How to make the most of cherry blossom season
Japan is gearing up for yet another cherry blossom season and with the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting a whooping 12% surge in Japan travel from Australia over the last 12 months, the land of the rising sun is set to bloom brighter than ever this cherry blossom, known as ‘sakura’, season.
Whilst Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka count amongst the most popular viewing spots for Japan’s iconic floral spectacle, there are a range of lesser-known, equally enticing experiences available for those travellers wanting to experience the magic away from the crowds. According to Visit Kinosaki, Japan’s Best Hot Spring Town, Kinosaki Onsen, and its surrounding area, are a perfect place to do just that.
“When it comes to planning your perfect sakura viewing holiday in Japan, it’s important to know, whilst broadly speaking, cherry blossom season happens throughout spring, depending on timing, location, temperature and type of tree, you may get completely different cherry blossom experiences in different parts of Japan” says Alison Roberts-Brown, former long-term Japan resident and Director of Tourism Garden, representative of Visit Kinosaki in Australia.
“Generally, it’s safe to say that the further north you go, the later the cherry blossoms start blooming” she added.
Normally the trees in Hot Spring Town Kinosaki Onsen itself, nearby beachside town Takeno, castle town Izushi, and the countryside area Tanto will bloom earlier than the ones at the higher elevations in the mountains of Kannabe. On average they tend to start to bloom anywhere from the last week of March to the first week of April and will bloom for about one week before falling to the elements. If you do miss the ones in Kinosaki Onsen or Izushi you can try your luck in Kannabe.
One particularly charming place to see sakura both at daytime and night is along Kinosaki’s quaint Kiyamachi Street. Sakura trees line the small canal and create a soft pink canopy for nearly one kilometre, stretching all the way back to the town’s ropeway.
Spreading your picnic blanket under the cherry blossom trees and enjoying the flowers while eating a packed lunch is a traditional pastime in Japan called ‘hanami’ or flower-viewing. One excellent place to partake in this tradition is in Izushi, an ancient castle town located just a short bus ride from Kinosaki. The sakura trees decorate the perimeter of the Izushi Castle ruins making for the ultimate sakuraviewing fairy tale.
For more information, visit www.visitkinosaki.com