Lonely Planet Writer

Discover where and when you can see spring blossoms around the world

With spring on its way, there has been unseasonably warm weather in some parts of the world, meaning some travellers may have to move up their plans to catch the beautiful blossoms that are celebrated around the world.  

Cherry blossoms blooming in Washington DC.
Cherry blossoms blooming in Washington DC. Image by ©Hanlun Wu/500px

Washington DC is preparing for a potentially early start to its cherry blossom season – a yearly bloom celebrated with a festival that will be held this year between 20 March and 16 April. The earliest cherry tree bloom in the US capital was on 15 March, back in 1990, and the latest was on 18 April in 1958. The weather last week was about 20 degrees Fahrenheit above the average in Washington on some days, according to AccuWeather. According to the “cherry blossom watch” website, there are green buds on the trees, but the bloom has yet to begin. 

The National Parks Service attempts to predict when the flowers will open, but can only do so no less than 10 days in advance. The peak bloom date is the day when 70% of the blossoms on the Yoshino cherry trees are open, but with ever-changing weather conditions, predicting when that day will come is difficult. The NPS will update their website with the latest information on peak dates.

Huangling turns into a golden field of seasonal wonder as spring arrives.
Huangling turns into a golden field of seasonal wonder as spring arrives. Image by Wuyuan Rural Culture Development Co., Ltd.

In China, Jiangxi Province has seen its rapeseed flower bloom 20 days early near the village of Huangling. Usually blossoming in late March, the flowers are already turning bright yellow, and the local tourism authority is hoping travellers will take notice by offering helicopter rides over the fields.

Japan has released its fourth cherry blossom forecast of the year, and the latest predictions show that many spots will see their first blossoms open slightly ahead of the average year. Sapporo, Hokkaido currently forecasts blossoms on 2 May, while the average is 3 May. Tokyo’s bloom is predicted for 20 March, while the average year is 26 March. The 23 February forecast can be found here. For people who are already in Japan, Kawazu has already seen its trees painted pink, as the city is home to an early-blooming variety of tree.

Fuji and Cherry Blossom on lake Kawaguchiko.
Fuji and Cherry Blossom on lake Kawaguchiko. Image by ©apinunrin/Getty Images

Naturally, the variables can make it very difficult for trip planners to predict what the best dates are for heading to any of the locations known for their blooms – but a spring blossom’s ephemeral nature is part of what makes it so attractive to travellers. 

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