The best places to see cherry blossoms around the world

Japan is famed for its springtime cherry blossom – but at these sweet spots around the world, you can see sakura all year round

Photo: Ryosuke Yagi/Flickr.com
You don’t need to go to Japan to catch a glimpse of its world-famous cherry blossom trees – and even if you did, you might miss them completely. Only in bloom for around two weeks, cherry blossom (‘sakura’ in Japanese) bloom in the springtime – which in the Northern Hemisphere means between April and May. And while there are forecasts online that help you plan your visit to coincide with cherry blossom festival (‘hanami’) the unpredictability of the flowers means you could travel across the world and still miss them.

However, over the centuries, the cherry blossom trees that are native to Japan and other Asian countries have spread throughout the world, taking root alongside native varieties in Europe, North America and even the Southern Hemisphere. To help you catch those resplendent pops of pink and white no matter where you are, we’ve scoured the globe for other places to see sakura in bloom all year round. From New York’s Cherry Blossom Festival to Stockholm’s körsbärsträden, here are the very best places to see cherry blossoms around the world. While, of course, you can see them here in Beijing as well, check out these spots for year-round blossom spotting. You’ll be in the pink once you’re done with these.

By Alim Kheraj and Alyx Gorman
Jerte Valley, Spain

Jerte Valley, Spain

In bloom March-April
For two weeks, sheets of cherry blossoms transform this valley in Spain into a white blossom wonderland. With well over 1 million trees, this is one of Europe’s best places to celebrate hanami, the Japanese festival of flower viewing, before heading to nearby towns in the valley for special markets, celebrations and activities.

Photo: Victor Estrada Diaz/Wikimedia Commons

Pingba County, China

Pingba County, China

In bloom March-April 
Viewed from above, the stunning Pingba Farm in China looks like fluffy patches of marshmallows. Along with an estimated 500,000 cherry blossom trees, you’ll also find fields of peach blossoms, magnolias and lilac here in springtime. Nearby villages and towns host hundreds of thousands of visitors at festivities to welcome the arrival of spring.

Photo: Takuro Obara/Pixabay.com

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan

In bloom March-April
Kyoto’s biggest hanami parties can be found in Maruyama Park, with its central large weeping cherry tree lit up at night. Meanwhile, a walk along the Philosopher's Path is like something out of Willy Wonka’s factory, with hundreds of pastel pink trees lining a canal. Later in April, a visit to gardens of Heian Shrine is absolutely essential.

Photo: Ryosuke Yagi/Flickr.com

Washington DC, USA

Washington DC, USA

In bloom March-April
In 1912 the Mayor of Tokyo gave Washington DC 3,020 cherry trees. The city now boasts thousands more and its three-week-long National Cherry Blossom Festival draws 1.5 million visitors. Check out the blooms at a cocktail party or a kite festival, or just stroll along the Tidal Basin or through the East Potomac Park.

Photo: Debojyotilahiri/Wikimedia Commons

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

In bloom March-April
Modelled on the Japanese region of Shimonoseki, Istanbul Japanese Garden is flush with traditional flora, including huge sakura trees whose vibrant jewels later cover the ground like a blanket of candyfloss.

Photo: Lambiam/Wikimedia Commons

Paris, France

Paris, France

In bloom April
Designed by King Louis XIV’s principal gardener, the Parc de Sceaux just outside Paris is home to the region’s largest number of cherry blossom trees. Settle with a picnic in two sun-dappled groves and pretend you’re in a Miss Dior ad.

Photo: Linh Nguyen/Flickr.com

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

In bloom late April

For dazzling pink flower clouds in the heart of Stockholm visit Kungsträdgården, where in late April you’ll also find an annual Cherry Blossom Festival. It can get packed with tourists, so jump on a bus to nearby Hammarby Sjöstad for the same beautiful petal canopy minus the crowds.

Photo: Chas B/Flickr.com

New York, USA

New York, USA

In bloom April
New York City is home to many pink-petalled beauties, but at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden you’ll also find Sakura Matsuri, a bustling two-day event welcoming spring. Sit under rows of pink buds while enjoying taiko drummers, samurai-sword masters, J-rock bands and Japanese tea. 

Photo: Tyler Karaszewski/Flickr.com

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver, Canada

In bloom April 
Visit Vancouver in April and you’re practically guaranteed to see blossom – whether you’re there for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival or just taking a stroll. Stop by spots like Queen Elizabeth Park, Stanley Park, the VanDusen Botanical Garden or even the downtown Burrard SkyTrain station to be surrounded by the stuff.

Photo: Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival/Flickr.com

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg, Germany

In bloom May 
As Osaka’s sister city, each year in May since 1968 Hamburg has played host to Kirschblütenfest, a Cherry Blossom Festival that includes fireworks and a plethora of cultural events. The trees themselves can mainly be found in the scenic Altonaer Balkon park or framing the Alster Lake – perfect for a pink-tinged walk.

Photo: Awesok/Wikimedia Commons

Sapporo, Japan

Sapporo, Japan

In bloom early May
Things bloom a little later in Sapporo – the capital of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Take it in on a traditional walk through Maruyama Park to Hokkaido Shrine, where you’ll encounter parties under the pink and white. More tranquil spots, like Nakajima Park or Moerenuma Park, are perfect for those all-important Instagram shoots.

Photo: t-konno/Wikimedia Commons

Curitiba, Brazil

Curitiba, Brazil

In bloom July
For the latter half of the year, you’ll need to head to the Southern Hemisphere to get your sakura fix. A visit to the Botanical Garden of Curitiba in Brazil in summer is likely to lead to sightings of those clouds of white and pink pastels. The garden itself is resplendent, complete with a huge art nouveau glasshouse.

Photo: SamirNosteb/Wikimedia Commons

Cowra, Australia

Cowra, Australia

In bloom late September-early October
In August 1944, 231 Japanese soldiers died while escaping from a POW camp in Cowra, Australia. The Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre – the largest Japanese garden in the Southern Hemisphere – is located near their gravesites, and during its huge Sakura Matsuri festival, the tranquil grounds are transformed into a painterly wonderland of soft pinks and whites.

Photo: John O'Neill/Wikimedia Commons

Shillong, India

Shillong, India

In bloom October-November
Still in its infancy, the Indian International Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates Himalayan cherry trees in bloom. Although the city of Shillong is off India’s beaten travel track, an evening walk under the trees by its Ward Lake sounds rather romantic.

Photo: Swati Sidhu/Wikimedia Commons

Where to see blooms in Beijing

Spring in Beijing

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