Japan is gorgeous all year round, but it truly sings in springtime. This is when the iconic cherry blossoms, or “sakura”, blanket the landscape in dreamy hues of pink and white, while ornate gardens bloom and spring cuisine flourishes. It’s also a wonderful time to experience Japan’s unique cultural practices, with vibrant festivals celebrating revival and renewal. We delve deeper into all the reasons why spring is the best time to visit Japan and what you can experience on a spring trip to Japan.
Experience it: Majestic Japan
The Sakura season
Seeing the mesmerising cherry blossom season in Japan is one of the ultimate bucket list experiences. Usually occurring from late March to early May, the cherry blossoms bloom in waves, starting from the southern region and progressing northwards.
Cities, parks, and temples are blanketed with stunning soft pink and white blossoms and you can’t help but take part in the “hanami” (flower viewing) tradition of enjoying the beauty of the blossoming trees. You’ll even see nighttime illuminations, known as “yozakura”, offering a unique and enchanting perspective on these gorgeous blossoms.
When you visit Japan with Luxury Gold, you’ll meet a specialised cherry blossom tree doctor at Hirosaki Castle. These doctors ensure that each tree, from saplings to mature trees, is healthy and thriving. You’ll learn all about their meticulous care for these trees while admiring the blossoms around the castle.
Ideal weather and natural landscapes
Springtime in Japan brings mild temperatures and blue skies, making it ideal for exploring the country’s beautiful natural landscapes, from the mountains and national parks to zen gardens.
When you visit Japan on our Majestic Japan luxury tour, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to soak up the glorious spring weather and nature. We’ll board the bullet train to Mishima for breathtaking views of Mount Fuji and then admire its reflection in Lake Kawaguchi. You can also choose to get a more spectacular view of Mount Fuji and the lake by riding the thrilling Kachi-Kachi Ropeway cable car. Or explore the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum where you can wander through the peaceful gardens and marvel at the architecture and kimono collection.
If you want to get closer to the water, we’ll take a private cruise on Matsushima Bay in Sendai. Soak up the views of the pine-clad islets of the bay, and hear about the countless haikus poets have written after being inspired by the bay, said to be a place of love and wonder.
You’ll also have the chance to delve deeper into Japan’s nature at Oirase Gorge, a wonderland of waterfalls, lush forest, and crystal-clear streams. Enjoy a walk along the bubbling river in Hachimantai National Park then sink into a soothing Onsen bath surrounded by the forest – the perfect springtime activity. You’ll then have the rare opportunity to meet sake brewmaster Takumi Sato for a private VIP tasting and brewery tour. Learn about the essence of sake and shared some of this sacred drink in the beautiful surroundings of Oirase.
Unique festivals and cultural customs
Spring holds deep cultural significance in Japan as it represents renewal and new beginnings. The season is teeming with vibrant festivals, such as the remarkable Takayama Festival in the Gifu prefecture. You’ll see colourful parades with intricately adorned floats, lively puppet shows, and traditional music and dance performances.
When you visit Japan with Luxury Gold, you’ll see the Sensō-ji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo. If you’re visiting in mid-April, you may be lucky enough to witness Shirasagi-no Mai, or the Dance of the White Heron, a large spring festival that takes place at the temple. The festival dates back to the 8th century during the Heian period and involves a procession of dancers dressed in elaborate white heron costumes and makeup, accompanied by a group of guardians and floats with musicians. It’s an incredible performance and unmissable if you visit Japan in April.
Spring is also one of the best times to get an insight into Japan’s sacred tea culture. Spring is the time of shincha (new tea) and the tea fields are green and lush. We’ll head to Sendai on Honshu island, where you’ll witness a tea ceremony at a traditional tea house. You’ll also learn the ancient art of making the perfect matcha green tea, and enjoy a warming brew of fresh tea.
Fresh spring cuisine
Springtime isn’t just about the blooms and views – it also brings an array of culinary delights. You can find Sakura-flavored treats such as mochi, and enjoy the fresh flavors of “takenoko” (bamboo shoots) and “sansai” (mountain vegetables) in your dishes. In Sendai, we’ll meet the owner of a local inn for a fresh seafood lunch, while in Hiroshima, you can savor the local delicacy of Okonomiyaki, a savory pancake dish.
In Tokyo, take part in a private sushi-making class to learn this 2,000-year-old art from a master sushi chef and indulge in a mouthwatering lunch afterwards. And discover Osaka’s Donburi Street on a stroll with a Local Expert. Taste the local specialities such as Takoyaki (octopus wrapped in batter) and find out what this city is renowned as the kitchen of Japan.
Read more: A guide to Japan’s finest Kobe beef
Discover all this and more, such as a private Geisha performance and a stay at the remarkable Hotel Granvia Kyoto, on our Majestic Japan luxury tour.