Cherry blossom season is one of the best times to visit Japan, and some of the best spots to stay during cherry blossom season are small hotels within walking distance of the best viewing sites.
When and Where to View Cherry Blossoms in Key Japanese Cities
With the exception of Okinawa, cherry blossoms start blooming in Japan from late March to early May, and the peak viewing period is usually one week after the cherry blossoms start to bloom.
As a result of above-average temperatures over the last few weeks, cherry blossoms in Japan are expected to open a few days earlier than average in most regions of Japan.
One exception is Kyushu, where temperatures have been closer to the average, and the season is expected to follow a more usual schedule.
The banks of rivers and lakes as well as the grounds of temples, castles, and shrines burst into a profusion of white and pink as the sakura flower, a.k.a. cherry blossom, start to open in the balmy days of spring.
Japanese families and friends gather under Japanese cherry trees to celebrate the arrival of spring in a time-honoured practice known as hanami, which means viewing Japanese cherry blossom trees.
Accommodation tends to be fully booked at this time of year. Smaller hotels within walking distance of key viewing sites offer a more personal experience than big name, branded properties.
Palace Hotel Two Day Package
The Palace Hotel Tokyo is one of the Japanese capital’s top hotels. The 261-room hotel offers a two-day spring package in March, April, and May.
Included in the special package is two nights in a hotel room and a three-hour tour of the city in a privately chauffeured luxury automobile.
While the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, this would include stops at the city’s best viewing spots.
Guests can also specify specific spots that they would like to visit. They could, for example, make a stop in Ginza to do some shopping.
Or they could ask to visit one of the countless temples, shrines, parks, and other tourist attractions that dot the metropolis
A bento box or bento set lunch and the hotel’s very own 1-1-1 sake by Hakkaisan are included in the package.
Guests wanting to take selfies during the tour can have a professional photographer accompany them at an additional charge.
They can have photos taken amongst the cherry blossoms, while taking a lesson in ikebana, a.k.a. flower arranging, or while learning how to make sakura mocha, or cherry blossom rice cakes.
Food and Beverage
Tokyo is one of the world’s top dining destinations. The city, in fact, has more restaurants with Michelin stars than Paris and New York together.
Hotel guests, however, would not really need to leave hotel premises for some of the Japanese capital’s finest meals.
Food and beverage outlets, include:
- Grand Kitchen serves American, French, Spanish, and Italian cuisine with Japanese touches;
- Tatsumi is a traditional tempura bar;
- Go is a teppanyaki grill serving fresh seafood and Japanese beef;
- Sushi Kanesaka serves mouth-watering sushi;
- Amber Palace is a Chinese restaurant serving Cantonese and Shanghainese cuisine;
- Royal Bar is a traditional martini and cigar bar;
- The Palace Lounge serves cocktails and afternoon tea;
- The Lounge Bar Prive serves cocktails, afternoon tea, and brasserie-style dishes.
The hotel is part of a mixed-use development. It is a 10 minute walk from Tokyo Station.
Additional suggestions on where to stay and what to do during Japan’s Cherry Blossom Season follow.
Tokyo – Home of the Imperial Palace
The shores of the moat surrounding the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan, put on one of the best displays of sakura in the Japanese capital.
You can rent a boat and row your way down the peaceful waterway under a canopy of cherry blossoms.
- Recommended Hotel: The Tokyo Station Hotel, Tokyo, Japan, is a short walk from the grounds of the Imperial Palace.
Nagahama – Home of Japan’s Largest Lake
A cherry blossom tunnel extends for 4 kilometres along Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake.
You can enjoy a glass of champagne and mouthwatering canapes while going for a cruise on the lake.
- Recommended Hotel: L’Hotel du Lac, Nagahama City, Japan, is located on the banks of Lake Biwa.
Nara – Home of the Free-roaming Deer
Nara Park is home to free-roaming deer, which in Shintoism are considered to be messengers of the gods.
You can explore the park, which is home to many attractions, including the Nara National Museum.
- Recommended Hotel: Noborioji Hotel, Nara, Japan, which is situated within walking distance of Kofuku-ji Temple.
Nagasaki – Home of Japan’s Oldest National Park
Unzen-Amakusa is Japan’s oldest national park.
You can relax in a Sulphur hot spring bath followed by a visit to the lava dome Heisei Shinyama at Fugendake, Obama Onsen, Shimahara Castle, Shimahara springs, and ruins of samurai houses along the Shimahara Peninsula.
- Recommended Hotel: Unzen Kanko Hotel, Nagasaki, Japan, which is famous for its hot spring baths.