-pink-they-look-fake blooms in their prime. And while Japan reigns supreme as the destination to appreciate the blooms, Tokyo can get pretty crowded this time of year. So, if appreciating cherry blossom is on your bucket list but you are not thrilled by the idea of battling the crowds that inevitably arrive with the start of Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan, why not venture further afield.
To ease the process, we have gathered information on the best destinations to spot cherry blossoms this year, expected and unexpected, and brings you one of the most beautiful indications that spring is finally here. From the expected Japan to the unexpected Scandinavia, these are five best destinations for cherry blossom spotting around the world.
The Japanese have long been celebrated as global leaders in the art of cherry blossom appreciation. There is no more iconic a destination to witness cherry blossoms in bloom than Japan. The cherry blossom is an extremely important symbol in Japanese culture: the flower's brief bloom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It's a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short.
Every year, for a week or two, Japan is transformed into a visually arresting sea of pink. Hanami — the act of cherry blossom appreciating is extremely popular with tourists and locals alike. And each year, the Japan Weather Association predicts when the peak bloom will take place, helping spectators decide when to plan their trips. The season for hanami typically occurs from late March until early May. While there’s no shortage of spectacular destinations to see the trees in Japan, nothing beats the magic of Tokyo. The capital of Japan may be famed for its concrete and skyscrapers but also excels at maximising its hanami nature spots. There are numerous picnic-friendly locations – in parks and alongside rivers – that have been planted with carefully choreographed clusters of cherry trees in recent centuries, to dramatic effect.
What arrived as a gift from Japan has become the United States capital’s greatest spring attraction. Back in 1910, Japan gave 2000 cherry trees to Washington D.C. Those trees contracted disease and died — but that setback didn't deter cherry-blossom-relations between America and Japan. Instead, they tried again in 1912, sending 3000 trees to Washington D.C. Those trees remain today and are celebrated each year with the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
The yearly National Cherry Blossom Festival has brought millions of visitors from the US and around the globe. The 3000-plus cherry blossom trees magnificently adorn the Washington D.C.’s Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, illuminates the national monuments, and invigorate the National Mall as people of all walks of life enjoy the natural beauty on US Democracy’s front yard.
Cherry blossom in Washington D.C. is not just an annual floral blooming, but one of the nation’s biggest springtime celebration. The National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the blooming season with an assortment of events, including fireworks, kite festival and parade. From mid March through mid April, the festival attracts quite a footfall and the area teems with visitors. Even if you cannot make it to Washington D.C. to see the blooms, you can watch the pink shaded Tidal Basin through the Bloom Cam set up by National Park Service.
The cherry blossoms in Japan and Washington D.C. are breathtaking, but you can see beautiful cherry blossoms in places like Stockholm, too. Although Stockholm is not one of those places you would expect to see cherry blossoms, the flowers find a way to make their presence felt even in the most unexpected place. The nation’s most famous körsbärsträd (cherry trees) are found right in the heart of Stockholm, in the grand park known as Kungstradgarden. Kungstradgarden and the area that surrounds it get blanketed in a canopy of pink and white each spring.
Dating back to the Middle Ages, Kungstradgarden is the oldest and one of the most popular parks of Stockholm. Sixty three Japanese cherry trees were planted in 1998 — each spring, tourists and locals alike take advantage of the floral spectre by picnicking, strolling or sitting beneath the trees. Kungstradgarden also hosts an annual Japanese Festival to celebrate the blooms and Japanese culture in Sweden, with craft stands and snack stalls setting up just beneath the blooming trees.
No one can resist the charm of Paris! Paris seduces travellers with its uniquely romantic charm every year. Come spring, Paris takes the romance up a notch with blooming cherry blossom trees enveloping the city in pink hues.
Cherry blossom trees can be found dotted throughout Paris' parks and neighborhoods, but for prime cherry blossom viewing, head over to the Parc du Champ de Mars, located between the Eiffel Tower and École Militaire. Here, rows of cherry blossom trees burst into vibrant pinks as the warm weather comes.
While not the biggest concentration, certainly one of the most insta-worthy spots to catch the cherry blossom bloom is near the Eiffel Tower. Don't miss a trip to the botanical gardens at Jardin des Plantes either. Jardin des Plantes has the city’s most diverse selection of cherry blossoms. Further afield, Disneyland Paris and Parc de Sceaux call for a trip to see the pink and white displays.
Located north of the Extremaduran province of Cáceres, Jerte Valley in Spain is draped in a sweeping white blanket of faux snow every spring! It’s actually blooming white cherry blossom flowers that transform this quaint valley into a winter wonderland look for a mere two weeks – yes, not all cherry blossom trees come in pink.
Featuring more than 1.5 million cherry blossom trees, the 70-km-long Jerte Valley is among Spain’s most spectacular regions during spring and produces some of the best cherries in the world. To celebrate the blooming of cherry blossom, the tucked-away valley hosts the La Fiesta del Cerezo en Flor for two weeks every year, and some 50,000 guests attend annually. A popular option for viewing the cherry blossom spectre is renting a car and meandering through the 11 scenic towns that comprise the valley.
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