Most travellers are drawn to Japan for the abundance of delicious sushi, made from fish plucked fresh from the surrounding seas. Others want an insight into the unique culture which, although has some Chinese influence has remained steady over the centuries. Some travellers are fascinated by the Japanese bathrooms, known to be some of the best in the world while others want to try out the capsule hotels.
The Japan Cherry Blossom Festival is a less well known reason to visit the country. For only a few weeks every year the trees turn a magnificent pink colour as they come into bloom. It adds to the delicate Japanese atmosphere as candles are lit beneath them and parties are held in the cool evenings.
Traditionally, the Cherry Blossom period is followed closely by the countries media and parties are held beneath the trees. It is a time in the Japanese year to meet with friends, make new ones and share some sake. The festival is called Hanami, or ‘flower viewing’ and is a tradition over a thousand years old.
The trees flower from south to north of the country as the region warms up in preparation for summer. Some enthusiasts follow the blossom, beginning in Nagasaki and finishing the journey in Tokyo.
Mount Fiji is at its best with trees in cherry blossom framing the snow-capped volcano. At sunrise and sunset the colours collide with one another in a beautiful display of reds and pinks.
In the quest for the cherry blossom, travellers must not forget to visit other key sites in Japan. The Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Museum offers a chilling insight into the devastation caused by the atomic bomb and acts as a reminder of the power of man-kind. The sunset over Torii Gate is not one to be missed while a bike ride through Takayama takes you back in time to a period before westernisation.
The Japan Cherry Blossom takes place around the end of March and the beginning of April although this varies across the country. Tucan Travel runs tours to Japan during this period. For more information on their tours to Japan, click here.
About the Author: Jess is Communications Coordinator for Tucan Travel. She has travelled independently and on group tours through Central America, Africa, North America, Israel and Europe. You can find her on Google+ or read her other contributions here.