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During cherry blossom season the moat’s 700-metre pedestrian path is covered with the snow-white blossoms of about 260 cherry trees, creating a gorgeous tunnel of flowers. You can hire rowboats and take in the views of the blossoms from the water. Flowering season: late March to early April.
Hirosaki Park, Hirosaki
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Located near the northern tip of Honshu island, Hirosaki city is renowned for its castle (originally built in the early 17th century) in Hirosaki Park, which is one of the most scenic spots for viewing cherry blossoms. Flowering season: late April to early May.
Japan Mint, Osaka
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With more than 300 cherry trees encompassing 100 varieties, the Japan Mint is famed for its avenue of cherry blossoms in the garden, which is open to the public for one week in April. Flowering season: late March to early April.
Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture
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Known as “little Kyoto”, the town of Kakunodate features cherry trees that line the Hinokinai River, creating a magnificent two-kilometre tunnel of blossoms. Flowering season: late April to early May.
Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi Prefecture
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This is the perfect place to view cherry blossoms against a backdrop of Mount Fuji. There are rows of cherry trees along the lake’s eastern promenade, while on the northern shore several hundred trees provide a fantastic spot for hanami. Flowering season: mid-April.
Meguro River, Tokyo
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The Meguro River that flows through Tokyo offers fantastic sakura viewing, with more than 800 cherry trees creating a canopy above the promenade. Flowering season: late March to early April.
Nagoya Castle, Nagoya
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One of Japan’s most well-known fortresses, Nagoya Castle is famed for its Somei Yoshino trees and weeping cherry trees planted around the park and along its moats. Flowering season: late March to early April.
Ueno Park, Tokyo
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Tokyo’s Ueno Park is home to 1200 cherry trees and is one of Japan’s most crowded spots come cherry blossom season. (While you’re there, be sure to visit the Tokyo National Museum and Ueno Zoo.) The cherry trees are lit up during the evenings. Flowering season: late March to early April.
Mount Yoshino, Yoshino
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A UNESCO World Heritage site, Mount Yoshino features more than 30,000 white mountain cherry trees and is one of the most scenic spots to take in the blossoms. The mountain is divided into four regions – Shimo-senbon, Naka-senbon, Kami-senbon and Oku-senbon – and the flowers begin blossoming from the bottom until the whole mountain is in full bloom. Flowering season: early to mid April.
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On the outskirts of Kyoto is the bustling district of Arashiyama, at the base of the Arashiyama Mountains. Blossoming cherry trees can be seen around Togetsukyo Bridge and the lakeside Daikaku-ji Temple. Flowering season: late March to early April.
Okinawa and Hokkaido
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Here’s an insider tip from World2Cover: “If you are looking to travel outside of peak season yet still enjoy the blooms, consider visiting Okinawa [Prefecture] in the south, where the cherry blossoms open as early as January, or try the northern island of Hokkaido where they bloom as late as May.”