Japan’s Sakura cherry trees to connect tourists through 16 stunning World Heritage sites
Japan’s world cultural heritage relay events want to connect its 16 UNESCO listed world heritage sites for international travellers
Admiring the cherry blossoms in Japan is considered to be a national pastime for most Japanese, with lively discussions about where and when to see the delicate flowers with their nuance of pink and white colours.
Cherry blossom is the flower from a Prunus tree, of which there are many different kinds. The blossoming trees, with their delicate colours and romantic atmosphere, are found throughout the world in regions with temperate climates, including Northeast and South Asia, northern and central Europe or northern America.
However, cherry tree blossom is an iconic image for Japan due to the high number of varieties and nationwide celebrations during the blooming season. As the buds burst open in parks and streets across the country, people throw picnic and hanami parties to appreciate the flowers beauty. Admiring and visiting sakura is also a way for the Japanese to welcome the warmer spring time.
As Japan goes from warm and tropical to a cooler, temperate climate across its various islands, hanami starts in Okinawa as early as mid January and last until mid-February. In the rest of Japan, sakura related festivals go on Kyushu island from the end of March to mid April, moving then to Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo all the month of April. The northern island of Hokkaido comes last. Flowering usually begins in the first week of May in the cities of Sapporo and Hakodate with full blossoming last until mid-May.
This is why the Nakijin Gusuku Castle Cherry Blossom Festival starts from February followed by Hashino Yaezakura Cherry Blossom Festival in Kamaishi in mid-May. This relay covers sixteen World Heritage sites as the cherry blossom front moves north over Japan.
16 Japan Heritage Sites unveiled for Sakura thematic
From the UNESCO listed 20 heritage sites supported by Japan’s world cultural heritage event relay, 16 have been selected, with Sakura being a common theme for tourists to visit and discover them. Kicking off with the Nakijin Gusuku Castle Cherry Blossom Festival from February, the event is stretching to Hashino Yaezakura Cherry Blossom Festival in Kamaishi in mid-May. A detailed calendar has been revealed providing information for potential travellers.
The 16 events are:
- The Gusuku Sites and related properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu Nakijin Gusuku Cherry Festival in early February
- Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: iron and steel, shipbuilding and coal mining in Hinamatsuri of Satsuma in March
- Hidden Christian sites in the Nagasaki Region, Hara castle from mid-March to early April
- Itsukushima Shinto shrine in Miyajima from late March to early April
- Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: iron and steel, shipbuilding and coal mining in Hagi from late March to early April
- Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its cultural landscape in Oda city from late March to early April
- Himeji-jo, Himeji cherry Festival in early April
- Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto with Nijyo castle cherry night in late March
- Sacred sites and pilgrimage routes in the Kii Mountain Range Light up event in Yoshino from early to late April
- Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration at Sengen Park Cherry Festival from late March to early April
- Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration at Fuji Kawaguchiko cherry Festival in early April
- Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: iron and steel, shipbuilding and coal mining, a light-up event in Nirayama in Izunokuni City in early April
- Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites, a Light up event in Tomioka Silk Mill in early April
- Shrines and temples of Nikko with Nikko sakura kaiyu from early to late April
- Hiraizumi , temples, gardens and archaeological sites representing the Buddhist Pure Land from mid-April to early May
- Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: iron and steel, shipbuilding and coal mining at Hashino Yaezakura Festival in Kamaishi City in mid-May