The cherry blossom season (sakura) is one of the best times to visit Japan and I had personally wanted to see it for a long time, and luckily managed to catch it in Japan’s 5th largest city, Sapporo, as well as other parts of Hokkaido (the large island Sapporo is situated on).

The colourful trees painting a beautiful landscape across the cities and countryside. Friends, families, colleagues join together for a “hanami”, which is a picnic under the cherry blossom trees.

It’s a fun time of year and a celebration.

The Japanese see symbolism in the cherry blossoms. They appear for only a few weeks once a year and represent the transient nature of life, from birth to death.

The trees start blooming in the south of the country and work there way north, ending on the island of Hokkaido, where Sapporo is located.

Although you wont get to see the typical pictures of a temple surrounded by sakura in places like Kyoto etc, you will be able to feel what the cherry blossom season is about, seeing the local people having hanami parties in the park, and the city brightened up by the trees colours.

In the other parts of Hokkaido things become more rural and it’s very peaceful to be in an onsen (for example) in nature surrounded by the cherry blossoms.

The great thing with Sapporo is that there is a lot less tourists than in Tokyo and Kyoto at that time of year, and you will get a local experience of the cherry blossom season.


Cherry Blossom In Sapporo

 

A hanami under a sakura tree with friends.

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Posing for a photo with the sakura trees is a popular thing to do.

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Children play with the falling petals.

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Colleagues taking a photo together.

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Selfie time!

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Adding bright colour to the cityscape.

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The glow of pink in the background from the cherry blossom trees.

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In the park.

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A lone sakura tree.

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Families, friends, and colleagues having a hanami.

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Cherry Blossom on Rishiri and Ruben Islands

 

As I headed to the furthest north of Hokkaido I saw the cherry blossoms while going along until reaching Rishiri Island, one of the most remote islands in Japan.

This was as far north as you can get to see the cherry blossoms in Japan. It’s a very relaxed place with a slow pace of life. Small fishing villages dot the coastline and in the middle of it all is the peak of an extinct snow capped volcano.

Friend poses for photo with the cherry blossom.


Go See the Cherry Blossoms in Sapporo and Hokkaido

 

So if you arrive in Japan a little bit to late for the cherry blossoms in the south around Tokyo and Kyoto and really want to see them, then take a budget flight to Sapporo and try to catch them there and explore Hokkaido while your at it.

It’s one of the best places in Japan.

Take a look at other good times to visit Hokkaido.


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Jonny Duncan is a travel blogger and freelance photographer. He specialises in adventure and budget travel with over 20 years of experience. He started blogging in 2013 to give advice for other travellers. He has lived in Japan, Amsterdam, Kiev, and more.

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