Spring has arrived in Japan and with it comes the much-awaited cherry blossom season. While some parts of the country are still witnessing the first buds of the flowers, others are already enjoying the beautiful sight of the blossoms in full bloom, with petals gracefully falling to the ground. The blooming of these flowers is a natural process that is beyond human control. Due to the diverse variety of cherry blossoms in Japan, they do not all bloom at the same time but have their specific period of utmost beauty called “Mankai.” These variations can be determined based on the number of petals, shape, color, and blooming time. If you are a cherry blossom enthusiast but lack knowledge about the different types of cherry blossoms, this article might prove useful to you.
Do you happen to know the name of this Sakura flower? It’s located at Gotokuji Temple in Setagaya, Tokyo and the photo was taken by mrhayata on Flickr. In this article, we’ll be discussing the top 10 cherry blossom varieties you can spot in Japan during the spring season. Let’s start off with the Kawazuzakura.
The Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of the early blooming Kawazuzakura cherry blossom, which can be found in the town of Kawazu in Izu Prefecture, Japan. This unique flower typically begins to bloom in February and is characterized by its pink color and larger petal size compared to other cherry blossoms. The festival, which runs from early February to early March, attracts millions of visitors each year who come to appreciate the beauty of this special flower. Along with the blossoms, visitors can also admire the accompanying green buds that represent new life. The lifespan of Kawazuzakura is longer than other cherry blossoms found in Japan.
Japan boasts of having more than a hundred cherry blossom varieties, including wild ones. However, the Yoshino cherry blossom is the most famous of all. This flower is a crossbreed of the Edohigan Zakura and Oshimazakura varieties, producing pale pink petals that appear white at first glance. Each blossom has five petals, and most of them were planted during the Edo period. The oldest Somei Yoshino cherry blossom tree planted in Hirosaki Park in 1882 still looks vibrant and beautiful to this day. The blooming season usually starts in early April, with the second half becoming the most spectacular. Interestingly, you won’t see young buds until these petals fall off. If you want a less crowded spot to view the Sakura, visit Hirosaki Park, where you’ll find lovely cherry trees and a festival from late March to early April. If you fancy having a Yoshino cherry blossom tree in your yard, don’t hesitate to take the seeds and plant them. Another beautiful variety is the Takato Kohigan Cherry Blossom.
The Takao Khigan Sakura, located in the Takato Castle Park in Nagano Prefecture, is a unique and rare type of cherry blossom. Its delicate reddish-pink flowers with 5 petals bloom in early April, creating a stunning display of natural beauty. Due to its exclusivity, spotting this type of cherry blossom can be quite tricky, as there are only a few branches visible from afar. Nevertheless, witnessing the Takao Khigan Sakura in full bloom is an experience unlike any other.
Check out this stunning view of the park from Katako castle! This photo was captured by the Ina City Tourism Association in Nagano Prefecture. The park boasts over 1500 cherry blossom trees of the same variety. To make sure you don’t miss out on a beautiful cherry blossom viewing spot like this one, plan a visit in mid-April to join in the festivities and celebrations. Another highlight of the park is the Shidarezakura tree.
My personal preference for sakura flowers is the Shidarezakura variety. If you share my admiration for this type of flower, you should definitely visit the samurai district of Kakunodate in Akita, where a row of Shidarezakura trees can be found by the side of the road. Other places to catch a glimpse of these beautiful blossoms include Tohoku, where the enormous Miharu Takizakura, located in Fukushima Prefecture, has been standing for over a millennium.
The Yaeshidarezakura cherry blossom is a beautiful flower with numerous petals and long, graceful branches that hang low enough to touch the shoulders of those who stand beneath it. Seeing this vibrant multi-petal flower in full bloom is truly a sight to behold. It typically blooms in early April and has a longer lifespan compared to other types of cherry blossoms. There are two varieties of the long-branched cherry blossom, one with only five petals and the other with a much larger number of petals, known as Yaeshidarezakura. If you want to witness the beauty of these special cherry blossoms, be sure to pay a visit to the Kakunodate cherry blossom festival. Additionally, Yamazakura is another variety of cherry blossom that is worth admiring during the blooming season.
The Yamazakura is a stunning type of mountain cherry blossom that is considered one of the wilder cherry species in Japan. A visit to Yoshinoyama during spring is a must if you want to witness the breathtaking beauty that the Yamazakura brings to this place. Yoshinoyama, located in Nara, is renowned for its slopes filled with cherry blossoms every early April. It’s one of the most picturesque cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan due to the natural surroundings of the mountains and the ample space it provides.
Compared to Yoshino sakura, the Yamazakura has slightly smaller petals, although the number of petals is almost the same. The flowers are light pink in color, and you can spot dark red fallen leaves scattered at the same time the Yamazakura petals are in full bloom. So, if you want to witness the beauty of the Yamazakura in full glory, a visit to Yoshinoyama during spring is highly recommended.
Have you heard of the Ichiyo Sakura? It’s a beloved type of cherry blossom that typically blooms in mid-April, mostly found in the Kanto region of Japan. This particular cherry blossom is known for blooming later than others and has over 5 petals. It boasts around 20-30 petals with beautiful pink hues, accompanied by green stems. When it reaches its peak, this flower is a sight to behold! You can spot them at various parks and gardens throughout Japan.
On another note, have you heard about the Edohigan Zakura?
Have you seen the Edohigan Zakura flower? At first glance, it may resemble the famous Sakura Yoshino. Interestingly, this flower is one of the two types that are used for breeding and producing Yoshino flowers. The Sakura Yoshino is a beloved cherry blossom that can be found mainly in the Kanto region, though it can be challenging to spot in Okinawa or Hokkaido, Japan. However, the Edohigan sakura tree, located in Usuzumi Park, Gifu Prefecture, is a giant and impressive example. It was planted by Emperor Keitai during the 6th century, and it stands tall at 16m and is about 1500 years old! The Edohigan sakura blooms in late March, but its bloom time can vary depending on weather conditions. This flower has smaller petals than the Yoshino variety, but it is still a beautiful sight to behold. Lastly, let’s not forget the Kanhizakura, which is worth checking out as well!
The Kanhizakura flower possesses a unique and captivating appeal. These cherry blossoms are well-loved in Okinawa and Taiwan, while in southern Japan, they typically bloom from mid-January to February. However, in Honshu, they tend to bloom during early March. The flower boasts a bell-like shape and possesses a deep pink color, akin to apricot, with five petals. If you wish to see this variety of flower, Yaedak Mountain in Okinawa is the ideal destination where thousands of Kanhizakura flowers bloom in full splendor in early February each year. Another popular type of cherry blossom is the Kanzan.
The Kanzan cherry blossom is a beautiful flower that belongs to the yaezakura family, known for its multi-petaled blooms. Typically, it blossoms towards the end of April and boasts 30-50 dark pink petals set against a backdrop of brown leaves. As the flowers start to fade, new young leaves will begin to emerge. It’s a stunning sight to see! Moving on to the next type of cherry blossom, we have the Kikuzakura.
The Kikuzakura, also known as the hundred-petaled sakura, is a popular late-blooming species of cherry blossom in Japan. What sets it apart is that its flowers and leaves often bloom at the same time, and the leaves are larger than those of other cherry blossoms. In Tokyo, you can find this flower in Japanese parks and gardens, typically blooming from late April to early May. While spring is the most popular time to see cherry blossoms, you can also catch them in late autumn and early winter, with the Jugatsuzakura variety. Cherry blossoms are a symbol of the Land of the Rising Sun, and we hope this information helps you appreciate their beauty even more.