12 of the world's best places to see cherry blossoms
The spectral eruption of cherry blossoms is one of springtime's most anticipated milestones. If you’re planning to catch cherry blossom trees in full bloom this year, here are some of the best destinations around the world for a chance to experience hanami.
A beloved spring tradition, every year thousands of Japanese sakura trees across Toronto unveil an alluring display of delicate, soft pink petals. High Park is one of the city's top destinations to catch a glimpse of the pink flowers. Cherry blossoms at the park are expected to blossom earlier than usual this spring, with a bloom anticipated by end of April.
When you first think of cherry blossoms, your mind might go to Japan. Indeed, one of the most scenic times to visit is during the few weeks each year when the country is transformed by cherry blossoms blooming en masse. If you're lucky enough to be in Tokyo during this magnificent time, be sure to visit the bustling promenade next to the Meguro River where sakura trees illuminate with bouquets of spectacular eye candy. You can also take in the sight virtually via Google Earth.
If you’re late to Japan's fabled cherry blossom season, Hokkaido's the place to be. Thousands of cherry trees wait until as late as early May to hit peak. Visit Goryokaku Park in Hakodate to see more than 1,000 cherry trees around an old fort. Want a better view? Take in the scene from above at Goryokaku Tower.
New York City
From Union Square Park to Central Park to Randalls Island Park, you'll find sprinklings of pink and white fairy dust all over New York City. But the real show is at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, where the blooms pop with colour through early May. For the next best thing, take a virtual tour of the BBG's Cherry Esplanade and Cherry Walk in peak bloom.
In Bonn, extra-vibrant cherry trees arch over the roadways to create tunnels of blooms. So even if you arrive late in the season, the carpet of bright pink petals underfoot makes for a gorgeous consolation prize.
"This is why I live here!” is a common phrase uttered in Vancouver during cherry blossom season. The flowers are a particularly welcome sight in the city, signalling the end of the soggy season with a reward of one of the world’s most cheerful sites: 40,000 cherry trees bursting with pink and white blooms. The 2023 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival runs from April 1-23 with programs and events to satisfy sakura fans. You can also take a virtual tour of cherry blossoms in the city's Queen Elizabeth Park.
One of the lesser-known places to see cherry blossoms, Boston makes for great, late-season viewing. One of the best places in the city is the walk along the tree-lined Charles River Esplanade from (generally) mid-April into early May.
Jerte Valley, Spain
For something completely different — gorgeous mountains blanketed in white cherry blossoms — head to Spain's Jerte Valley. Mountain bike or hike your way through the bloom, or better yet, paraglide over the whole spectacle.
Copenhagen’s most popular cherry blossom viewing spot is a bit unexpected: Bispebjerg Cemetery, which is inundated annually with petal peepers. If you'd rather hang with a crowd that's a bit more ... alive, head to Langelinie Park, where you'll find dazzling trees of colour all around you.
With thousands of cherry trees to its name, D.C. is one of the best places to petal-peep in the U.S. The mayor of Tokyo presented the trees to the American people in 1912 in the name of international friendship and now it's home to the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which features special events, performances and a parade. Go on cherry blossom watch to find the latest information and forecasts on when D.C.’s cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin will reach peak bloom.
If you’re chasing cherry blossoms farther south, Macon's the place to be: With more than 300,000 cherry trees lining the streets, the city is nothing short of magical. Go for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival and check out the highly-rated Cherry Blossom Trail for the best flower peeping. Pro tip: Some of the best photo opps are at Third Street Park, where the fountain turns pink in celebration of the trees.
Bucking the trend, India's flower festivities are held in the fall. Each November, Meghalaya’s Khasi Hills celebrate the Himalayan cherry blossoms with a three-day festival, even if the flowers don't always show up on cue: The local variety are a particularly unpredictable bunch, often blooming weeks earlier or later than expected. But hey, you could do worse than the Himalayas if you're going to hang around anywhere waiting for blossoms to appear.