Cherry blossom season in Japan is generally between late March and early May, depending on the location and weather conditions. It is the time of year when the country transforms into a breathtaking ocean of pink and white.
As a Muslim traveller, you’ll want to make the most of this beautiful spectacle, but may have concerns about where to go and how to ensure that your halal preferences are met. That’s why we’ve put together this Muslim travel guide to finding the best cherry blossom views in Japan.
In this guide, we’ll share our top tips and recommendations for finding the best places to see the cherry blossoms, and exploring the unique culture of Japan during this special time of year alongside getting access to all the muslim-friendly aspects that the destinations have to offer. Whether you’re a seasoned tourist or a first-timer, this guide will be your key to experiencing the beauty of Japan’s cherry blossom season to the fullest.
Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots
1. Ueno Park, Tokyo
One of the most popular destinations for cherry blossom viewing is Ueno Park in Tokyo. The park is home to over 1,000 cherry trees and provides a spacious and relaxed atmosphere for picnicking, relaxing and viewing the cherry blossoms. Visitors to Ueno Park will find themselves surrounded by a sea of pink and white as the cherry trees come into full bloom.
The park is a wonderful destination for a variety of different activities such as simply strolling through the park, relaxing on the lawns, or having a picnic with friends and family. The park offers a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossom season in a peaceful and relaxed environment.
Moreover, Ueno Park is an ideal destination for Muslim travellers as it is conveniently located near several halal-friendly restaurants and food stalls.
2. Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, Nikko
Another destination for getting the best cherry blossom views is the temple complex of Shinshoji in Nikko, which boasts an array of beautiful cherry trees along its pathways and ponds. This serene and peaceful setting provides an opportunity to take in the stunning beauty of the cherry blossoms while exploring the historical and spiritual significance of the temple.
During the cherry blossom season, the temple is a truly breathtaking sight to behold, with many cherry trees coming into full bloom which provides an aesthetic backdrop to the temple’s traditional architecture.
Naritasan Shinshoji Temple is also an ideal destination for Muslim travellers, as it offers a range of halal-friendly food options and prayer facilities, providing a convenient and comfortable experience particularly for those observing the fast during the month of Ramadan.
One of the most popular halal-friendly restaurants in the area is the Halal Dosa Biryani, which offers a variety of Indian food blended with the Japanese cuisine, all certified halal. The restaurant’s menu features a range of dishes, including curries, stir-fry dishes, and biryani, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a satisfying and flavourful meal.
3. Meguro River, Tokyo
For tourists looking for more quiet and peaceful surroundings, the Meguro River in Tokyo is one of the city’s most tranquil and beautiful destinations, especially during the cherry blossom season. The river is lined with over 800 cherry trees, creating a breathtaking display of pink and white blooms that stretch for over four kilometres.
Visitors to Meguro River during the cherry blossom season can take a leisurely stroll along the river and admire the stunning displays of blooming cherry trees. The best time to visit is typically in late March or early April, when the cherry trees are in full bloom and the river is at its most vibrant giving a highly picturesque view of the cherry blossoms.
Moreover, there are again several halal-friendly dining options located near Meguro River in Tokyo, and one of the most popular halal-friendly restaurants in the area is the Grill Hunter, which offers a variety of Japanese and international dishes, all certified halal.
4. Himeji Castle, Himeji
The Himeji Castle, also known as the White Heron Castle, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most famous and beautiful castles in Japan. During the cherry blossom season, the castle is surrounded by a sea of pink and white cherry blossoms, providing a picturesque view of the castle and its grounds.
Visitors can stroll through the castle’s beautiful gardens and enjoy the sight of hundreds of cherry trees in full bloom. Furthermore, the castle is also an attractive destination for travellers interested in history and architecture.
In addition to the cherry blossoms, Himeji also offers a range of halal-friendly food options for Muslim travellers. One such restaurant is the “Fuku-tei” restaurant, which serves a variety of Japanese and halal-friendly dishes. The restaurant’s menu includes sushi, ramen, tempura, and other Japanese delicacies, all prepared with halal ingredients.
5. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Tokyo
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is another stunning destination to witness the beauty of cherry blossoms in Japan, located in the heart of Tokyo.The garden is home to over 1,000 cherry trees of different varieties, which bloom in a riot of colours during the cherry blossom season.
The Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a beautiful fusion of traditional Japanese and Western-style gardens, offering a unique blend of nature and art. The garden is not only popular for cherry blossom viewing, but also for its rich collection of seasonal flowers, beautiful landscapes, and serene atmosphere.
For Muslim travellers, the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is an ideal destination as it offers a range of halal-friendly food options and prayer facilities. The garden is located in the vicinity of several halal restaurants, including Potohar, which offers spicy and authentic Indian and Pakistani food bound to awaken your taste buds and is also certified halal.
6. Maruyama Park, Kyoto
Located in Kyoto, Maruyama Park is a popular destination for cherry blossom viewing and a must-visit spot for visitors to the city. The park is home to over 800 cherry trees, including the iconic weeping cherry trees, which offer a stunning spectacle during the cherry blossom season.
Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the park’s winding paths and marvel at the beautiful pink and white petals of the cherry blossoms. In addition to cherry blossom viewing, the park also features a picturesque pond and a variety of seasonal flowers and trees, making it a delightful destination for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.
Maruyama Park is also an excellent choice for Muslim travellers as it offers a range of halal-friendly food options and prayer facilities. The park is located near several halal restaurants, including the Istanbul Saray, which arguably offers the best Turkish food in town with its range of authentic Istanbul-styled kebab and pies, alongside a cosy and welcoming atmosphere.
Photography tips to capture the best of the cherry blossoms
For all the photographers and Instagrammers out there, capturing the true beauty of the cherry blossoms is a must. For that purpose, we have compiled a list of three very useful photography tips for tourists travelling to Japan for the cherry blossom season.
The best time of day: Light is the key to capturing stunning cherry blossom photos, and the best time of day to take them is in the morning or late afternoon, when the sun is low in the sky and the light is soft and warm. During this time, the shadows are longer and the blooms are lit up with a golden glow, making for some truly breathtaking photos.
Camera settings: When it comes to camera settings, it’s best to shoot in manual mode. This will allow you to adjust the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to get the perfect exposure for your photos. A slow shutter speed will capture the delicate movement of the cherry blossom petals, while a shallow depth of field will help you focus on the blooms while blurring out the background.
Techniques for capturing the beauty of the season: There are several techniques that you can use to capture the beauty of the cherry blossom season. For example, try shooting from different angles, including from above or at a low angle, to add visual interest to your photos.
Visiting Japan during the cherry blossom season is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and finding the best views of the blooms is a must-do for any traveller. With its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and abundant halal-friendly food options, Japan can be a very accommodating destination for Muslim travellers especially since the upcoming cherry blossom season will be coinciding with the holy Islamic month of Ramadan where Muslims observe fasting from dawn to sunset. With this guide on your bookmark, pack your bags, grab your camera, and head to Japan for a truly unforgettable experience!