Start Planning Your 2019 Vacation: Where to Catch Cherry Blossoms Other than Japan!

Spring brings with it a burst of floral scents and sights and many people travel far and wide just to capture the fleeting blooms.

The world-famous destination for viewing cherry blossoms is undoubtedly Japan, a country that is revered for these beautiful blooms and their symbolism. For those of us who’d like to go against the crowd and seek these floral displays elsewhere, here are eight other great locations to catch cherry blossoms.

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1. Vilnius, Lithuania

Image credit: Kārlis Dambrāns

Blooming period: Late April to early May

Get a taste of the sakura season in the capital of Lithuania each spring at the Chiune Sugihara Sakura Park. This park is named after a Japanese diplomat who once served the Empire of Japan in Lithuania. He’s highly respected for helping thousands of Jews to leave the country during World War II and on his 100th birthday in 2001, 200 sakura trees were planted in this park, honouring the life of the “Japanese Schindler”.

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2. Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

Image credit: Ninian Reid

 Blooming period: Late April to early May

Edinburgh’s already a magnificent city all year round, but spring brings with it the heavenly scent of cherry blossoms in The Meadows. In this massive public park, the walkways are lined with cherry trees, creating a whimsical floral tunnel.

Image credit: Matteo Doni

Other locations to view a flurry of pink petals are at St Andrew Square and along Princes Street.

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3. Vancouver, Canada

Image credit: Canuckdon

Blooming period: Early March to late April

Vancouver transforms into a cherry blossom paradise as the rainy season makes way for springtime. With over 40,000 cherry trees across the city, visitors are treated to the sight of blossoming trees not only in gardens and parks but also in urban areas.

Image credit: Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

Some of the best cherry viewing spots include Queen Elizabeth Park, Stanley Park, Nitobe Memorial Garden and the Kitsilano neighbourhood. With different varieties of sakura trees peaking at different times, you’re bound to get your chance to marvel at nature’s wonders. Better yet, time your visit to coincide with the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival for endless activities under a sea of cherry blossoms.

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4. Washington D.C., USA

Image credit: Nicolas Raymond

Blooming period: Late March to early April

You know that Washington D.C. takes cherry blossoms seriously when they play host to a three-week-long National Cherry Blossom Festival. One of the highlights of this festival is the parade with helium balloons, marching bands and huge floats along Constitution Avenue.

Image credit: m01229

During the peak bloom period, visitors flock to the Tidal Basin which is graced by an explosion of florals. You can also spot the pinky petals while sightseeing at the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial or the Washington Monument.

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5. Cowra, Australia

Image credit: John O’Neill

Blooming period: Late September to mid-October

Unlike in the Northern Hemisphere, the Australian springtime begins in September. During this period, there is perhaps no better place in the country to appreciate cherry blossoms than at the Japanese Garden in Cowra, a town in New South Wales.

In 2019, the 30th edition of the Sakura Matsuri will unfold in the Japanese Garden. This cherry blossom festival is complete with ritual tea ceremonies, ikebana displays, sumo wrestling, and taiko drummers.

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6. Jinhae, South Korea

Blooming period: Late March to early April

This list wouldn’t be complete without Japan’s neighbour, South Korea. There are indeed many locations all over South Korea where you can view cherry blossoms, from Jeju Island to Seoul and Busan. However, the most remarkable place would arguably be Jinhae, host to the 10-day Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival.

Image credit: Steve Butterfield

In spring, a whopping 300,000 cherry trees bloom here in unison. Walk along the Romance Bridge, where the Yeojwacheon Stream runs under a canopy of cherry blossoms, for a truly mesmerising experience. Apart from savouring the sights, visitors can tuck into unique festival delicacies like the petal-shaped and cherry-flavoured cherry blossom bread.

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7. Taipei, Taiwan

Image credit: eazytraveler

Blooming period: Mid-February to mid-March

The best place for seeing cherry blossoms in Taipei is not within the city itself but in the nearby Yangmingshan National Park. Peppered with hot springs and sulphur lakes, this mountainous park that spans 114 square metres is best explored on foot along the meandering hiking trails.

Image credit: Kinden Kuo

In spring, visitors can bask in not only cherry blossoms but all sorts of flowers including calla lilies and rhododendrons. To celebrate this gift of nature, the annual Yangmingshan Flower Festival brings various events and food trucks to the venue.

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[BONUS] Cairo, Egypt

Image credit: Cairo Scene

While Egypt doesn’t have cherry blossoms, the annual Orman Flower Festival is held in Cair every spring from March to May. Celebrating its 86th year in 2019, the Orman Flower Festival is one of the oldest spring flower festivals in the country.

Take a break from Egypt’s deserts, pyramids and catacombs and be dazzled by an explosion of colours – from rare orchids to lemon trees, tulips and even bonsais!

Image credit: Cairo Scene

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