The sakura season is not too far away!
Every Spring, tons of locals and tourists alike flood Japan to see the cherry blossoms reach full bloom. According to the official forecast from Japan Meteorological Corporation, the sakura season of 2019 will start mid-February in southern Japan and move northwards, hitting Kyoto and Tokyo around late March, and the northernmost regions by early May.
As the full bloom only lasts about a week, you have to fight through huge crowds at for a place to relax and take good photos. So skip the most popular viewing spots this year; hidden across Japan (even in Tokyo and Kyoto), are lesser-known but no less scenic spots full of the pink and white beauties. Even better, you have the peace and space to admire them and even picnic under the trees.
2. Aoyama Cemetery, Tokyo
A cemetery may be a strange or even frightening place for some, but that’s also what makes this large cemetery in Tokyo a less-crowded hanami spot. Also, during spring, it looks nothing short of magical and dream-like bordered by hundreds of blooming cherry trees, most of them more than 70 years old. The best way to enjoy them is by walking or cycling along the street through the centre of the cemetery. The Aoyama Cemetery itself is also a fascinating place to explore: it’s where many iconic Japanese figures, including Hachiko (the dog whose statue can be found at Shibuya Station) and his owners, are buried.