The Top Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in North Japan

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The Top Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in North Japan

One of the most popular times to visit Japan, the cherry blossom season is almost upon us. During this time, the country is full of beautiful places covered in these stunning pink and white flowered trees and people celebrate by throwing 'hanami' or cherry blossom viewing parties. Usually blooming in late March and early April the cherry blossom season expected to arrive over a week earlier than usual for most places around Japan this year.

Tokyo is forecast for its blossoms to start opening on March 23rd, with peak viewing usually a week after that. If you've booked a trip in the later half of April however, don't worry, there will still be some incredible places to see the blossoms further north and here are some of the most beautiful.

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The Top Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in North Japan

Sapporo (Hokkaido)

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Japan's northern capital, Sapporo offers a wealth of things to do, along with some picturesque cherry blossom spots. One of the best places to enjoy the pink blossoms is Moerenuma Park, a large park in the northeast of the city with almost 2,000 cherry trees. As Hokkaido is one of the last places to bloom, you can usually enjoy peak blossoms as late as mid May. This year the peak viewing time is expected to be the first week of May.

Hirosaki (Aomori)

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Often touted as the most beautiful cherry blossom spot in north Japan, Hirosaki Castle is famous for its abundance of colorful sakura trees surrounding the castle grounds. With the castle providing a picturesque background and its stark red bridge to complement the plentiful cherry blossoms, it's one of the most iconic photos in Japan.

Cherry blossoms here usually start to bloom a few days or so before places in south Hokkaido which makes it around April 22nd and peak viewing is expected at the end of April to early May.

Natsui Senbonzakura (Fukushima)

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Lining the banks of the Natsui River, the Thousand Cherry Trees of Natsui is a stunning sakura viewing spot with a beautiful backdrop of mountains in Fukushima Prefecture. While there are 'only' a thousand cherry blossom trees here, the fact they are clustered together in a short space makes the sight much more breathtaking. Getting there is easy, taking just over two hours by the Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train and JR Ban-Etsuto Line.

Kakunodate (Akita)

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Known as the 'Little Kyoto of Tohoku' the once lively castle town of Kakunodate is beautiful in any season. If you have to choose one then the cherry blossom season is stunning, with many of the town's well-preserved samurai residences augmented by the beautiful trees. Expect similar blossom opening times as Hirosaki, they should be at their most impressive by the end of April this year.

Eboshiyama Park (Yamagata)

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A fairly non-descript park throughout most of the year, Eboshiyama becomes much more beautiful during the spring season with its cherry blossoms. There are at least 20 different varieties of cherry trees here, some often blooming earlier than others. It's one of the easiest to reach, you can get there directly from Tokyo on the Yamagata Shinkansen and get off at Akayu Station. After spending time admiring the blossoms, make sure to check out Akayu Onsen, a hot spring town that's perfect for taking a moment to relax.

Conclusion: Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in North Japan

While the cherry blossom forecasts give a good general idea, some trees might start to bloom earlier or later than others. If you're still planning your trip, it's recommended to head there around a week after the first blossoms are predicted, that way you should get there before most petals start to fall and when all the trees have opened up their buds.