Spring, which comes after winter and before summer, is one of the most anticipated seasons of the year. As the temperature starts to warm up and the days become longer, new leaves likewise grow from trees and fresh flowers are waiting to bloom. The spring months from March to May are actually considered as the best time for travelling, particularly to countries where spring festivals are widely celebrated and cherry blossoms generously line the streets.
Mention spring, and the first destination that comes to mind is Japan. The blooming of cherry blossoms, locally referred to as sakura, is believed to represent the human life—how it is overwhelmingly beautiful and unpredictably transient at the same time. Hanami or cherry blossom viewing, which takes place across several cities at different periods of time, should not be missed during this season. The first cherry blossoms always appear in Okinawa then make their way towards the northern part of Japan, particularly in Hokkaido. Forecasts this year predict that the average full bloom in Tokyo begins in late March, Kyoto and Osaka in early April, and Sapporo in early May.
Springtime in South Korea is a welcome change after the country has been enveloped in the freezing cold of winter. The shift to a milder weather signals the continuous flocking of tourists, who are all hoping to catch the iconic floral displays during one of South Korea’s most beautiful seasons. Because even cities are abundant with green spaces like open parks and tree-lined streets, viewing the cherry blossoms can be accompanied by picnic lunches or outdoor activities with loved ones. Spring first arrives in Jeju Island late March, around the same time as Busan. Meanwhile, expect to see cherry blossoms in Incheon, Seoul, and Gangwon beginning mid-April.
While Taiwan has warm temperature all throughout the year, spring remains to be the most ideal time to visit, when the weather is pleasant. The season coincides with the birthday of Mazu, the popular Chinese sea goddess, which is celebrated at Taichung City. During one of the country’s most celebrated festivals, there is a four-day procession, where Mazu’s statue is being paraded from the Chenlan Temple to other participating temples. Cherry blossoms bloom as early as February in New Taipei City and Yuchi, and between March and April in Beitou District and Alishan. Many of Taiwan’s cherry blossom viewing sites, however, have now imposed a daily visitor limit, in order to prevent extremely heavy traffic and guarantee that the viewing experience will be worthwhile.
DID YOU KNOW? Cherry blossoms also grow in northern Thailand. From December until February, the pink and white flowers, known locally as the Tiger Queen flowers, surround the city of Chiang Mai. Contrary to other countries, the viewing season for the Himalayan cherry blossoms in Thailand happens in the winter, which is why the blooms are also very short-lived.