Detailed maps on where and when to catch cherry blossoms.
As winter has given way to spring, most travelers are now looking forward to witnessing the ephemeral beauty of the cherry blossoms. Lucky for us, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan—countries best known for these pink blooms in spring—are just a few hours away from the Philippines by plane.
Typically in full bloom in March and April, the flowers draw crowds from all over the world. However, aside from their beauty, what else do these pink flowers have and why is it worth dedicating an adventure?
For centuries, the Japanese have cultivated wild cherry trees not just for food, but also for aesthetics because of their breathtaking beauty. This paved the way for cherry trees not only becoming the country’s national flower but as a symbol of harmony among Asian countries. Today, people from across Asia celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival in one way or another, depending on how their cultures were exposed to the iconic blossom.
When people think of cherry blossoms or sakura, Japan is the first place that comes to mind. They not only signify the beginning of spring but also symbolizes the time for renewal. Due to the blossoms’ lifespan of roughly two weeks, the fast turnover rate is seen as the cycle of life and death.
In Japan, the tradition of viewing and appreciating cherry blossoms is called hanami, which literally means flower viewing. It has become a vital part of Japanese culture that hanami has become the climax of celebrating the spring season. People far and wide flock where the flowers bloom to eat, drink, sing songs, and bond with loved ones while celebrating and embodying the essence of hanami.
To appreciate the one-of-a-kind beauty of the cherry blossoms, popular attractions to take note of are a tour of Mt. Fuji with its picturesque 8 Ponds of Oshino Hakkai, and an experience around Gunma where one will witness the majestic Fukiware-no-taki Waterfalls.
The country saw its first cherry blossoms around March 29 in Tokyo and the latest bloom will be on May 2 in Sapporo. You have three months to catch Japan in its signature sakura hue.
Just like South Korea, Taiwan has a shared history with Japan. Recognizing the beauty of the cherry blossoms, Taiwan started to plant these trees in various locales with the Beitou District even becoming a tourist favorite.
Interesting fact: while Taiwan isn’t as well associated with cherry blossoms as Japan, Taiwan turns pink much earlier than the latter. The cherry blossoms bloom in January and last for a good four months, giving both locals and tourists until April to appreciate the season.
A popular attraction in Taiwan during the cherry blossom season is a Glamping Experience in Hsinchu. Located in a campsite surrounded by mountains, tourists get to experience nature, away from the typical cityscape.
Blooming across the entire country, the season lasts until April.
In South Korea, the cherry blossom was seen as a marker of Japanese culture but later evolved to symbolize purity and beauty. The pink petals are also often used in pop culture, particularly in Korean dramas where it represents true love.
Unsurprisingly, cherry blossoms have found their way into one of South Korea’s best-known industries: skincare and beauty. Korean brand Innisfree has an entire line of Jeju Cherry Blossom-infused products.
In Seoul, one of the best areas to view the beautiful blooms is Yeouido Park where the cherry blossoms are seen against the backdrop of the calming Han River. Nearby is Yeouido Dock where Klook offers the Seoul Eland Hangang River Cruise, a scenic experience great for a relaxed bonding experience with friends and family around Seoul.
Outside of Seoul, cherry blossoms fans can also take a day trip to Gyeongju, a city in a coastal province just two hours away from Seoul via KTX. Gyeongju is also well known for holding an annual “cherry blossom marathon” where participants get to run through five kilometers along the lush rows of cherry trees. Travelers visiting Gyeongju for the cherry blossoms also get to experience the history and culture of South Korea, with five districts designated by UNESCO, including Seokguram and Bulguksa Temple as World Heritage Sites.
The first bloom came out on March 22 in Jeonju and admirers can expect to witness the pink season until April!
With a deeper understanding of what these elegant flowers mean to each country, don’t miss out on experiencing it firsthand. From sightseeing, indulging in different cultures, interacting with the locals, and joining in on the festivities, there is still so much more to do! Filipinos specifically, get to enjoy visa-free trips to Taiwan until July 31, , making visiting cherry blossoms so much easier to plan for.
Explore what you can do Under the Pink Sky in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan with Klook. Download the Klook app via the App Store or Google Play or visit their website.