You don't have to travel too far from Tokyo to find stunning winter cherry blossom. Acao Forest in Atami, Shizuoka prefecture, is just an hour from the capital city, and its atami-zakura blossoms have already started blooming. Peak season here is from mid-January to early February, so you still have time to see the blossoms across the park's 13 themed flower gardens. There's also a sakura festival at the park's Coeda House café, with a special hanami (flower viewing) picnic available for ¥3,200.
Waiting patiently for this year’s spring cherry blossoms to appear? You can get a glimpse of spring long before the season rolls around. In Japan, you’ll find beautiful varieties of winter sakura trees that bloom from as early as January through to March.
Kawazu-zakura is one of the most common winter cherry blossom varieties, and is a tree native to Shizuoka prefecture. These pretty pink flowers usually bloom between February and March. Plus, they have a longer lifespan than their spring cousins and usually last around a month. Other varieties include the vibrant pink kanhi-zakura trees commonly found in Okinawa, and atami-zakura which are indigineous to the coastal city of Atami.
If you’re planning on blossom hopping outside of Tokyo, here are some of the best parks, rivers and scenic spots around Japan to capture these impressive winter blossoms.
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