With the receding of the harsh winter and the onset of spring, Japan takes on one of its most beautiful avatars. Dressed in the best hues of pink, the Hanami or Cherry Blossom season arrives. The delicate flowers stay in bloom for only two weeks each year but the memory of the picturesque landscapes and the spring traditions warms your heart with hope.

We bring you the top Hanami viewing spots around Japan and the best time to welcome the sakura flowers.

Tokyo

 Shinjuku Gyoen Park Cherry Blossoms Hanami

The bursting metropolis boasts of several Hanami viewing spots. The most famous is the Shinjuku Gyoen Public Park where a 1,000 cherry trees in bloom creates the most ethereal sight. Alternatively, you can pack a picnic to take to the Ueno Park, which has its own Cherry Blossom Festival and join the locals in celebrating spring.

Meguro River Cherry Blossoms at Night

Don’t miss the Nakameguro Sakura Festival at Meguro River, which is lined with more than 800 cherry trees and presents a wonderful sight at night when paper lanterns are lit to illuminate the cherry blossoms.

Estimated first average bloom: 22 March 2017

Estimated average full bloom: 30 March 2017- 1 April 2017

Where to stay: Are you looking for a centralized accommodation that makes it easy to travel to different destinations? Click here for properties in central Tokyo.

Kyoto

In Kyoto, the Philosopher’s Path located beside the canal that heads to the Silver Temple, is the most visited as it has the loveliest of blooms. Equally beautiful is the Heian Shrine, with its attractive garden, clear stream and ancient bridge that attaches a surreal quality to the cherry blossom viewing experience.

Another spot in Kyoto, is the Maruyama Park, with plenty of food stalls and a huge weeping cherry tree that is beautiful to behold at night when lit up.

Estimated first average bloom: 27 March 2017

Estimated average full bloom: 2 April 2017- 4 April 2017

Where to stay: The ancient city of Kyoto is renowned for its beauty. Click here for a listing of the most scenic properties that Kyoto can offer.

Osaka

Osaka has numerous cherry blossom viewing spots. The Osaka Castle Park provides wonderful photo opportunities. The gorgeous white castle serves as the perfect backdrop to shoot the beauty of the sakura flower.

The less-crowded but equally beautiful Kema Sakuranomiya Park, set by the riverside, is the best place for that leisurely picnic. Here is what a spring night at the park looks like:

If you are late, you can still catch the exquisite blooms at the Osaka Mint Bureau whose gardens open for one week during the annual Cherry Blossom Viewing hosted by Osaka city.

Estimated first average bloom: 28 March 2017

Estimated average full bloom: 2 April 2017- 4 April 2017

Where to stay: Osaka has plenty of accomodation options that let you enjoy the city in its spring glory. Book here.

Whether you choose to experience Japan’s hanami season in Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka, Count on HomeAway to provide you with comfortable, beautiful and unique accommodation options.