When thinking about popular tourists time in Japan, we probably could think of 2 seasons which offers different beautiful scenery. One is to enjoy the Sakura during the Spring and the other is to appreciate leaves changing color in the Fall. For this coming Sakura season, what it has to offer? And how to prepare? Let's go find out together.....
Let's get to know "Hanami" Festival or Cherry Blossoms Appreciation Festival
Hanami actually, this word means to appreciate flowers. This culture has lasted for thousands of years in Japan. And it is the cherry blossoms, that keeps Japanese and the tourists waiting the most. Eventually, "Hanami" is used as to watch Sakura as well. Let's say both foreigners and Japanese are really looking forward to this cherry blossoms time which is a very special time of the year that only lasts for about 1-2 weeks.
The popular locations for watching Sakura
It is available throughout Japan. The blossoming will start from the south to the north of the country (which is in the opposite direction of the changing leaves). Each location has their own unique way to enjoy the flower. Also, different location has different species of Sakura, making it has slightly different color. Besides, the culture of appreciating Sakura also differs. Let's just say, you will get a different impression when traveling to different place in Japan.
Tokyo, the capital city of Japan is a popular destination for Thai people. It offers several tourist destinations as well. if you would like to enjoy the Sakura at Mount Fuji, you must start at Tokyo.
- Shinjuku Gyoen is a park located at the heart of Tokyo which is surrounded by skyscrapers. The highlight lies at it has more than 1,000 Sakura with different species. So if you miss the cherry blossom elsewhere, you may try to visit here as some might still be blossoming.
- ::::How to get here: It's a 10 minutes walk from Shinjuku Train Station::::
- Chidoringafuchi is a park located in the same area as the Imperial Palace. The highlight here is that big canal surrounded by Sakura. People also love to boat along it. At night, it's beautifully decorated with lights.
::::How to get here: It's a 3 minutes walk from Kudanshita Train Station::::
- Ueno is a big park located on the east side of Tokyo. It is the hub for transportation and shops. Thai tourists are quite familiar with this place as it's a big shopping center. When the spring comes, this park is packed with people coming for picnic under the Sakura.
::::How to get here: It's a 3 minutes walk from the train station.
- Kawaguchi Lake and Chureito Pagoda It is the place where you can enjoy the Sakura view with Mount Fuji as a background. Well, let's say it features two iconic symbols of Japan and of course, it is such a harmonious combination. Kawaguchi Lake is one of the five lakes located near Mount Fuji that is highly popular among Thai tourists. During the spring, in addition to the clear weather allowing Mount Fuji to be visible, the Sakura around the lake is also beautifully blossoming. Also, do not forget to take a great sight at the Chereito Pagoda or the Red pagoda. It might get you sweat a bit going up there, but it's definitely worth every sweat.
::::How to get here: It is about one and a half hour by train (we need to change the train at Otsuki Station) and you can get off at Kawaguchiko Station for the lake or Shimoyoshida for the Red Pagoda. ::::
Osaka is a main city of Kansai area where Thai people are also quite familiar with, after Tokyo. It might not get as lively and chaotic as Tokyo, but its charm, making us fall in love quite easily.
- Osaka Castle is an important landmark of Osaka that everyone should stop by. In spring, more than 4,000 Sakura around the castle are blossoming. It is a must not miss destination. Nearby, the Nishinomaru Park is another popular stop.
::::How to get here: It's a 10 minutes walk from Mironomiya /Osakajokoen Train Station.::::
- Osaka Mint Bureau is a place that only opens for visit 1 week in a year. It is located near Yodo River. It has more than 100 different unique species of Sakura, making this place another must not miss place for the tourists. Though it has quite a big crowd here, but I can guarantee that it's totally worth it.
::::How to get here: It is a 10 minutes walk from Osaka Tenmangu / Minamimorimachi Train Station.:::
- Kema Sakuranomiya is a park near Okawa River. It has more than 5,000 Sakura trees located along side the river. Japanese and tourists like to come here to hang out. It also offers a great view when boating along this river.
::::How to get here: It's a 10 minutes walk from Sakuranomiya Train Station.::::
Kyoto is a city that you must visit when coming to Kansai area. In addition to countless historical and cultural attractions, Kyoto is an important destination for Sakura and the spring as well.
- Philosopher's Path is a road and stream between Ginkakuji temple and Nanzenji temple. It has hundreds of Sakura. When the Sakura fully blossom, the entire road is pink both on the trees and on the ground.
:::: In addition to here, Kyoto also has several other beautiful Sakura location like Maruyama Park ,Okazali Canel.::::
Nara is another popular nearby city. Many people might know this town from deer, but yes, it is another must not miss city during the spring.
- Nara Park is one of the main destinations when people coming to visit Nara. The highlight is where it has more than 500 deer roaming freely. In the spring, more than 2,000 Sakura trees will also be blossoming. Beautiful and cute deer just lighten this place up.
::::How to get here: It is a 5 minutes walk from Kintetsu Nara Train Station :::::::: In addition, Nara also offers other beautiful Sakura appreciation spots like Koriyama Castle, Heijo Palace.::::
Interesting Sakura Appreciation Destinations in Other Cities:
- Kumamoto Castle Kumamoto is the city of "Kumamon" lover. The main attraction here is the beautiful Kumamoto Castle, a large and unique black castle that is in contrast with beautiful pink Sakura.
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a park located in the downtown Hiroshima. It was built to commemorate the nuclear explosion during the World War II. The Atomic Dome is outstandingly located near the river. This area is also full of Sakura attracting lots of tourists to visit during the spring.
- Himeji Castle is a huge white castle in Himeji city that is just recently open for visit after the renovation. It is surrounded by lots of Sakura. Especially on the clear sky day, the pink Sakura is beautifully contrasting with the white castle, it's such an amazing scene.
- Kenrokuen in Kanazawa city is a western coast town of Japan. Kenrokuen Park is a famous park that offers lots of Sakura. This park also locates Kanazawa Castle.
- Hirosaki Castle is located in Aomori city. Aomori is well known for having the most delicious apple in Japan. During the spring, Hirosaki Castle offers more than 2,000 Sakura trees. Along the canal also has beautiful Sakura of which we could boat along it. If you are taking the train towards Hokkaido, stopping a day at Aomori certainly won't disappoint you.
- Goryokaku Fort is an old fort in Hakodate city. It is a 5 stars shape fort looking from a high angle view. More importantly, Sakura is planted in almost just about everywhere here.
Preparation before going for "Hanami" Festival
Do and Don't for Sakura Appreciation:
Everyone is well realized that Japan and Japanese has their own convention and tradition including the Hanami Festival or Sakura appreciation time where they have what should and should not do. Let's see what should we behave before we go, so that we can fully enjoy this festival.
- The spot where we can picnic for food and fun is based on first comes first serves service. Mostly, people put out their mat to reserve the spot. Of course, people should also stay on the mat at all time too. We also should not overbooking the space.
- We should check whether certain area can be used for eating or not. It's not that every spot underneath the Sakura can be used for picnic. Although you might see people sitting there, it might not always allow for such activity. The best way is to check beforehand, either with the place or via website.
- Do not leave garbage. Usually, bins are provided but it might not be sufficient for a big crowd. Anyhow, it does not mean that we can just leave garbage there, we should either take it to throw at other place or bring home with us if the bins are full.
- Only watch but do not touch. Regardless of how beautiful or how close we are to the trees, we cannot touch it. Sakura is quite fragile, it only takes a soft touch to fall. We should help letting it stay so that more people can enjoy this magnificent beauty.
- Find the bathroom as soon as you arrive. Some place of "Hanami" might not offer bathroom or insufficient. So we must make sure where it is or we can picnic nearby it in case if we drink alcoholic beverages, we might need it more often.
- Prepare enough warm clothes. The weather during the spring is still too cold for Thai people so we should prepare enough clothes, otherwise, the fun will be ruined.
- Do not forget to try the seasonal food. During this festival, several shops and supermarkets will offer seasonal food and drinks like bento food, canned beverages, coffee, or beer. So if you have a chance to visit, do not miss them.
Thank yo so much for the information from JNTO. ขอบคุณข้อมูลจาก JNTO
Things that we should have (we could find it from 100 yen stores).
- Plastic mat. We do not have to bring a mat from Thailand because we can buy it from Japan. Do not worry that it will run out as most of Japanese house will have it.
- Portable sitting pad. Sometimes, the floor is not smooth so bringing this portable sitting pad gives us much comfortable seat (Japanese call it Zabuton).
- Garbage bag. It is a very important item because after enjoying the Sakura, we should not leave a single garbage behind.
- Portable heater. The easiest to find and popular one is hot bag which is small and gives us quite good warmth.
- Plastic glass and plates. We don't have to carry them from Thailand or take them from the hotel, we can buy easily ones here. The quality is so great. It feels like the real glass and plate so much that we would want to bring them back to Thailand.
Thank yo so much for the information and photos from JNTO. ขอบคุณข้อมูลจาก JNTO
Sakura Blossoming Time in Each Region
*The information from weathermap japan http://sakura.weathermap.jp/
(The expected starting time/ the expected fully blossom time)
- Tokyo (26 March/ 2-10 April)
- Osaka (30 March/ 5-13 April)
- Kyoto (29 March/ 4-12 April)
- Nara (31 March/ 6-14 April)
- Hiroshima (28 March/ 3-11 April)
- Kanazawa (5 April/ 9-17 April)
- Fukuoka (26 March/ 3-11 April)
- Kumamoto (27 March/ 3 - 11 April)
- Hakodate (No forecast available now)
The most popular and reliable information is from the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). But now (mid of Februar), no forecast report is out.
Here is the overall information of the Hanami Festival in Japan. I can guarantee that no matter where you go, you will be very impressed. And if you are looking for cheap tickets, do not forget to book it with Jetradar Jetradar เว็บ/แอปจองตั๋วเครื่องบินราคาถูก
Jetradar also works with Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), inviting you to share the experiences of "traveling in Japan......endless discovery". You could win a round trip ticket to Japan (1st prize offers 2 tickers, totaling of 30,000 THB). Also, every participate would get a promotional code, please click here for more information ร่วมกิจกรรมคลิกเลย! (the activity is from 14-28 February 2017).
Please don't forget to take part!
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