It’s Sakura Time in Japan, See Cherry Blossoms and Stay in Ryokans Instead of Hotels

    Cherry blossoms around a pond in a Japanese garden. (Image: Pixabay) Sakura, aka Japanese cherry blossoms. (Image: Pixabay)Cherry blossoms at a Japanese castle. (Image: Pixabay)Cherry blossoms outside a traditional-style Japanese building, the Kumamoto castle. (Image: Pixabay)Hoshi Ryokan, a chain of traditional Japanese inns, offers a more authentic Japan experience. (Image: Namazu-tron/Wikipedia)A traditional-style hotel room bedding arrangement for a family. (Image: Pixabay)Spa bath hot springs at Hoshi Ryokan inn during winter. (Image: Akiyoshi's Room/Wikipedia)Japanese lanterns light the street. (Image: Pixabay)Almond blossoms during Sakura in Japan. (Image: Pixabay)Japanese gardens.  (Image: Pixabay)This quince tree blossoms in three different colors. (Image: Cassie Ryan)Blossoms at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. (Image: Cassie Ryan)

    Do you love cherry blossoms? Why not actually plan a little trip to Japan to see them in person then? You could stay in traditional Ryokan-style guesthouses, with futon mattresses, tatami flooring, and communal baths. You know you want to.

    This map and website is the best one to help plan a trip, timing, and destinations. Spring in Japan is magical—from mid-March to late April the pink and white blossoms blanket the country in soft, colorful splendor. Or check this site, Japan Guide.com.

    You can join the cherry blossom parties and picnics, called hanami. The night time hanami parties (called yozakura) are big among the younger set. Paper lanterns and lights are hung in trees, and people eat out and walk among them. The island of Okinawa is especially good for the evening yozakura.

    Night time viewing and sakura parties are spectacular in a different way. (Image: Japanexperterna/Wikipedia)

    Night-time cherry blossom viewing and Sakura parties are fun. This is Hanami at the park behind the Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto. (Image: Japanexperterna/Wikipedia)

    The Ryokan inns—let’s get back to those—because, OK, we love cherry blossoms, but would you really want to go to Japan just for that?

    Staying in Ryokan inns transforms your Japan trip into an experience of traditional culture and style.

    Apparently, they are a little harder to find than modern hotels in Tokyo and other big cities, and sometimes more expensive, but in some cities you can find them for as cheap as $40 a night. Generally though, you’ll find them in scenic destinations—out by the sea and in mountain regions. Your best bet is Hoshino Resorts, a chain offering this style of lodging.

    Cherry blooming forecast. (Image: jnto.go.jp)

    Cherry blooming forecast. (Screenshot/jnto.go.jp)

    Locals and tourists revel in spring near Tokyo's Ueno Park. (Image: Fiona Ryan)

    Locals and tourists revel in spring near Tokyo’s Ueno Park. (Image: Fiona Ryan)

    All dressed up to see the Sakura: A couple at Todaji Temple in Nara (L). Two young women in Kyoto (R).
    All dressed up to see the Sakura: A couple at Todaji Temple in Nara (L). Two young women in Kyoto (R). (Image: Fiona Ryan) 
    Japanese welcoming the spring by the Sumida River in Tokyo. Many young women dress up in traditional costume for the special occasion. (Image: Cassie Ryan)

    Japanese welcoming the spring by the Sumida River in Tokyo. Many young women dress up in traditional costume for the special occasion. (Image: Cassie Ryan)

    Mount Fuji in the late afternoon sun. The cherry trees blossom later here due to the higher altitude. (Image: Cassie Ryan)

    Mount Fuji in the late afternoon sun. The cherry trees blossom later here due to the higher altitude. (Image: Cassie Ryan)

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