Everybody is talking about how amazing the cherry blossoms are during Japan's spring time. It was one of three major reasons that made me come to the island in the first place. But having been here now throughout spring time, I can safely say that you don't miss out if you don't see the sakura as long as you are here in April or May. What you will find then will be a masterpiece of nature's beauty.
Remember the Boticelli painting of spring? Well, if he had been in Japan, the whole painting would have been pink and purple. No soft greens and little flowers. Japan goes all out, gathering in masses to witness the spectacle that nature stages. And you should see it yourself, too. However, since nature can be quite fickle, the times for her show are limited and you should get to the front seat early.
To avoid disappointment, which I unfortunately had, here is a list of the main flowers in the Tokyo region as the flowering times vary greatly across the country. And the Tokyo area itself has perfect spots to see each prominent flower festival in not too distant areas. Day trips are totally possible.
Blame it on global warming, but the blossoming times have become increasingly early these past years. This year, the best time to walk among alleys of pink garlands was the last week of April and the first of May. Since Tokyo has many great spots for seeing them, I have prepared a list of sakura viewing spots.
Late March and April will open up your tired eyes to pink trees. If the sakura have been to short-lived and soft in their pastel colours, then the azaleas will provide the remedy. Their colour is intense and tall bushes of them spring up everywhere. You will definitely not overlook them. And you wouldn't want to. It's very different to Europe.
These are very tricky as well. Each colour blooming after the other with only a short overlay and blooming times. For the best turnout, get to Ashikaga Flower Park or the Fuji Temple in the last week of April.
The moss phlox as it is also called has 6 different shades varying between pink and white and covers up all the grass that you would otherwise find here. At the food of Mount Fuji during the Shibazakura Festival or in the Ichikai-machi Sakura Park is the best spot to behold it in mid April to early May.
The sea of vibrant yellow rape flowers covering the fields is especially nice in the Kinu Green Park and is best seen in mid to late April. May is already too late.
You'd think you have landed in Holland with the amount of tulips reigning over the horizon during late April or early May. Again, Mount Fuji at the Flower Park Yamanakako Hanano Miyako Koen has a great display.
Ashikaga Flower Park does not only have wisteria to catch in May but also roses everywhere you go. With a beautifully strong smell and all shades of red, white and yellow, the arches you will pass will instantly enhance the romance level.
But wait, the flower season is not over here. Summer has its own beauties with sunflowers and hydrangeas, for instance, but spring is a good way to start. Don't you think?