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Cherry Blossoms - Should I change my dates to fly in a week earlier?

Cherry Blossoms - Should I change my dates to fly in a week earlier?

Old Feb 27th, 2023, 02:16 AM
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Cherry Blossoms - Should I change my dates to fly in a week earlier?

Curious also the best way to schedule my itinerary to see the cherry blossoms. Also I'm flexible with my dates but curious if these dates work for cherry blossoms or if I should reschedule my flights?

Note: I have looked up the flowering and peak bloom dates. I just don't understand if it's best to be there during the flowering, or peak bloom or after. And how long after peak bloom the trees still look nice.

Tokyo: Flowering March 18th and Peak Bloom March 25
Kyoto: Flowering March 23rd and Peak Bloom April 2nd
Osaka: Flowering March 25th and Peak Bloom April 2nd

Current plan:

March 27, 2023: Arrive in Tokyo (HND airport)

March 28 - March 30th: Full days in Tokyo (thinking I'll go to Shinjuku Gyoen on March 28th to see the blossoms. Maybe Ueno Park March 29th)

March 31st: Hakone day trip

April 1st: Leave for Kyoto

April 2 - 4th: Kyoto (there for peak blossom day)

April 5th: Leave for Hiroshima

April 6th: Hiroshima

April 7th: Leave Hiroshima for Osaka

April 8: Osaka

April 9: Leave for Tokyo, maybe Disney SEA?

April 10th: Fly back to Seattle-Tacoma International from Tokyo Narita

Also any input on how to better my itinerary is appreciated I'm a 23 year old solo traveler.
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Old Feb 27th, 2023, 09:13 AM
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Your timing is good and a week later would be less good, imo.
First there are buds on the tree and the buds open and out come the blossoms (i.e. they are flowering, said by me not a botanist). The blossoms grow, fully bloom, get to peak bloom, and then fade and fall off. It will be pretty before and after peak bloom. Even after they start to fade, it is pretty, and there can be a snow of petals in a breeze and petals on the ground.

There are a few varieties of cherry trees in Japan and they reach peak bloom at different times. That was one thing I learned about Shinjuku Gyoen, in particluar. It has multiple varieties and you can see them in various stages of bloom, at the same time, so it is 'a good time to go' for quite a few days, like more than a week or 10 or 14 days, IDR.

Your itinerary is good. It certainly works. Nothing needs fixed. Here are few ideas/thoughts to consider:

You have Hakone as a day trip on a particular day. You sh/could be flexible about that, keeping an eye on the weather forecast, so that you can move Hakone to an earlier day that promises a sunny day in Kanto region. You can enjoy the blossoms Ueno Park on a rainy day, in my experience. But, going to Hakone when you can't see Fujisan because of clouds and fog and in the rain would be less fun.

You could keep Hakone fixed for the 31st, but plan to stay there overnight, maybe an onsen ryokan, and go to Kyoto from there. Maybe the weather will be suboptimal the first day, but you could have several hours of good weather the next day to enjoy the loop (enjoy again, maybe) before heading to Kyoto. If you have an interest in visiting an onsen or in a ryokan stay or, better, both, then I would recommend doing so (that is, if a one-night stop fits your travel style, though it could, probably would, be more expensive that returning to Tokyo).

The Osaka stop is good, depending on your interests. It could be Nara instead or in addition but keeping it Osaka is good too.

You could fly back from Hiroshima (HIJ) to Tokyo (for example April 9 on JAL, JPY 10,000 in economy or 12,000 in business class J). A 7-dat JR Pass might be worthwhile for April 1-7 to get you to Osaka but then you buy a ticket from there to Tokyo. Am fairly sure that a 14-day JR Pass would be overkill.

Flying back from HIJ would alter your plan, one option being:
April 5th: Leave for Osaka
April 6th: Osaka
April 7th: Leave Osaka for Hiroshima
you could visit Miyajima
April X: fly HIJ to TYO

If you did decide to go a week earlier then you couild reverse the order and travel south to north. Instead of HND, HIJ could be your destination. Or fly or train there after a day or two in Tokyo.

If your flight arrives HND in the morning then that means you can connect to pretty much anywhere in Japan that day. Fewer options in the evening.

Last edited by mrwunrfl; Feb 27th, 2023 at 10:05 AM.
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Old Mar 14th, 2023, 09:47 AM
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And so it turns out that the blossoms are arriving/arrived 10 days earlier than normal.

Tokyo sees another record early start to cherry blossom season | The Japan Times
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 09:15 AM
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If seeing the cherry blossoms in full bloom is your top priority and you have the flexibility to change your travel plans, then it may be worth considering. Generally, the cherry blossoms reach peak bloom in late March or early April, depending on the weather conditions. If you are flying in from a distance, it's important to keep in mind that peak bloom can vary from year to year and can be difficult to predict accurately.
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 10:23 AM
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​​​​​​per the article:
Mar 14, 2023 "full-bloom within the next week"
i think, tho, that would not apply to all cherry tree varieties.
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