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With almost 3 decades of collective experience shooting photos and videos around Japan, we thought that our sheer wealth of knowledge and extensive stock of pictures would make for an ideal basis to write a first guide to anyone who wants to enjoy the beauty of Japanese cherry trees (sakura). This guide naturally covers the most popular spots but also a number of secret ones, usually free of tourists.
Although widely spread in the Northern hemisphere, the sakura tree is nowhere as important as it is in Japan, where it holds the status of national flower. The abrupt transience of its blossoms, the delicate and ephemeral beauty of its flower has led Japan to associate the sakura tree with mortality and is therefore richly symbolic. The sakura flower can indeed be found in many aspects of the daily life in Japan: from the 100 yen coins, to dishware as well as on Kimonos.
All sakura trees are not made equal and, believe it or not, there are 200 different types of sakura trees in Japan! They differ by the flowering period, number of petals and each variety features flowers with a unique shape and colour, which ranges from white – often seen in Tokyo – to a deep pink. There is even a more yellowish variety known as the ukon family of sakura.
We hope that this first guide dedicated to the Tokyo area, will help you enjoying sakura trees and perhaps discover new spots to practice the Japanese art of hanami: cherry blossom viewing. Our photo tips should also help you to capture in the best possible way this unique time marking the beginning of spring in Japan. Please do not hesitate to contact us if your favourite spot is not on the list.