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News Mapped Bucket List

The most picture-perfect places to experience cherry blossoms in the world

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Trixie Pacis Mar 21, 2019 12:18 pm 199

For a few magical weeks each spring, cherry blossom trees around the world cover cities in a canopy of pink and white. So fleeting is hanami (flower viewing season) that it is considered to be a bittersweet yet poetic symbol of beauty and life, particularly in Japanese culture. Each year, changing cherry blossom trees serve as a poignant reminder of the cyclical nature of all things.

So exactly when does hanami happen and how long does it last?

Well, it varies around the world but no matter where you are, you can expect the blossoming petals to remain for roughly two weeks once the cherry trees reach mankai (full bloom). Of course, things like wind, rain, and snow also affect how long the petals hang around before blowing off like light snow.

It is a magical and highly-anticipated time of year that often coincides with a celebration of springtime and Japanese culture. In fact, Torontonians are already keeping a close eye on the blossoms of Sakura in High Park.

If you’re not in Toronto, don’t worry! There are many places around the world to enjoy hanami and join in on springtime festivities. With cherry blossom season just around the corner, here is a list of incredible places known to look pretty in pink.

Parc de Sceaux, France

 

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An hour-long train ride from Paris, you’ll find Parc de Sceaux. It is the perfect place for a proper French picnic, especially in April. King Louis XIV’s principal gardener designed Parc de Sceaux in addition to the gardens of Chantilly, Saint Germain, Fontainebleau, and Versailles. Parisians and tourists alike gather for the annual Parc de Sceaux Cherry Blossom Festival taking place on April 20 & 21, 2019.

If you happen to be staying in Paris, take a stroll down the Champ de Mars to take in cherry blossoms and the Eiffel Tower. The south facade of Notre Dame, the central courtyard in the Petit Palais, Square Gabriel Pierné, and Jardins des Plantes also offer less crowded alternatives. If you do visit the Jardins des Plantes, keep an eye out for the Prunus Shirotae tree, which means ‘snow white’. It also goes by the name Mount Fuji and it is believed to be the largest tree in all of Paris.

Best time to visit: April

Jerte Valley, Spain

 

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For a few weeks each spring, the Jerte Valley north of Cáceres appears as if it’s covered in snow. Contrary to a cold snap, this phenomenon is due to white cherry trees blooming across the rolling hillsides. Eleven towns are nestled along the 70-kilometre-long valley, which is home to nearly 2 million cherry trees. On top of looking pretty, the region also produces some of the world’s sweetest cherries.

Be sure to time your visit around La Fiesta del Cerezo en Flor (underway until May 3, 2019) to enjoy guided walking tours, musical performances, cooking workshops, tasting sessions, and various exhibitions.

Best time to visit: late March to the beginning of May, when cherry picking season starts.

Amsterdamse Bos, Netherlands

 

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The Bloesempark section of Amsterdamse Bos draws picnickers each spring, especially when pastel pink and white blossoms fill the park. While the hanami matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival) that usually takes place each March has been canceled this year, there will still be many flowering trees to stroll beneath.

The Japan Women’s Club planted 400 cherry trees in Amsterdamse Bos as a tribute to Tsunami victims. Uniquely, half of these trees bear female Dutch names while the other half bear female Japanese names.

Best time to visit: late March and mid-April, which also coincides with the season for blossoming tulips.

Botanical Garden of Curitiba, Brazil

 

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If March and April aren’t ideal travel months for you, try the Curitiba Botanical Garden in Brazil. Unlike most other places around the world, their cherry blossoms reach mankai in July and look lovely splashed against the park’s iconic white glass house.

Best time to visit: July

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, Canada

 

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While there are 40,000 cherry blossom trees spread throughout Stanley Park and the downtown core (Waterfront, Granville Island, and Yew Street in Kitsilano in particular), we recommend a trip to Queen Elizabeth Park. It becomes a blossom-covered oasis each spring (not to mention free entry and easier parking). Plus The Big Picnic will be happening rain or shine on April 13, 2019, from 12 – 3 pm.

Don’t miss the various events, art performances, film screenings, and haiku competition at the annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (April 4-28, 2019).

You can also get festive during Sakura Days Japan Fair at the VanDusen Botanical Garden for tea ceremonies and sake tasting (April 14 & 15, 2019). The VanDusen houses the 500 original cherry trees bestowed upon the city by Japanese mayors in the 1930s.

Read more about Vancouver’s upcoming festivities here!

When to visit: late March to late April

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York, USA

 

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Cherry trees also bloom throughout the Big Apple! Brooklyn’s Botanic Garden features 42 varieties of cherry trees, adding a splash of pink to the concrete jungle skyline. This year, NYC also hosts the 15th Annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival (April 20, 2019) celebrating Japanese culture with traditional Taiko drum performances, Japanese folk dance, and a tea ceremony under the blossoms.

Otherwise, Central Park, Randalls Island Park, Riverside Park, and Roosevelt Island are also popular spots to enjoy the annual bloom.

Best time to visit: late March to early May

Washington DC Tidal Basin, USA

 

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In 1912, Japan presented Washington DC with 3,000 cherry blossom trees. Today, many bloom around the city, particularly in Sakura Park and along the banks of East Potomac Park and DC’s Tidal Basin.

Now is a great time to visit as the National Cherry Blossom Festival is underway from March 20 – April 14, 2019. Held in collaboration with the Japanese Embassy, the celebration includes an opening ceremony, kite festival, and blossom tours. You can also catch fireworks and live music at Petalpalooza on The Wharf.

Best time to visit: late March to mid-April

For the latest bloom status, check out the National Park Service’s Live Bloom Update.

Macon, Georgia, USA

 

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Did you know that Macon Georgia is the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World?

That’s right. If you venture on down to Macon in the spring, you’ll find over 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees blooming around the city.

Experience Macon’s 38th Annual International Cherry Blossom Festival (March 22 – 31, 2019) which ushers in spring with a street party and cherry blossom parade, among other events.

Best time to visit: late March

Gucun Park, Shanghai, China

 

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For a stunning display of pink blossoms, head to Gucun Park. With over 10,000 cherry trees in roughly 60 varieties, it is the largest cherry tree park in the city. You guessed it — there is also a festival! The 2019 Shanghai Cherry Blossom Festival began on March 15 and runs until April 15.

Best time to visit: mid-March to mid-April

Of course, China is a large country with many other places to witness hanami. If you’re in Beijing, stroll through Beijing’s 136-hectare Yuyuantan Park. It is home to approximately 2,000 cherry trees and hosts the city’s annual Yuyuantan Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs from the end of March to April 30, 2019.

Best time to visit: late March through April

For travelers in the Dalian region of Northern China, visit Lushun Longwangtang. It is one of the most famous cherry blossom parks in China with an annual Cherry Blossom Festival that kicked off on March 21, 2019.

Best time to visit: late March to April

Jinhae, South Korea

 

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The four-hour bus ride from Seoul to Jinhae is well worth it if your visit coincides with hanami. In addition to the blossoms, you can also enjoy cultural performances, Korean food, and traditional music beneath an umbrella of pastel pink flowers at the Jinhae Gunhangje Festival (April 1 – April 10, 2019).

Cue K-Pop.

Best time to visit: early April

Tokyo, Japan

 

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You didn’t think we’d forget about Japan, did you?

The banks of the Meguro River and Ueno Park are two famous and beloved destinations to experience hanami in Japan.

That said, we suggest taking a stroll or boat cruise along the 700-metre-long Chidorigafuchi river and greenway. It is not only one of the best places to take in flowering cherry blossoms, but its location on the Imperial Palace moat doubles as a historic tour. We recommend visiting during the Chiyoda City Sakura Festival (March 27 to April 7, 2019) and staying until after sunset, when the cherry trees are beautifully lit. Check out their live camera for a sneak peek.

Best time to visit: According to this Cherry Blossom Forecast, blossoms will open in Tokyo on March 21 and in Kyoto on March 24.

If you miss mankai, try the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in the centre of Tokyo. It is known for having dozens of species of late and early bloomers.

Happy Instagramming! Tag @dailyhivemapped in your cherry blossom photos for a chance to be featured.

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