Every Spring, thousands of travellers flock to Japan to view the spectacular cherry blossom, or sakura, in full bloom. The act of viewing these flowers bloom is known in Japan as hanami; with both hanami and sakura ingrained in Japanese culture. This period signifies a time of renewal, and is a celebration of the beauty and fragility of life.
Cherry blossom season is relatively short - and blooming times differ depending on geographical location and weather patterns. Knowing when to catch the flowers in all their glory can be a bit of a guessing game, with weather forecasters and news outlets closely following blooming patterns each year.
The cultural significance, beauty, and tight time period of sakura blooms inevitably means that hanami hot spots can be packed with tourists and locals alike, all hoping to catch a glimpse of these beautiful flowers.
So how can you experience one of Japan’s most iconic events without having to push your way through hordes armed with selfie sticks? We’ve shared our top picks for some of the best lesser-known places to see cherry blossoms in Japan and avoid the crowds.