One of the most famous cherry blossom festivals in Japan has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic for 2021. Chiyoda City Tourism Association announced the decision recently to cancel the popular event at Chidorigafuchi Moat, next to the Imperial Palace.
Tourism associations in Yawatahama, Ehime, Matsudo in Chiba and some others have also announced similar cancellations for their festivals this year. Other governing bodies of major festivals around Japan are expected to make a decision in the coming weeks.
The cherry blossom or sakura season is forecast to start at the end of March in Tokyo this year.
table of contents
Popular Cherry Blossom Festivals Cancelled in Japan for this Spring
Chidorigafuchi Moat is one of the most popular spots to view the cherry blossoms in Tokyo and Japan. The event normally allows visitors to hire pedal boats to drift under and around the hundreds of sakura trees there, particularly popular when the blossoms start falling on the moat. The park also features a beautiful lighting display of the cherry blossoms during the evening. While you can still visit the area to view the cherry blossoms, any organized events in and around the park will be cancelled, including the lighting up, guided tours and boating.
Other Cancelled Events in Japan
Most public events in Japan were cancelled last year to control the spread of COVID-19, such as summer festivals and countdown events for the New Year. Apart from cherry blossom viewing, most of the popular festivals in Japan are held during the summertime from July to September. It's unsure at this time whether such events will be cancelled again this year. The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics is still set to start on July 23rd this year after being postponed for a year, however recent speculation has suggested they might be cancelled completely.
When Will the Cherry Blossom Season Start around Japan in 2021?
For 2021 the best dates for viewing cherry blossoms around Japan have been predicted to be the following (announced by the Japan Meteorological Corporation):
Tokyo: Full bloom expected around March 31st.
Nagoya: Full bloom expected around April 2nd.
Kyoto: Full bloom expected around April 4th.
Osaka: Full bloom expected around April 4th.
Hiroshima: Full bloom expected around April 2nd.
Fukuoka: Full bloom expected around April 5th.
Kanazawa: Full bloom expected around April 9th.
Sendai: Full bloom expected around April 16th.
Aomori: Full bloom expected around April 28th.
Sapporo: Full bloom expected around May 7th.
Expect flowers to start appearing about a week before the full bloom date.
While the coronavirus pandemic means traveling to Japan this year to view the cherry blossoms is highly unlikely as foreign tourists are still unable to enter the country, you can expect major sites to be shown online. Last year saw an increase in VR videos showcasing the cherry blossoms around Japan from weather and tourism organizations via their YouTube channels in Japan.
For the cancelled event in Chiyoda, there is a live-stream of the famous cherry blossom view there that you can view below.