14 beautiful photos of Japanese cherry blossom in full bloom

Spring blossom isn't just a pretty sight in Japan: it's a national obsession. Every March and April, the entire country ventures outside to see the pink and white blooms – a symbol of new life – with picnics, parties, and festivals.

You won't just find cherry blossom (sakura) on the trees: it's in snacks, on souvenirs, and even sprinkled on Starbucks. The arrival of the blooms is forecast on television: a petal-by-petal analysis of the new season's arrival!

Here are some of the best places to see Japanese cherry blossom – and do a little hanami ('flower-watching') for yourself – or join our exclusive Woman & Home cherry blossom Japan holiday, departing in March 2019!

1.Osaka Castle during the spring season

2. Cherry blossom trees with Mt Fuji

3. To-ji pagoda with cherry blossom in Kyoto

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4. Yoshinoyama, in Nara Prefecture, during spring

5. Sakura at Chureito Pagoda

6. People take part in hanami ('flower-watching') picnics, under the blooms

Want to see Japan's cherry blossom for yourself? Join our exclusive Woman & Home Japan Holiday– a spectacular 12-day trip which transports you to all the best blossom spots, plus Tokyo & Mount Fuji, a thrilling bullet train journey, traditional tea ceremony, and 8-night cruise around Japan's stunning coastline. See the details (opens in new tab)

7. Just after sakura season, millions of pink Shibazakura flowers carpet the base of Mt. Fuji

8. The blooms last only a week before falling from the trees

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9.Cherry blossoms in Yoshino

10. Blooms at a temple in Kyoto

11. In Tokyo, the blossom is lit up at night

12. Himeji Castle in Hyōgo

13. Kiyomizu-dera shrine in Kyoto

Want to see Japan's cherry blossom for yourself? Join our exclusive Woman & Home Japan Holiday– a spectacular 12-day trip which transports you to all the best blossom spots, plus Tokyo & Mount Fuji, a thrilling bullet train journey, traditional tea ceremony, and 8-night cruise around Japan's stunning coastline. See the details (opens in new tab)

14. Tokyo's skyline peeps over the Japanese cherry blossom

All images from Alamy