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Beautiful Places to See Cherry Blossoms Beyond Japan

Spring is a special season; it’s a time when plants awaken from their winter slumber and beautify the world with lush green leaves and colorful blooms. No plant on earth is as emblematic of this much anticipated season as the cherry tree. With their dainty pink and white blossoms, cherries are the symbols of spring, much like the golden foliage of maple represents autumn. 

In Japan, enjoying the fleeting beauty of pink Sakura blooms has been elevated to a tradition called Hanami (translated as “watching blossoms”). Today, the millennium-old custom attracts millions of tourists. For the many of us who are not ready to travel all the way to Japan but still want to participate in Hanami festivities, it’s a joy to learn that Sakura blossoms can be found in every corner of the globe. Whether you live in the United States, Europe, or other parts of Asia, there are many places to enjoy these rosy flowers in full bloom. In this post, we list 13 of the finest places to admire cherry blossoms beyond Japan.

Washington DC, USA

Places to See Cherry Blossoms Beyond Japan Washington DC, USA

Arguably the most famous cherry blossoms in the United States grow in the nation’s capital. In springtime, Washington, D.C. streets are enveloped in the pink blooms of over 3,000 Sakura trees gifted to the city by the Tokyo mayor in 1912. 

The majority of rosy blooms line tourist destinations like the National Mall, Tidal Basin, and the shoreline of East Potomac Park. To mark the peak bloom of cherry blossoms, the city holds an annual "National Cherry Blossom Festival" from March 18 to April 16. 

Blooming season: March until mid-April.


Places to See Cherry Blossoms Beyond Japan Taiwan

The island nation of Taiwan attracts tens of thousands of visitors during cherry blossom season every year. In Taiwan, Sakura blooms appear a month or two earlier than in Japan. 

Visitors can spot cherry blossom trees everywhere. However, one of the most popular places to view the gorgeous blooms of Sakura is Tianyuan Temple in Taipei. The Taoist pagoda is surrounded by cherry trees, creating a vibrant spectacle around the temple. Other popular Sakura-watching spots are Yangmingshan National Park and the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village. The biggest cherry blossom festival is held at the latter every February when the 2,000 trees in the village come into bloom. 

Blooming season: early January to mid-March.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Places to See Cherry Blossoms Beyond Japan Copenhagen, Denmark

Cherry blossoms are featured in several Copenhagen districts. The best place to see the pink flowers is Langelinie Park, where the annual "Copenhagen Sakura Festival" is held. The park is home to approximately 200 Sakura trees. There’s also a long Sakura alley near Bispebjerg Cemetery

Finally, visitors shouldn’t skip the famous Kongens Have in central Copenhagen. The park was planted at King Christian IV’s Rosenborg Castle in the 17th century as a private garden; beyond Sakura flowers, visitors will be able to spot a variety of wonderful plant life there.

Blooming season: late April – early May

Seoul, South Korea

Places to See Cherry Blossoms Beyond Japan Seoul, South Korea

Sakura blossoms are abundant in the South Korean capital, as well as in rural areas of the country. In fact, early spring is probably the most ideal time of the year to visit South Korea for that reason. Visitors will literally watch the country transform into a pink wonderland.

In Seoul, the main Sakura attraction is the "Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival." It is the country's largest spring festival and includes a half-mile-long cherry blossom tunnel and nearly a mile-long flower stream. You can also spot Sakura trees around Namsan Park, Lotte World, and Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Blooming season: late March – early April.

Related article: These Streets Offer a Beautiful Experience for Pedestrians

Vancouver, Canada

Places to See Cherry Blossoms Beyond Japan Vancouver, Canada

Canadians don’t have to travel overseas to attend a cherry blossom festival. Vancouver has an annual celebration of its own. In fact, there are over 40 thousand Sakura trees in the city. The way the first cherry blossoms appeared in Canada carries a captivating story of its own. In the 1930s, two Japanese cities – Kobe and Yokohama – gifted Vancouver 500 trees to honor Japanese-Canadian soldiers in World War I.

The "Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival" is a cheerful time in the city. Visitors can tour the blossoming trees or participate in a variety of blossom-themed events. Some of the most scenic locations to spot pink flowers are Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, and Burrard Skytrain Station.

Blooming season: April.

Hamburg, Germany

Places to See Cherry Blossoms Beyond Japan Hamburg, Germany
Image source: Mark Nieno/ Flickr

Like many cities on this list, Hamburg received its first Sakura trees as a nod of gratitude from Japan. In 1968, the Japanese government shipped the first 5,000 cherry trees to Hamburg, and they have bloomed each spring ever since. The most popular place to view the blooms is Alsterpark, which is adjacent to a picturesque lake and opens a vista of the historic part of the city.

To mark the joyful occasion, the city holds a yearly fireworks festival called the “Kirschblütenfest.” During the festival, the Japan Cherry Blossom Association chooses the prettiest tree, giving it the honorable title of “Cherry Blossom Queen.”

Blooming season: May.

Shanghai, China

Places to See Cherry Blossoms Beyond Japan Shanghai, China

Coincidentally, you can get a very similar experience to that in Hamburg – sans the firework festival – if you head to Shanghai. In mid-spring, the Cherry Garden at the wonderful Yuyuantan Park becomes an unforgettable site. It too is adjacent to a lake, so you can also admire this lush pink spectacle from a boat. 

There are more than 30 varieties of cherry trees at Yuyuantan Park, so visitors will be able to enjoy a whole spectrum of beautiful Sakura blossoms too.

Blooming season: April – early May.

Jerte Valley, Spain

Places to See Cherry Blossoms Beyond Japan Jerte Valley, Spain

Who said only Sakura trees count when you’re in the mood for flower-watching? If you happen to travel to Spain in March, we highly recommend a drive to the Jerte Valley in the Extremadura region of the country (a two-hour drive from Madrid). The landscape is completely transformed by the millions of cherry trees that synchronously reach full bloom and envelop the valley in white.

Jerte Valley is a major cherry producer; trees grow on mountainside terraces in a traditional way. This exaggerates the beauty of each blossoming tree even more. An annual festival called "Fiesta del Cerezo en Flor" marks the occasion, with thousands of guests visiting to admire the blooms and taste locally made cherry wines and jams.

Blooming season: mid-March.

Related article: The Stunning Springtime Sights of Japan


Newark, New Jersey

Places to See Cherry Blossoms Beyond Japan Newark, New Jersey

If you live in or near Newark, New Jersey, take a trip to Branch Brook Park, which spans Belleville and Newark. There are more than 5,200 Japanese cherry blossom trees that belong to 18 varieties in the park. This is the largest and most varied collection of Japanese cherry blossom trees in the US. 

In April every year, the park holds the "Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival." Some of the activities listed are the Cherry Blossom 10K Run, Essex County Family Day, the 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk, and "Bloomfest!" with live music and crafts. Beyond that, visitors can simply take a walk or enjoy lunch under the blooming tree canopy.

Blooming season: early to mid-April.

Christchurch, New Zealand

Places to See Cherry Blossoms Beyond Japan New Zealand

Missed booking a trip to Japan or South Korea but still want to participate in Hanami this year? Add New Zealand to your travel list. Why? Well, because the blooming season is not in April, but in September.

The primary destination for blossom-watching is Christchurch on the South Island. The city has the Christchurch Botanical Gardens, which has a massive variety of plants, including Sakura trees. For those interested in spring-blooming trees specifically, the botanical garden also features a beautiful collection of magnolias, rhododendrons, and camellias. North Hagley Park in Christchurch is also a must-visit spot, as it has some beautiful Yoshino Cherry blooms.

Blooming season: mid-September.

New York City, USA

Places to See Cherry Blossoms Beyond Japan New York City, USA
Image source: Dave Blesoe/ Flickr

New York City is known for its skyscrapers and neon lights, so it may surprise you that there are not one but two prime destinations for cherry blossom watching in the city:

  • Brooklyn
    The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, near Prospect Park, has a truly impressive collection of cherry blossom trees. Each April, a long line of tourists arrive in Brooklyn specifically to admire these blooms and enjoy the annual "Sakura Matsuri" cherry blossom festival. A lineup of Japanese performances and cultural events accompany the Hanami celebrations.
  • Manhattan
    Central Park also has several groups of cherry trees gifted by Japan. The prettiest blooms grow around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.

Blooming season: March – April.

Related article: The Colorful Beauty of Japanese Trees


Paris, France

Places to See Cherry Blossoms Beyond Japan Paris, France

What could be more romantic and elegant than visiting Paris during spring? Just imagine this beautiful combination of European architecture accentuated by the pink blossoms of cherry trees. You’ll find Sakura trees everywhere: in front of the Eiffel Tower, next to the southern facade of Notre Dame, and a tree outside the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore.

Our personal favorite spot to view cherry blossoms in Paris is the Champ de Mars, a lovely park nestled between the Eiffel Tower and École Militaire.

Blooming season: mid-March to late April.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Places to See Cherry Blossoms Beyond Japan Thailand

With its beautiful beaches, natural diversity, and ancient temples, few people need another reason to travel to Thailand. Still, we’re here to point out that the country is also a wonderful winter spot for viewing cherry blossoms. 

Chiang Mai is home to Wild Himalayan Cherry trees, also known as “Tiger Queen,” that bloom throughout winter. These rare cherry trees can be found at the Khun Wang Royal Agricultural Research Center and the Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park, where over 100,000 Himalayan cherry trees turn the forest into a pink paradise in the midst of winter.

Blooming season: January to early February.

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