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!
Nilufer Tea of the Month : Sakura Tea – The Kiss of Spring
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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*
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.
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.
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!
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)
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Look at our dried Sakura flower blooming beautifully in the water !
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)
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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.
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.
TASTE: A BLEND OF RELAXING FLAVOURS
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:
EXPERIENCE: TRY SAKURA TEA FOR YOURSELF
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)
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Until next "Tea of the Month", stay beautiful and enjoy this gorgeous picture of Sakura showers !