Mention spring in Japan and most people immediately think of the cherry blossom (sakura in Japanese). Often however their thoughts don’t go much further. Today I want to talk about the cherry blossom because it is so beautiful, however the cherry blossom season does not span the whole of Spring. So as the title of this blog suggests, it is about spring in Japan and I also want to talk about what else happens in Spring (Haru), considered by the Japanese as the first of the four seasons.
It is sensible to start with the cherry blossom season. The peak is earlier in the south (Okinawa) where flowers open in mid/late January peaking early February. In Tokyo the season is from late March to early April, and yet further North (Sapporo) the season starts in the first week of May. There is another factor to consider if you want to see these magnificent trees in flower, that is from first opening to peak in the south is about two weeks, whereas in Sapporo is just 3-4 days and its all over. It is a national event each year as the news follows the blossom's progress South to North and reports on the relative performance each year.
If you are into the beauty of nature, then a Japanese spring is going to make ecstatic.The famous flowers in Spring also include the plum blossom (just before the cherry blossom),the masses of tulips start to show their paces in April along with the thousands of Azaleas. Then in May it is the time for the magnificent Wisteria. There are also wild flowers and coloured mosses too. You may decide to head to the mountain areas as well because they are so pristine in Spring and the rivers and streams burble along carrying the melted snow and ice.
Spring is when many of the Japanese gardens look at their finest. Perhaps is is because all the winter dressing and protection for the plants and trees is collected and there has been some extra attention or the new leaves are shooting everywhere, a sign of rejuvenation that we all love to see.
Japan is a country of festivals and the pick of festivals in Spring could well be the Kamakura or Takayama festivals, both of which are in April. But then again I had better mention the Asakusa Sanja Matsuri festival in Tokyo in May , oh and the….... festival and… Well you got the message.
Why not check out the Spring Cherry Blossom tour now.