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Mention cherry blossoms and the first thing that comes to mind would probably be the vision of a sea of vibrant pink sakura blossoms in Japan during springtime or hanami. Come spring each year, thousands flock from all over the world to Japan to soak in the breathtaking sights of the numerous cherry blossom trees in their full bloom.

Fret not if you’ve missed the cherry blossom season this year, there’s always the next to look forward to! And to help you out, here’s a handy-dandy guide on estimated dates of cherry blossom blooming to help plan your next spring vacation to Japan!

Related articles: 
Nilufer Tea of the Month : Sakura Tea – The Kiss of Spring
Amazing and Wholesome Benefits of Sakura Tea For You Inside Out
Not Just Green Tea: 8 Well-Known Japanese Teas

Tokyo: 17 March to 1 April


Ah, Tokyo, the beloved capital of bustling Japan. It’s no surprise that this city is a top favourite amongst locals and tourists alike when hanami season draws near. Just imagine getting even better photos of already beautiful landscapes when you frame countless sakura blossoms in your photographs! A spring holiday to Tokyo will definitely be something you’ll never forget.

Our advice? Pack a picnic bento lunch (you can get them from the countless convenience stores scattered around the city), grab your picnic mat and enjoy your meal with the view at Yoyogi Park or Ueno Park. For those looking for a more Instagram-worthy shot, make a beeline to Meguro River to marvel at the trees bursting with soft fluffy sakura blooms flanking either side of the river. Simply gorgeous!

Best places to view: Tokyo Imperial Palace, Shinjuku Gyo-en, Ueno Park, Meguro River, Yoyogi Park

Kyoto: 22 March to 3 April

What’s there in Kyoto besides the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, you ask? Well, besides being one of Japan’s cultural hotspots, Kyoto is also another crowd favourite when it comes to sakura chasing. Dotted with vibrant imperial temples and shinto shrines, Kyoto just becomes even more gorgeous come spring, when the pale pink flowers grace the temples and its sublime gardens.

For postcard-perfect views, take a stroll through Maruyama Park or down the banks of Kamo River. And to be honest, nearly every pagoda, shrine and temple will look ten times more gorgeous in the spring — so make sure to take out those cameras and make them work hard!

Best places to view: Maruyama Park, Ninna-ji Temple Pagoda, Kamo River, Arashiyama Forest, Hirano Shrine

Fukuoka: 19 March to 2 April

Located on the island of Kyushu, the city of Fukuoka is an underrated gem that many skip over when planning for a holiday to Japan. For those who prefer something less touristy and perhaps with a little less crowd (we can’t promise this, though! People do flock to all parts of Japan to soak in the gorgeous sights), Fukuoka is just the place. Besides boasting a massive shopping mall (Canal City) and other landmarks like the Fukuoka Castle, Fukuoka also has beaches and temples that will transform into even more splendid sights when the sakura flowers bloom.

After taking in the glorious sights of Fukuoka Castle in Maizuru Park, continue your sakura chase as you visit the other parks like Nishi Park and Uminonakamichi Park.

Best places to view: Fukuoka Dam, Fukuoka Castle (Maizuru Park), Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, Nishi Park, Atago Shrine

Osaka: 20 March to 2 April

Besides being an absolute food haven, Osaka has multiple landmarks to cater to all sorts of tourists such as the Osaka Castle for history-lovers and Universal Studios Japan for some family fun. If you’re looking to bring your entire family with you on your sakura hunt, then Osaka is definitely at the top on our list of recommendations.

For top-notch views, a stroll through Osaka Castle Park will not disappoint. Get ready to see cherry blossom trees in full splendour on the castle grounds, and snap that beautiful shot of the iconic castle nestled amongst the clusters of baby pink flowers. The Mint Museum in Osaka is another good place to admire the sakura. It has its own dedicated cherry tree garden that comes to life during the spring. The entry fee to the museum covers entry to the garden too, so you get to learn more about the various coins and medals around Japan before getting to enjoy one of the best sakura views in Osaka!

Best places to view: Osaka Castle, Osaka Castle Park, Expo Commemorative Park, Mint Museum, Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park

Nagoya: 19 March to 2 April

Although it is not as popular as Tokyo or Osaka, Nagoya makes for a pretty sight when spring arrives. As one of Japan’s main industrial centres, you will actually be surprised to find out that there is loads to see and do in this city. From edo-era temples, to shopping arcades and all sorts of art and science museums, Nagoya has it all. And of course, don’t forget the Nagoya Castle, which becomes a truly spectacular sight during the cherry blossom season.

Other notable places to catch the sakura show include Yamazakigawa Riverside where you’ll get to admire the blooming cherry trees and flowering boughs framing a glistening river. A marvellous sight indeed!

Best places to view: Nagoya Castle, Yamazakigawa Riverside, Nagoya Peace Park, Inuyama Castle, Tsuruma Park

Sapporo: 26 April to 3 May

Nestled high up in the mountainous region of Hokkaido lies this gem of a city — Sapporo, which is popular for its annual Sapporo Snow Festival, and of course, the Sapporo Beer Museum.

That aside, did you know that Sapporo gets equally stunning as Tokyo or Kyoto when spring nears? Places like Maruyama Park and Hokkaido Shrine and Odori Park start to fill up with tourists and locals alike, looking for a nice spot to sit down and enjoy the beautiful sight of the flowering cherry trees around the area. How about renting a little boat and rowing it out to enjoy the view from a different perspective? Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?

Best places to view: Nakajima Park, Moerenuma Park, Maruyama Park, Hokkaido Shrine, Odori Park

Matsumoto: 1 April to 9 April

We aren’t lying when we say that Matsumoto city is one of Japan’s best kept secrets. For those who sorely need to escape the crazy crowds, this is the place to go! Located in the scenic region of Nagano, which is famous for its spectacularly picturesque landscapes such as that of Lake Kamikochi and Mt Hotakadake.

Soak in the hanami season (sans the ridiculous crowd) at Koboyama Park or by the banks of Susuki River. Matsumoto Castle is also another famous spot to hit. Known as the ‘Crow Castle’ due to its black lacquer panelled walls, this area surely makes for a great picture-perfect moment as the sakura flowers seem to embellish the castle during spring.

Best places to view: Matsumoto Castle, Koboyama Park, Mt. Kobo, Susuki River, Alps Park

Nara: 24 March to 3 April

Mention Nara and most people will probably think of the super adorable and friendly deer that roam freely in Nara Park. However when spring rolls in, Nara is so much more than just a cosy animal encounter and feeding session with the deer!

Bask in the sensational floral display from above at the viewing platforms from Mt Yoshino, or simply just visit temples such as the Hase-dera or Butsuryu Temple, which will definitely give you an extra dose of hanami lovin’ for your Instagram feed.

Best places to view: Mt. Yoshino, Nara Park, Himuro Shrine, Hase-dera Temple, Butsuryu-ji Temple

And there you have it! Make sure to plan your holiday to coincide with these timings for the best chance of catching those pretty pink and white flowers in their full splendour!

Good luck and enjoy!

Note: Dates are rough estimates based on the year before. Blooming season ultimately depends on weather conditions and other external factors.

Nilufer tea is an organic herbal tea that originates from Japan. A popular destination for tourists worldwide, Japan is located in Eastern Asia and renowned for its exquisite food and cuisine, gorgeous scenery (cherry blossoms!!!) and fascinating culture. Speaking of culture, tea is an important factor in Japanese culture, and so is their traditional tea ceremony. Not a lot of people know the inner workings of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony so if you would like to learn something new today; you’ve come to the right place!

Related articles: 
Nilufer Tea of the Month : Sakura Tea – The Kiss of Spring
Amazing and Wholesome Benefits of Sakura Tea For You Inside Out
Not Just Green Tea: 8 Well-Known Japanese Teas

Japanese Tea Ceremony (The Way of Tea/ Chanoyu / Sado)

The ceremony is a ritual of preparing and presenting matcha – powdered Japanese green tea – along with traditional Japanese sweets to balance with the bitter taste of the tea. It is an integral part of Japanese culture and it has been for centuries. It is a quiet celebration performed with grace and beauty, and emphasis is placed on pouring all one's attention into the predefined movements because the aesthetics of the ceremony are very important. The host of the ceremony always hold guest in a high regard, as demonstrated from their graceful and thoughtful gestures. Even the tea utensils are placed in a strategic position that allows the guests to have a good vantage point, especially the main guests (Shokyaku).

Tea ceremony procedure

A full ceremony consists of starts with a kaiseki course meal, is followed by a bowl of thick tea and ends with a bowl of thin tea. However, most tea ceremonies these days are limited to the enjoyment of a bowl of thin tea. Before the ceremony begins, guests gather in a special room known as a machiai. Guests will walk across a dew-covered ground which is a ritual to symbolise the removal of dust from one’s feet and the world. To further purify themselves for the ceremony, guests are required to wash their hands and mouths using clean water from a stone basin. Once these purification rites finish, the host greets each guest with a silent bow as they enter the tea ceremony site. Depending on how formal the ceremony is, small sweets or even a three-course meal may now be served prior to the tea being poured. Next, the host will prepare the utensils for the pouring, ensuring that each utensil is completely clean and flawless. The required equipment consists of the tea whisk, the container for the tea powder, tea scoop, tea bowl, sweet container, tea brazier and a kettle. Each equipment has a specific circumstance and position. (Arrangement is vital in the ceremony)

Guest etiquette

A small ceremony usually consists of 4-5 guests and each are ranked in order of importance. The first and main guest is the Shokyaku and all guests have specific duties to perform based on their rank. The Shokyaku is the one that asks questions and always in a polite manner. Usually when a guest wishes to move a bowl, both hands must be used because it is politer. The Shokyaku is in charge of leading the rest of the guests, he always apologises and bows for drinking first and will pick up the Chawan and place it in front of his knees, bow to the Teishu and say: "Otemae chodai itashimasu".

Tea ceremony expressions

Traditional ceremonies are conducted in Japanese regardless of the native languages of the guests. The Shokyaku and the host should know the important expressions required of the ceremony so they can communicate with each other. During the tea ceremony, there are few words exchanged, and only essential questions are asked. Both the host and the guests refrain from talking about topics unrelated to the tea ceremony to make the gathering more formal and special. Here are a few examples of common expressions:

Why is this ceremony important?

The traditional Japanese tea ceremony is a living symbol of peace, harmony and happiness. It promotes social interaction and interpersonal bonding, and provides an occasion for everyone to relax and enjoy themselves away from the worries of the outside world.

It is also a means for guests to gain a greater appreciation for traditional Japanese matcha.

Image cred: pixabay

Difference between matcha powder tea and loose green tea leaves

The tea used in tea ceremonies are match powder teas and these are high quality tea that contains up to 15 times more nutrients than loose leaf green tea. Matcha powder is ground tea leaves so you get the benefits of the whole tea leaf’s nutrients and vitamins. In comparison, in regular brewed green tea leaves, its nutrients and vitamins are left behind in the tea leaf because they are not consumed and thrown away.

Dress Code for the tea ceremony

For all formal and traditional ceremonies, you must wear a formal kimono for the ceremony unless the host tells you otherwise. The reason for this is because many of the movements in the ceremony are choreographed to adapt to the kimono. Some examples of such movements include the rituals for straightening the kimono, and tucking silk cloths and fans into the breast of a kimono. Kimono colors also differ with gender; men wear more subdued and mute colors while women wear brighter colors.

Tea room decorations

The tea room adopts a minimalistic style and keeps everything simple and basic. At its core, there must be a tatami flooring (as per tradition), flower arrangement (chabana) and sometimes a hanging scroll (kakejiku). A chabana arrangement is a simple arrangement of seasonal flowers placed in a container. They typically comprise few items, they are so simple that most of the time no more than a single blossom is used; this blossom will invariably lean towards or face the guests.


Sakura tea (Sakurayu), or also commonly known as Cherry Blossom tea, originates from non other than the beautiful Japan. Although Sakura flowers are commonly associated with Japan alone, they can also be found in other countries in Asia like Korea and China. Wherever there is sakura, there is bound to be a whole lot of tourists, making those areas popular tourist attractions each spring. And it really is no surprise, because no one can dispute the beauty of these gorgeous pink blooms.

Image cred: pixabay

Sakura tea is a Japanese infusion that is created by steeping pickled cherry blossom flowers in boiled water. The cherry blossom flowers are prepared by being pickled in plum vinegar and salt, and they are then left to dry before being steeped in water to create the perfect Sakura tea. The resulting Sakura tea is a beautiful pink clear herbal tea that tastes slightly salty but also has a subtle hint of earthy and flowery notes. Besides being incredibly aesthetically pleasing, Sakura tea has numerous health benefits as well.

1. Anti-Ageing properties

Sakura tea has a high concentration of polyphenol anti-oxidants that are known to fight free radicals that damage DNA causing premature aging. By drinking Sakura tea, there will be less free radicals in your body, and this will slow down the aging process by combating lines, wrinkles and skin dullness. It can help you age gracefully and give you brighter skin and clearer complexion.

2. Anti-inflammatory

If you constantly battle with skin problems like redness, irritation and inflammation, LOOK NO FURTHER! Sakura tea contains nutrients that prevent the production of nitric oxide, which is one of the base cellular chemical compound that causes and aggravates skin inflammation. We all know that the perfect concealer from Sephora covers up the blemishes perfectly, but wouldn’t you rather tackle the root cause? Just think of all the money and time you’d save!

Image cred: Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Sakura tea can also help to lighten uneven skin pigmentation that is caused by sun exposure by inhibiting the production of melanin. It also cleanses the skin of toxins to leave your skin bright, healthy and happy.

3. Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases

Much like other teas, the nutrients like flavones found in Sakura tea can help reduce the risk for heart disease. It lowers your LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol) and keeps your heart healthy and safe from cardiovascular diseases.

4. Beautifying benefits

Sakura tea is rich in antioxidants which reduces the body’s free radicals. By doing so, it reduces acne, minimizes puffiness, reduces your dark eye circles and keeps your face silky smooth like a baby’s butt.

The antioxidants also stimulate healthy hair growth, reduce dandruff, add shine and give you softer and better moisturised hair. It’ll be like you are in a hair commercial whenever you swish your hair *everything is in slo-mo*

5. Whitens and protects your teeth

Image cred: Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Tannins in our food are what causes stains and these make our teeth appear yellower (sobs). A protein found in tea will create a natural chemical barrier that protects your teeth from discoloration. Combine this with your regular tooth brushing habits and you’ll regain those pearly whites in no time! Also, tea can change the pH in your mouth and that may be the key to preventing cavities from forming. It also does not erode your tooth enamel (protective coat) unlike other beverages.

6. It is low in calories

If you do not add any sweeteners or sugar substitutes to your Sakura tea, it is virtually calorie free - which is great news for those seeking to lose weight or simply to manage their weight better. We really understand the woes of the weight loss journey, and sometimes water just won’t satisfy that craving for any sort of flavour you might have. Sakura tea is a very good and healthy substitute, for it has subtle salty and flowery notes that dance on your tongue! You could always add fruit slices to snazz it up a little and ultimately, you will feel refreshed and energized.

7. Other health benefits

The benefits of Sakura tea are endless, it might lead you to believe that it is a miracle drink. It reduces the risk of stroke, cancer, mental illnesses, improve the immune system, lower blood pressure, and protects your vision. However, please be advised that tea is not a substitute for medicine, it merely complements it to speed up your healing process and provides your body with the nourishment it needs.

Fancy yourself a cup of Sakura tea? Nilufer Tea is releasing the new tea: Sakura tea. Catch a taste of spring and experience flowers dancing in your mouth with this new and beautiful tea. Feel fancy and healthy with just a sip and you definitely won't regret it!

Nilüfer Tea's New "Sakura Tea"($12)

Image Credit 100% @ Nilufer Tea

The term ‘April showers’ has never been so relevant when you think about the annual bloom of sakura, or cherry blossom in the English language. Although it only blooms in particular countries such as Japan and Korea, the beauty of the small delicate pink flowers has become so widely popular that many travel from all over the world simply to witness the Sakura showers.

The Sakura disappears from our sight in 2-3 weeks until next year’s blooming. How then, do we remember it? How might we pay complete and truthful homage to the bloom that has mesmerised the world? Driven by this idea, our tea herbalists at Nilufer Tea have come up with a commemorative way to keep and honor our memory of this beautiful flower.

Sakura Tea - The Kiss of Spring ($12)
contact us at info@nilufertea.com

Look at our dried Sakura flower blooming beautifully in the water !

Image Credit  - 100% @ Nilufer Tea

Sakura Flower Petal is Edible

Sakura mochi and salted sakua tea have been consumed in Japan for a long time, and may even be a traditional food in Japan. Salted sakura tea is more likely considered as an old wives' remedy to stop coughing thanks to its anti inflammatory component.  * Sakura Flower used in Nilufer Tea is non salted.


Sakura Tea - The Kiss of Spring ($12)
contact us at info@nilufertea.com

Benefits of Sakura Tea 

Anti- Aging
If one pays no mind to diet and lifestyle, one will find that they quickly develop dark circles, a saggy chin and a dull complexion. Little do people know – one of the main culprits of aging is  the consumption of processed sugar, which easily ruins your complexion and youth!
Targeting this problem, our tea reduces the production of excess sugar in your body by preventing protein from combining with sugars in your body. Left unchecked, these glycated proteins, or Advanced Glycation-End (AGE) products, cause protein fibres in our skin to become stiff and result in dull complexions. In serious cases, AGEs can also lead to the further deterioration of diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
As such, with Sakura tea, a supple complexion is not the only thing to look forward to. It also further strengthens your immune system against degenerative diseases!
Repair Skin Natural Barriers 
Not only does it safeguard your youth, Sakura tea also retains the moisture in your skin. Save yourself the splash of water to your face every night, as Sakura tea will do the trick – from the inside out!
It is particularly recommended for those with dry skin.
Improve Skin Elasticity 
As you know, Sakura tea inhibits the accumulation of AGE products, which is damaging to the fibroblast in our skin – a cell in connective tissue that produces collagen and other fibres.
In these many ways, Sakura tea is extremely beneficial to one’s health, and helps contribute to your youthfulness even as you grow older.

Two Types of Sakura in Nilüfer Tea

Of 200 available varieties of sakura in the world, Nilufer has handpicked two to include in this special tea: the single petal sakura, and the layered petal sakura.

Using the best of our expertise, we have put together a delicate balance of flavours using natural ingredients that are bound to heal your soul.

For your quick reference, here is the ingredient list:


Sakura Tea – The Kiss of Spring not only pays true homage to the cultural icon of sakura, it is carefully crafted by our best herbalists at Nilufer Tea to delight your tastebuds and improve your quality of life. For any tea lover, this is a must-try!

Sakura Tea - The Kiss of Spring ($12)
contact us at info@nilufertea.com

Subscribe for "Tea of the Month" 

We will be running a "Tea of the Month" every month so that you can enjoy the unique seasonal flavours. What will the special ingredient be? Are you curious? Are you excited? Because we sure are! Register with us from here and we will keep you updated.

Until next "Tea of the Month", stay beautiful and enjoy this gorgeous picture of Sakura showers !

When one think of Japan, the names of big cities come to mind, such as Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. As more people become more well-travelled, they are starting to take interest in less well-known areas, and one of them is Setouchi.

Setouchi consist of various islands located along the coastline. With a rich history and fascinating landmarks, it has become one of the more visited areas in Japan.  While every main attraction is a highlight that vividly shows Setouchi’s uniqueness, these are the 5 reasons why you must definitely visit this region:

Miyajima Island

If you are an avid user of Instagram, you would have realized that many people have been posting photos and pictures with a seemingly floating shrine. This place is no other than Miyajima Island! The grand red shrine that you have been seeing so often in photos is the Itsukushima-jinja Shrine which is a revered a World Heritage site.

At high tide, the shrine seems to be standing on waters, raising questions and creating a shroud of mystery. But in fact, the waters covering the bottom of the pillars create this illusion. It is at low tide where you would be able to see the strong foundations that have been supporting the grand structure for decades.

Besides being an Instagram-worthy addition to your collection of photos, the shrine is also said to bless those who make offerings to the God that resides there. Folktale or not, it has definitely not stopped anyone from wishing and making offerings at the shrine.

Amazing Free HQ Images

1 Chome-7 Dōgomachi, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime-ken 790-0843, Japan
How to get there
From Hiroshima Station, take the JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station. Then, take the ferry from Miyajimaguchi to Miyajima Pier.
Entry Fees

Dōgo Onsen

Located in the east of Matsuyama, Dōgo Onsen is one of the most famous hot springs in Japan. This could be partly due to the fact that it was the inspiration for the hot spring setting in the movie Spirited Away.

Image cred: nice-moves.com

The hot spring takes on the appearance of a Meiji Period wooden public bathroom that has existed for more than 100 years! If you are in the area, you definitely shouldn’t miss a trip to Dōgo Onsen.

Address  1 Chome-7 Dōgomachi, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime-ken 790-0843, Japan
Opening hours   6:00 to 23:00
How to get there From Matsuyama Airport, there is bus to Dōgo Onsen.
You can also take the train from Okayama Station to Matsuyama Station,
then change to the train to head towards Dōgo Onsen Station.
Entry Fees  410 to 1550 yen
Website http://www.dogo.or.jp/pc/

Taishaku Valley

Spanning 15 kilometers, Taishaku Valley is arguably one of the most beautiful places in Japan. It includes massive hills and majestic flowing waters which lends to the magnificent view and scenery that one can discover. If you come here in autumn, you can witness the bright red and orange leaves floating gracefully in the air. You don’t have to go too far to see a beautiful autumn.

While every stone, rock and structure are nature’s gift by itself, the most prized possession is possibly the On-bashi Bridge. It is 90 metres long, 19 metres wide and 40 metres high! And the most amazing of all is that having made of limestone, it is an all-natural bridge. With its size, it is easily one of the three largest bridge in the world.

Address  Jinsekikogen, Jinseki District, Hiroshima Prefecture 729-3602, Japan
Opening hours  All day, but some facilities and activities may have fixed hours
How to get there By Shinkansen, take the railway system Shin-Osaka to Okayama.
Entry Fees  No entry fee but you would have to pay for other activities such as entering the caves (¥250)
Website http://taishakukyo.com/

Tahoto Tower

Tahoto Tower, or some call it Tahoto Pagoda, is a beautiful red-lacquered structure that stands on high ground, overlooking almost the whole of Miyajima. Its history dates back to the 15th century and was built by the powerful Abo clan in that era. Even if its history bores you, the place wouldn’t disappoint. Although you can’t enter the pagoda, the surroundings offer a great view of the island and of Itsukushima Shrine. It is particularly beautiful in spring as light pink flowers shower the place with its beauty.

Address  70-2 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture 739-0588, Japan
Opening hours  All day
How to get there  Travel by foot or by taxi from Miyajima Pier
Entry Fees  Nil (No entry into the tower)
Website http://visithiroshima.net/things_to_do/attractions/shrines_and_temples/tahoto_pagoda.html

Setouchi Triennale

While not a location or area, the Setouchi Triennale is something that all art lovers should come to Setouchi for. Started in 2010, it is a contemporary art festival that you shouldn’t miss, because if you do, you have to wait another 3 years for it. The festival showcases the pieces and products from people across different islands and also from overseas, each with their own unique sense of style and art. With the aim of revitalizing the life and population in the region, the Setouchi Triennale certainly succeeded in its original intention.

Address  Changed every event and held at various places
Opening hours  Depends on the year
How to get there  Depends on the location of the art festival
Entry Fees  May subject to change
Website http://setouchi-artfest.jp/en/

While Setouchi is not yet as much visited as the bigger cities, it definitely has the potential to climb to the top. Already, the region has been gaining popularity due to various locations, and it is only a matter of time Setouchi becomes one of the top tourist attraction of Japan. While locations are key in rejuvenating the area, at the end of the day, it all comes down to the warmth and hospitality offered to those who visit Setouchi.

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