Flower blossoms, fragrances, and flight discounts – oh my. When the cherry trees bloom in Japan, it’s a sight to see and smell. Festivals pop up all around the country, with drinks and treats made with the floral aromas appearing everywhere in celebration. This short but sweet season of blossoming has its own name in Japanese (sakura), as does the act itself of viewing the phenomenon (hanami).
The cherry trees famously bloom first in the south, making little pink waves all the way north through the country for about a month. But where can you can expect to have the most stellar sakura experiences?
5. Hirosaki Castle
The castle is, of course, spectacular; but the real attraction here is the park it resides within. With many trees and a moat surrounding the castle, these bright petals fall right into the water, creating a pink river circling beautifully around the grounds that you can actually row yourself down in a boat.
4. Tetsugaku No Michi (The Philosopher’s Path), Kyoto
Located within Maruyama Park, this long path winds around a 200-year-old canal boasting a two-kilometer line of cherry trees and vibrant seasonal sakura from start to finish on either side. Its name honors one of the region’s most famous philosophers, Nishida Kitaro, who meditated along this route on his everyday walk to teach.
3. Himeji Castle
Fact: there are not many castles left in Japan; only 12 remain with their original fortifications after many periods of war and shifting power. Here, the official castle of the city of Himeji has been standing for almost 800 years, having survived many periods that could have easily seen it destroyed.
Its elegant height and white exterior have earned it the nickname of the White Heron Castle.
2. Takato Castle Ruins Park
This castle is just what it sounds like: mostly in ruins. But the amazing thing here, other than the sakura itself, is that you can see remains of constructions from different periods of Japanese history – all of them surrounded by lush greenery. The park boasts a whopping 1,500 cherry trees blooming at once, some of them almost 200 years old, and hosts a sakura festival for the entire month of April.
1. Mount Yoshino
For centuries, Mount Yoshino has been celebrated as the spot offering the very best sakura experience, with 30,000 cherry trees growing thick with bloom across its rolling hills. This hanami is guaranteed to be worth the long hike around the mountain, offering expansive views of sakura in many directions.
Naturally, the tourism industry is aware of this epic season and its tourist appeal, so keep an eye out for flight discounts if you’re keen to make your way there soon.
We Test Rom-Com Knowledge to the Limit With This Quiz
Who doesn’t love watching a rom-com in a dark movie theatre, or at home with someone you care about? We love them so much that we decided to test out your knowledge with some trivia questions! See how many you can answer correctly – each correct answer is worth one point – and keep track of your score until the very end to see just how much of a hopeless romantic you are!
Starting Off Easy
You Should Know This One
What Do You Think?
This Should Be Easy
Getting Slightly Harder
Take a Guess
What Do You Think?
Don’t Lose Hope
You’re So Close
Need a Hint?
Not Very Complicated
Don’t Give Up!
Try This One on for Size
Even We Had Trouble With This One
This Just Looks Hard
Make Us Proud!
Can’t Get Enough
The Penultimate Question
Last But Not Least
0-3 Points – You’re a Hot Mess
You may have been under the impression that you’re a rom-com connoisseur, but you’re really no more than a hot mess. That’s okay, though! Like the beloved Bridget Jones, you’re a lot of fun even though you haven’t quite mastered the ins and outs of committed romance — or in this case, romantic comedies.
4-7 Points – You’re a Hopeless Romantic
No matter how hard you try to make moves and get the girl (or boy), something always gets in the way. You’ve gained a few points along the way with the ladies (or men) — just as you did with this trivia quiz — but ultimately, you’re still on the journey to find love. Don’t lose hope, though! Something’s gotta give, after all.
8-10 Points – You Defy All Stereotypes
People may have doubted you at times in your life, but just like Elle Woods, you defied all odds. Sure — it wasn’t always smooth sailing and you may have struggled along the way but you persevered and made it to the end.