Hanami Season! Answering Your Top 5 Questions About Cherry Blossom Viewing in Japan | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan
girls doing cherry blossom viewing

Hanami Season! Answering Your Top 5 Questions About Cherry Blossom Viewing in Japan

By Miku Mar 16, 2023

This post is also available in: Italian

One of the most beautiful Japanese seasons is almost here! You will see lots of cherry blossoms brighten the Japanese landscape during spring! But do you know we have a special event for cherry blossom, which is called ‘cherry blossom viewing’ (hanami お花見)?

For this event, we enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms (sakuraさくら) with a picnic! You can invite your family, friends, workmates, and everyone else! But where can we go? And what time can we have the party? We guess you have some questions about this event! Therefore, we have made a list of 5 questions and answers about cherry blossom viewing. We hope it helps with your preparation for hanami!

When Do Cherry Blossom Trees Come Into Bloom?

Guidable cherry blossom viewing map

Image credit: Guidable Instagram

Because of the climate, sakura start to bloom from western Japan to eastern Japan. In Kyushu and Shikoku areas, they start blooming around the middle of March. In Chugoku, Kinki and Kanto areas at the end of March. In the Chubu area, sakura blossoms at the beginning of April. In Tohoku, they bloom around the middle of April. Lastly, in Hokkaido, they flower at the end of April or the beginning of May! However, it depends on the place you want to visit and that year’s climate situation. Therefore, you need to check the Sakura information before you go! You can enjoy Sakura flowers only for around one week after they reach mankai (満開 full bloom)! 

Sakura Map (English)

Where Can I Enjoy Hanami?

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You can do hanami anywhere where there is cherry blossom! But we recommend you find somewhere near your house, like your local park, since you can drink, bring small children or dogs and still get home easily.

There are some locations famous for cherry blossom viewing like Ueno Park and Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, but they can get very crowded and can take away from the experience. If you want to enjoy eating and drinking while taking in the view, a local park would be a good choice for you. But if eating and drinking are not high on your list of priorities, why not visit temples, shrines, and riverside areas where cherry blossoms bloom?

If you visit the popular parks for hanami, it’s important to know you should procure your space well in advance from early morning since it gets crowded toward afternoon! 

Find more cherry blossom locations in Japan. 

What Should I Bring?

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It depends on the place and who you go with, but we recommend the following things for cherry blossom viewing.

Picnic sheet (usually we use ‘blue sheet’, 2.7m×3.6m for 10 people, 3.6m×5.4m for 20 persons)/ garbage bags (around 10 bags)/ toilet tissue paper and wet wipes/ foods and drinks (ex: lunch boxes, snacks, beers, sake and juices)/ paper tray, paper cup, wood chopsticks and spoons and forks (twice as much as the number of the people)/ coins (around 2,000 yen with 100 and 10 yen coins to buy additional drinks from vending machines or for giving out change after collecting the party fee from everyone).

In addition, these are some useful items you can bring if you have room in your bag!

Permanent marker (ex: for writing a name on a paper cup)/ gum tape (ex: for fixing picnic sheet to the ground)/ cardboard box (ex: for a rubbish box or warm, soft cushion to put under picnic sheet!)/ disposable heating pad (ex: for warming your hands and legs warm)/ rug or blanket (for keeping you warm)/ umbrella (for sudden rain)/ foldable table (ex: for drinks that you don’t want to spill).

Should I Make a Bento or Buy Something?

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Well, this is really subjective, but I think it also depends on the situation and who you go with. If you go as a family with small children and want to have family time, making a lunch box with your partner and children at home before you go could be a good idea. Also, you can save money if you make a lunch box by yourself since you might end up buying other things at supermarkets or convenience stores!

Buying a bento or some snacks in advance would be the best choice if you do not have enough time to cook or if you go as a big group like your company or school. There are lots of special lunch boxes for hanami during spring at supermarkets and convenience stores – perfect if you want to have an especially decorative bento! 

Do I Have to Secure a Spot in Advance?

picnic under cherry blossoms

Image Credit: Canva.com 

It is better to secure a seating place if you choose a famous park or popular place. Otherwise, you might not be able to find a place to sit and enjoy the viewing party. Visit and check the place in advance, and if it is very crowded, you need to lay down your sheet before you start your cherry blossom party, especially on weekends.

Most people want to do cherry blossom viewing at lunchtime, so it’s usually extremely crowded from around 11 am. We recommend you secure your place in the early morning; some people grab their spots from 5 am! Some parks forbid entry from late night to early morning though so make sure you check if you’re aiming to go that early! Luckily, some companies even offer services to keep your spot overnight for you, if you wish to use that kind of service…

Any More Questions on Cherry Blossom Viewing Before Hanami Season is Over?

Are you ready for hanami? If you have any more questions, we’d love to hear from you – send us a message on our Instagram page.

As soon as the cherry blossom season starts, it’s always over before you know it. So plan in advance to ensure you don’t miss the beautiful Japanese spring scenery! Have a wonderful springtime in Japan!

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