Tokyo vs Washington Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom

Now I’m sure we will have a few homebirds vying for their own side but we want to know which blooms shout loudest. So below, we’ve collected together the best photos that good ol’ Flickr has to offer of the cherry blossom in Washington DC and the ‘flower viewing’ hamani in Tokyo.

Cherry Blossom in Washington DC

Back in 1912, Tokyo bestowed 3,000 cherry blossom trees on Washington DC and to this day they are enjoying five weeks of blooming fantastic blossom. Dates of the event can vary but usually happens late March to April with a number of events planned throughout.

If you plan to visit the Washington cherry blossom, you should know that they grow in three National Park locations including Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, East Potomac Park and also in the Washington Monument grounds. Watch out for special events including guided lantern walks, live music, river cruises and the National Cherry Blossom Parade.

The best news? The National Cherry Blossom Festival is free and open to the public although some special events require paid admission.

For a place to stay, there are a number of cheap hostels in Washington near the cherry blossom festivities including Hostelling International – Washington DC which offers a free breakfast, pool table, bar, free city tour and self-catering facilities – perfect if you fancy packing a picnic before heading to the Washington parks. Dorms from €26.90 per person, per night. If you would prefer a private room, try the Gallery Hotel with both dorms and private rooms from €29.20pppn. Alternately, check out our top 3 cheap hotels in Washington.

If you are interested in a tour of Washington DC, try DCByFoot which offer free Washington walking tours and covers the best of the seasonal Washington cherry blossom!

Cherry Blossom in Tokyo

In Tokyo, the typical cherry blossom season is in early April. But it’s worth noting that if the weeks preceding cherry blossom season in Tokyo are mild, then the blossoms will be blooming early. If the weather is cooler, they will open later with seasons varying by as much much as two weeks.

The viewing of Japanese cherry blossom is called Hanami ‘flower viewing’. One of the best alternative sights is the cherry blossom lit up at night. Hanami parties have been held in Japan for centuries and you could replicate the experience and enjoy a picnic under the boughs, if you can find a free place of course! If you are serious about your Hanami picnic, join the locals who head down to the parks as early as 8am to spread their blankets and either label them, or sit and guard them in person.

Some of the best Tokyo cherry blossom viewing can be had in Shinjuku Gyoen, Ueno Park, Chidorigafuchi and Sumuda Park. Here you can witness over one hundred varieties of cherry tree. Some wild, and some native. The most popular is the cultivated Somei Yoshino with flowers typically made up of five petals. However some blossom tree boast flowers over 20 and 100 petals! Another stunner to look out for is the Shidarezakura, a tree with dropping branches that translates as ‘weeping cherry’.

It’s an expensive city so cheap hostels in Tokyo are a solution. The Khaosan Tokyo Samurai is a short walk from the cherry blossom in Sumuda Park, the river and metro. They offer both private and dorm rooms from €20 per person, per night.

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Thanks to Skyseeker, Wolfgang Lonien, Yoshikazu TakadaMrhayata, KanegenNeekohfi, Kimon, Kimono, InteriotNotbruceleeTdayal, SdixcliffordBellecouleurjewelry, Loneconspirator and spettaolopuro for the images off Flickr. Please note, all images were free to use at time of publication according to the Creative Commons License.

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