When to see them: usually end of March to early April
Cherry blossoms, known locally as sakura, are worth a trip to Japan on their own. In full bloom, the pink flowers, often packed in dense clusters across farreaching branches, are so profuse they look like giant pink clouds tethered to the ground by tangled wires. It’s a mesmerising sight that steals the show from everything else in the vicinity, and Japan’s nationwide fascination with the blooms inspires everything from ukiyo-e woodblock art to desserts and drinks.
Although cherry blossoms are thought of as pink, these delicate flowers actually vary in colour depending on the species; in Tokyo they are usually light pink in colour, or white with a pink centre. You’ll find these fleeting blooms across the capital, with popular spots like the Meguro River and Shinjuku Gyoen becoming sakura pilgrimage sites for both tourists and locals alike.