2018 is becoming an exceptional year for cherry blossoms. They started to open 10 days earlier than average years, reach the peak on 24 March and fell before March ends. (Read the Cherry Blossom Forecast for Japan 2018.) It was shocking for Tokyo locals like me, and heartbreaking for travelers flying to Tokyo in early April.
To help you enjoy your trip at the most, I’m writing some suggestions and reports in and out of Tokyo with practical guides.
I really hope this article will be some help for you. (It is an emergency update, so new contents will be added later.)
Updated on 16 April
Cherry blossoms are opening in Northeast Japan (Tohoku region) this week. They have completely left Tokyo. When you plan a trip, remember that cherry blossoms’ peak lasts for 7 – 10 days.
Updated on 23 April
Cherry blossoms are blooming fully in Northeast Japan now! For details, please check out the following articles.
Wish you a wonderful trip!
Trip to Sendai
Sendai is the central city of North East Japan. Cherry blossoms reached peak on 4 April, which is so early that Sendai locals haven’t got ready. You can have a day trip from Tokyo.
Fast Facts about Sendai
- You arrive at Sendai in 1 hour 30 minutes from Tokyo Station by the fastest Shinkansen (Japanese super express).
- Sendai is a cool city with hundreds of years history since Masamune Date, one of the most powerful (and popular) samurais in the Middle Ages, built his castle.
- Sendai Tanabata Star Festival in August is very famous among Japanese people.
Although I haven’t been to Sendai in a cherry blossom season, I’m sure it’s a cool beautiful place to visit in Japan. That’s why I wrote a travel guide on this blog a few years ago! If you don’t mind planning a trip soon, I think Sendai will be a great choice.
Travel Tips of Sendai
- Grilled beef tongue (gyutan) is a specialty of Sendai. Make sure to find a gyutan restaurant and order it!
- In case you missed a gyutan restaurant, you have chances to buy a gyutan lunch box (bento) on Shinkansen. Typically, the gyutan bento becomes heated by pulling a string and waiting a few minutes. Make sure to buy a gyutan bento when a train attendant comes with a snack cart!
- Zunda mochi (rice dumplings with green soy beans) is a specialty, too.
- Not only traditional zunda mochi, people are creative enough to make other sweets. I love them.
Cherry Blossom Spots in Sendai
I picked up some popular cherry blossom spots in Sendai that are convenient to go. I also put the links to Google maps to help you really visit the places.
Nishi Park is a cherry blossom spot loved by locals. It is in a walking distance from Sendai Station.
Google Maps of Nishi Park (open in a new window)
Cherry Blossom Festival is held. More than 300 cherry trees of many kinds are there.
Google Maps of Tsutsujigaoka Park (open in a new window)
It is a park where Date clan’s castle used to be. Today there are some remains of the castle and rebuilt gates. There are some hundreds of cherry trees. 20 minutes by car from Sendai Station. Taking a taxi is the easiest way.
Google Maps of Aobayama Park (open in a new window)
How About West Japan?
According to the Cherry Blossom Forecast, cherry blossoms reached peak on…
- 28 March in Kyoto
- 28 March in Hiroshima
- 29 March in Kobe
- 29 March in Nara
- (26 March in Osaka)
Generally, the peak of cherry blossoms lasts for 7 – 10 days. Some of you have chances to catch up.
Trip to Mito
Mito is a city located north from Tokyo. Cherry blossoms reached the peak on 28 March. It is a day trip destination from Tokyo.
The large Kairakuen Park, which is originated from samurais’ castle and school, is famous for Plum Blossom Festival, but there are many cherry trees as well.
Late Kinds of Cherry Blossoms inside Tokyo
Standard cherry blossoms bloomed extremely early because it was very warm in mid March. The same thing is happening to late kinds of cherry blossoms. I saw late kinds blooming in March for the first time!
Standard kinds are not all. Personally I like the round blossoms with many petals very much.
According to the official website of Shinjuku Gyoen Garden, some late kinds of cherry blossoms have reached PEAK! So I advise you to go to Shinjuku Gyoen Garden in Tokyo.
Cherry Blossoms for Travelers Visiting Japan Later than Standard Sakura – including a practical travel guide to Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen Official Website – In Japanese, but some important visitor information such as opening hours is written in English as well.
3 Reasons to Visit Ueno Park AFTER Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Festival – You can see pics of late kinds of cherry blossoms in Ueno Park!
Another Must-See in Cherry Blossom Season in Japan: Hana Matsuri, Buddha’s Birthday Festival – If you are going to Ueno Park, Asakusa, or somewhere like that, NEVER miss this.
Helpful Links & More
Cherry Blossom Forecast for Japan 2018 – the forecast for Northeast Japan is being updated! Remember that the peak lasts for 7 – 10 days when you plan a trip.
Google Search (Search results will open in a new window.)
This is an emergency update for travelers in trouble, so it will be updated from time to time. (Last updated on 3 April.)
Tokyo Direct Guide Sites & Pages
- Tokyo Direct Guide – the main site of this blog. The Easiest, All-in-one travel guide.
- Weather Forecast
- The Easiest JR Train Map of Tokyo
- The Easiest Subway Maps of Tokyo