Every spring, the world is gifted with the sight of cherry blossoms. In Japan, the tradition of cherry blossom season is known as hanami. But the centuries-old tradition extends beyond the shores of Japan, with many more cities across the world holding annual festivals celebrating the precious pink bloom.
From quintessential Kyoto to lesser-known Macon, Georgia, these are the 10 best cities in the world to see cherry blossoms and where to stay.
Named one of our most romantic cities in the world, Kyoto is heralded around the world for its cherry blossoms. While the trees can be viewed throughout Japan during spring, Kyoto is the most picturesque. To really see the blooms in action, visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace 85 or the Philosopher’s Path.
Little known fact: Macon is the cherry blossom capital of the world. With more than 300,000 trees, the city is practically awash in a baby pink. Its annual festival, ending in March, is earlier than most because of the warmer climate down south.
In 1998, 63 Japanese cherry trees were planted around one of most central parks, the Kungsträdgården (King’s Garden). 18 years later, the trees have become a can’t-miss sight in the Swedish capital every mid-to-late April.
In Seoul, the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival brings thousands of visitors to the city’s national assembly building. More than 1,600 cherry trees bloom along the Han River, in addition to nearly 90,000 flowers including azaleas, forsythias and spireas.
Some 30 cherry blossom trees will bloom in San Francisco’s Japantown. Happening at the same time is the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, which celebrates the city’s rich Japanese culture and heritage and draws over 200,000 visitors a year.
One of the many glorious aspects of springtime in Paris is the cherry blossoms along the Parc du Champ De Mars, an expansive green space at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondissement. On sunny days (a rarity in Paris), there’s no better place to while away an afternoon. Picnics are encouraged.
The capitol of Oregon was once known as Cherry City, a nod to the cherry orchards that once surrounded the valley town. Nowadays, the only remnant of Salem’s once-bustling cherry business is the double row of cherry trees outside of Oregon’s capitol building.