Japan's Sakura Season

Robots. Sushi. Anime. Sakura. These are the first things that come to mind when I think of Japan.

When we booked our flight to Japan, it just happened that we took advantage of a seat sale, chanced upon a very cheap flight to Narita, and booked it right away. Plus, the timing couldn't be any more perfect for Jan’s birthday. It never occurred to us that it's going to be the most anticipated and most visited sakura season.

I got so excited when I learned about it and started reading about these famed cherry blossoms only to end up a little disappointed about the fact that these pink delicate flowers bloom for just a week. Early April is the best time to see the sakuras this year according to blooming predictions. And since we will be arriving two weeks earlier, the chances of seeing these in full bloom are slim.

On our first day, we have already seen a few budding sakuras on some streets. Even Hachiko's statue stood under the sakura trees. It wasn't that impressive, yet. But it's promising and we were hoping to see them bloom in a riot of pink hues.

So we visited two parks, Chidorigafuchi (ten-minute walk from our hotel) and Yoyogi Park, which are best known for hanami (flower viewing). Even though each park offers a charming scenery of spring, not one sakura tree has a single flower on sight yet.

We then proceeded to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, home of at least a thousand sakura trees.

This is the first sakura that we spotted just right after stepping inside the 58-hectare garden. From a distance, the pretty pink flowers were already standing out. We tried to get a photo of and with it but the people swarming around the only blooming sakura made it impossible to get a decent shot.

Tokyo Cherry Blossoms

Hence, we just posed a little further away and decided to explore the garden and relax somewhere. And by relax, I mean it like this:
Sleep like a local. Haha

Picnic in Shinjuku Gyoen
Dance like nobody's watching.

Unleash the playful child within.
And because we were actually not doing anything touristy and the temperature was starting to drop a few hours later, we decided to leave. We were heading to the exit when I saw a photo of my friend, posing beside a beautiful flower bed in the same garden that was uploaded earlier that day on Instagram.

It was getting gloomy and we're starving but I insisted that we find that flower bed just because I badly wanted to see the tulips. You see, the only tulips I have ever seen were wrapped in a fancy ribbon, trying its best to look its prettiest before it dies a few days later in some lucky girl's vase.

Seeing a live tulip would be enough to justify the 500JPY admission fee that I have halfheartedly paid (tukar ang pagkakuripot). Because to tell you honestly, I thought that our visit to Shinjuku Gyoen would be a let down as it was not how I imagined it to be. It felt like we were just another victim of expectations vs. reality.

We turned around and not long after found what we were looking for.

Spring in Japan

It's not a surprise why tulips are easily my favorite flowers. They are beautiful. And seeing these alive just intensified my dream to see the tulips in Amsterdam.


It turns out, we did not explore the garden far enough.

Japan Sakura

There are more flowers and trees unknown to me that are in full bloom. The place screams with vibrant colors and we bathed in fresh, natural scents. It's so refreshing. We found ourselves in a sanctuary in the middle of a huge and bustling city.

I fell in love with spring instantly and the sakura is one of the most beautiful things I've seen in all of Japan. It is truly a lovely sight to behold. And I tell you, the photos don't do it justice.

Sakura Trees - Tokyo

Shinjuku Gyoen

Cherry blossoms in Japan

Picnic Cherry Blossoms in Japan
Under the sakura tree.
I am well aware that cherry blossoms are not only found in Japan. But I think what makes it unique is that the locals celebrate it. It's quite an astonishing sight to see people⁠—from children to business people in their coats and ties to the elderly⁠—holding picnic parties under the blooming trees. It shows a lot about companionship and work-life balance, something my home country clearly lacks.

I am so glad we got to experience the sakura season. This was once just an item on my bucket list. Now, it's an amazing memory to share. 😊


  1. Beautiful photos, Sar! Balik ka ulit ngJapan during Fall season where the trees bleed crimson, orange, and yellow. Lovely pud kaayo. Kyoto is the best place for Autumn, albeit the huge crowd.

    1. We would love to go back in Japan! As in! Any season but summer. Pero basin in a year or two pa. Whew!