Nothing says spring like the explosion of perfect pink cherry blossoms that cover Japan from capital Tokyo to historic Kyoto to farther flung regions like Hokkaido. The Japanese even have a special word for the viewing of these iconic flowers: hanami. It’s an experience that graces many a bucket list, but the Land of the Rising Sun isn’t the only place you can see beautiful cherry blossoms. This April, try one of these other sakura-filled cities on for size.
Famous hanami hangouts like Shinjuku Gyoen in Tokyo can get very crowded in April. Why not enjoy a more off-the-beaten-path locale like Seoul? The capital of South Korea is home to five grand palaces, all of which have beautiful cherry blossom trees. Gyeonbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace are perhaps the best for budding photographers, if you’ll pardon the pun. These two sites are renowned for their stunning architecture, and the shades of pink in the trees just add to their beauty. Other areas in Seoul to check out the cherry blossoms include Seoul Grand Park, Kyunghee University, and Seoul Forest.
Perfect pastel shades line the banks of the Tidal Basin in the United States’ capital. You might even catch a glimpse of the Jefferson Memorial or the Washington Monument peeking through or above the cherry blossoms for that idyllic Instagram snap. Washington DC celebrates the arrival of spring with its own National Cherry Blossom Festival, featuring a parade, grand ball, and fireworks. If you miss the festivities, you can still catch the tail end of the bloom. Capture the best photos from the steps of the Jefferson Memorial or hop in a paddle boat to get up close and personal with the blooms on the Tidal Basin. Other prime viewing spots include the U.S. National Arboretum, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and of course the Japanese Lantern.
You may not hear ‘cherry blossoms’ and instantly think ‘London’ but if there’s one thing the British capital knows how to do, it’s how to adopt other cultures. London is a massively diverse, cosmopolitan city, and you can find sakura in a few spots around the Old Smoke. Regent’s Park has several cherry blossom trees and its nearly 400 acre expanse includes many other springy spots, like the Primrose Hill viewpoint and the Queen Mary rose garden. The ever-popular Kew Gardens also have a designated Cherry Walk, where you can completely surround yourself with the pink blooms.
The only city that might be even more of a melting pot than London is the one and only New York, so nice they named it twice. There are quite a few corners of the five boroughs where cherry blossoms make their coveted appearance. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is top dog with its own Sakura Matsuri festival at the end of April. Over 60 family-friendly events and activities celebrate hanami the New York way. Other spots to see cherry blossoms in NYC include the New York Botanical Garden, Randall’s Island, Riverside Park, and the famous Central Park itself.