Published on : Wednesday, March 25, 2015
This is the best time to visit Japan if you would like to explore this matchless beauty. The season will last till May 10th as Japan organises a nationwide party. Tokyo will be in full bloom around April 1st.The hanami (blossom viewing) has started several days in advance. But if you cannot make it to Japan in the first week of April, there is no need to worry as Northern cities like Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture see the best blooms during the last week of April. Also Sapporo will give you a chance of blossom viewing in May. But if you had wished to sight blossoms from Kyoto and Osaka then you are late as they are mostly ready 10 days ahead of Tokyo.
The Cherry blossom festival has increased arrivals particularly from Korean tourists by 70 per cent. Almost double the amount of Chinese tourists arrived this year from 2014. A record of 1.3 million Chinese tourists visited Japan according to Japan National Tourism Agency (JNTO).
Japan’s newly relaxed visa rules have boosted tourism from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. For 15 days no visa is needed and tourists from these neighbouring states come flocking to Japan. U.S. tourists arrivals have also increased by 14 percent and 20 per cent from UK with more arrivals anticipated for the cherry blossom festival.
Most hotels in Tokyo are fully booked out of the 556 hotels only 5 are not fully booked from April 1-28 for the cherry blossom festival. There are long lines at the immigration counters in Narita and Haneda International Airports and things are going to get worst feel local news agencies.
Viewing of cherry blossoms in Tokyo can be done in Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen Park, along the Imperial Moat (Chidorigafuchi) and the Meguro River. However a lot depends on the weather. The blossoms too are fragile and short lived so there is too much pressure on the tour operators as individual travelers are expecting a lot from this beautiful display of nature.
Tokyo is expected to receive a lot of arrivals and will be very crowded in this period. With low cost domestic carriers to regional airports and affordable Japan Rail it is a good idea to move out of Tokyo to view the resplendent bloom.
But not everyone comes to enjoy this glorious gift of nature. Chinese tourists clutter around Tokyo and the other big cities of Japan to shop or Bakugai — exploding sales as the Japanese call it. An average Chinese tourist shopped for 157,000 yen per person ($1311) to 200,000 yen ($1666) in February according to Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) and some other information sources.