When people mention going to Japan for hanami (flower-watching in Japanese), one would usually think of sakura or cherry blossoms. But there are also other equally beautiful flowers that bloom throughout the year in different regions of Japan.
Below are some popular flowers and the best times to catch them in Japan. One thing to note, though, is that bloom times may vary due to weather conditions, so it's best to check local forecasts and flower reports for accurate information before planning your visit.
1. Plum Blossom
When to see plum blossoms: late February to early March
One of the earliest signs of spring in Japan, plum blossoms are often seen in parks and shrines across the country. Some of the most famous places to view them are the Mito Plum Festival at Kairakuen in Ibaraki, and the Takato Plum Blossom Festival at Takato Castle Ruins Park in Nagano.
2. Cherry Blossom
When to see cherry blossoms: late March to early April
The most iconic flowers in Japan, cherry blossoms blooming season starts from Okinawa in the southern part of Japan and gradually moves northward, reaching Tokyo and Kyoto on the main island, and finally to the Hokkaido area, the northern end of Japan.
Read more about where you can find cherry blossoms in the various parts of Japan.
When to see Azaleas: April to May
Azaleas are prevalent in many parks and gardens throughout Japan. Nezu Shrine and Kameido Tenjin Shrine in Tokyo are famous for their azalea festivals.
When to see Wisteria: late April to early May
Known as fuji (not the same word as Mount Fuji) in Japanese, wisterias form enchanting hanging clusters of purple, pink, and white. Some of the most stunning wisteria tunnels can be found in places like Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi and Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Fukuoka.
When to see Iris: late May to early June
One of the most famous places to see irises is at the Meiji Shrine Inner Garden in Tokyo. You can also catch these purple blooms at the Katsushika Iris Festival held at Horikiri Shobuen Iris Garden in Tokyo.
When to see Hydrangea: June to July
Hydrangeas, known as ajisai in Japanese, bloom during the rainy season in Japan. You can enjoy the mesmerising displays at the Bunkyo Hydrangea Festival at Hakusan Shrine and Hakusan Park in Tokyo, and at the Buddhist temple Meigetsu-in at Kamakura, Kanagawa.
When to see Lavender: late June to early August
Known for its delightful fragrance, one of the most popular places to see lavender is at Farm Tomita in Furano, Hokkaido. Farm Tomita also has a branch in Tokyo, known as Farm Tomita Tokyo.
When to see Sunflowers: July to August
There are various sunflower fields across Japan, particularly in Hokkaido and the Kanto region. Immerse yourself in a sea of sunflowers at the Kiyose Sunflower Festival in Tokyo and at the Hokuryu Sunflower Village in Hokkaido.
When to see cosmos: September to October
When to see Chrysanthemum: late October to early November
Known as kiku in Japanese, chrysanthemums hold significant cultural importance in Japan and are often associated with the Japanese Imperial Family and the country's National Seal. Some of the best places to see them include the annual chrysanthemum exhibition at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, and the annual chrysanthemum festival at Nagoya Castle in Aichi.
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