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Japan’s Cherry Blossom Season in Light of the Pandemic

Japan’s Cherry Blossom Season in Light of the Pandemic

posted: 2021-03-25 12:00:00 +0800

The pandemic has had a major effect on everyone’s lives and in so many industries and traditions. In Japan, spring is cherry blossom season of which viewing these flowers have become a major part of Japan’s culture, traditions, and economy. It is estimated that cherry blossoms bring in around 8.5 million tourists every year in Japan.

Cherry blossom viewing is known as hanami in Japanese, is a special time in Japan in which family and friends get together to view and share food and drink underneath the gorgeous blooms of the cherry blossom. In modern times it has also become a popular Instagram location. The blooming season varies depending on the weather and location in Japan, with the southern part of the country blooming around March to April with the northern part of the country blooming from around April to May.

2021 Cherry Blossom Predictions

In Tokyo, cherry blossoms started blooming around March 15, which is earlier than normal and due to the warmer weather. In 2020, the blooms in Tokyo started around March 14th, which was the earliest recorded bloom date. Other areas in Japan are blooming from mid to late March to early April.

COVID Restrictions and Cherry Blossom Viewing 2021

In 2020, the Japanese government banned viewing parties and events to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Now that a year has passed and cherry blossoms are now in season again, will the hanami rite return to Japan?

In January 2021, Japan declared a state of emergency as it saw a record number of COVID-19 cases. The lockdown was recently lifted on March 21, 2021, which is right around the cherry blossom season for most of the country, but the government is not taking any chances and has also cancelled most cherry blossom-related festivities, with parks and other cherry blossom areas being roped off from visitors. While you can’t gather in groups to view the flowers, they can still be viewed and admired from afar if you’re already in the country.

Cherry Blossom Alternatives

Since COVID-19 is still not quite under control, travel is still limited and discouraged. So how can you get your cherry blossom fix from home? Many flowers share the same awe-inspiring qualities of the cherry blossom and can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home or office.


Hydrangeas are colourful and fragrant flowers that grow in large pom shapes and are also popular flowers for viewing in Japan. The hydrangea growing season is usually in the summer and some of the best places to view hydrangeas there are in Kamakura or Mimurotoji, so something to consider adding to your travel bucket list when travel resumes.

Hydrangea Bouquet


Peonies are a wonderful spring flower that is immensely popular all across Asia. The flower grows in a large pom shape and comes in similar shades to the cherry blooms as well as in red and purple.


With its lacey and bunched appearance, the viburnum takes a similar shape to that of the cherry blossom and can grow in a similar white-pink hue. Alternatively, it also grows in a luscious shade of green.

This is a Hong Kong GGB original 'Japan’s Cherry Blossom Season in Light of the Pandemic ' blogpost.
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blog written by: # Danielle Roberts (105)
Danielle Roberts, Editor

Danielle is a Canadian freelance writer and ESL teacher who has called Hong Kong home since 2016.     > more...

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