Cherry Blossom Guide: Flower Types

Learn about the different types of sakura and where to see them

Japan's cherry blossom season is famous around the world, but perhaps less is understood about the sheer variety of blossom and where each type can be seen. Read on to learn about the different kinds of cherry blossom you can see in Japan.

Varieties of Cherry Blossom

Somei Yoshino

Hirosaki castle moat
Hirosaki castle moat (著作権: Serena Ogawa / JT)

One of the most widespread and recognised varieties, with its pale white/pink flower. Some of the oldest trees are native to Hirosaki, Aomori. The Nakameguro canal is also a popular destination for Tokyoites, with 800 or so somei-yoshino trees stretching for about 4 km along both sides of Meguro River.

Yamazakura

Yama-zakura, pale pink flower & red leaves
Yama-zakura, pale pink flower & red leaves (著作権: autan / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A wild variety which grows commonly around Japan, Yamazakura is known for its light pink hue and 5 small petals. It can live for a very long time.

Shidazakura

著作権: Hideya Hamano (CC)

This weeping cherry tree is a great sight to behold and are typically hundreds of years old. Known for their unique drooping branches, Shidarezakura typically blooms from late March.

Kawazuzakura

Even up close, the blossoms amaze with their delicate beauty
Even up close, the blossoms amaze with their delicate beauty (著作権: Leslie Taylor / JT)

Kawazu cherry blossoms begin blooming earlier, last longer, and are graced with a vibrant pink hue – visit the Kawazu Sakura Festival in Izu for the best experience!

Yaezakura

Sakura at the Hiroshima Mint
Sakura at the Hiroshima Mint (著作権: GetHiroshima)

Large blossoms with intricate and multiple layers of petals make the yaezakura cherry blossom a unique spectacle, which begin to bloom from about mid-April each year. The Japan Mint branch in Hiroshima is one such place to witness them.

Edo-Higanzakura

<p>満開のエドヒガン</p>
満開のエドヒガン (著作権:Tomoko Kamishima)

Pale, small pink blossoms known for their dignified beauty. The Edo-higan trees bloom around the spring equinox on March 21st, and have a long life span up to 2,000 years. See them at Akasaka's Toyokawa Inari Temple in Tokyo.

Shibazakura

<p>入り口付近から撮影。どんな風景が待ち構えているのだろうか&hellip;。</p>
入り口付近から撮影。どんな風景が待ち構えているのだろうか…。 (著作権:Sayaka Saku)

Literally 'lawn cherry blossom', the Moss Pink/Phlox is not technically a cherry blossom variety but blooms around April/May and has a similar appearance to cherry blossom. Gunma's Misato Shiba-zakura Park comes alive each Spring when the Shibazakura are in bloom.

Kanhizakura

著作権: Wendy Cutler (CC)

More prominent in tropical climates such as Okinawa, the Kanhizakura cherry tree blooms fairly early with a distinctive dark pink/scarlet red bell-shaped flower.

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