The spring season in Japan is perhaps the most celebrated. With Golden Week on the horizon, delicious Japanese spring food, exciting spring fashion, and, of course, the world-famous Sakura spring flowers in Japan – there’s a lot for us to enjoy during spring in Japan!
Spring Flowers in Japan
When it comes to the spring season in Japan, there is one thing on everyone’s mind and that is sakura. These iconic spring flowers in Japan begin to bloom in mid-January in Okinawa, then mid-March in Kyushu, traveling up through Honshu, blooming in late March and early April around Kansai and Tokyo, then the blooms finish up in Hokkaido in late April and early May.
Hanami parties are a popular way to enjoy the world-famous sakura spring flowers in Japan. Hanami (flower-viewing) can be celebrated socially by enjoying picnics or drinking under the sakura with friends and family. When you stroll around popular sakura spots you’ll likely find other people enjoying hanami!
Beyond sakura, there are a lot of other spring flowers in Japan! Any eager flower fans may want to go in search of ume (plum) trees just before the cherry blossoms bloom. These are the first blossoms of spring and look very similar to sakura.
Nemophila, also known as the Baby Blue Eyes flower, carpets grounds in Japan around mid-April and early May. Similar to the low-growing Nemophila, you can also find low-growing Creeping Phlox in April and May – so there are opportunities to see seas of both blue and pink flowers.
In late April and early May, you can find places that look like a fairy-tale setting thanks to gorgeous wisteria blooms. If you’d like to see some of these beautiful draping vine flowers, please have a look at our guide on the top wisteria spots in Japan.
During the spring season in Japan, also in late April and early May, there are a lot of tulip blooms around. As well as this, other blooms that can be found during spring in Japan include roses, poppies, and iris flowers.
Japanese Spring Food
The spring season in Japan brings about some delicious Japanese spring food. One of these is takenoko, also known as baby bamboo, or bamboo shoots. This culinary delight makes for delicious tempura, and for vegetarians and vegans, it makes a great meat substitute packed full of goodness – take note!
You can’t talk about Japanese spring food – or Japanese food at all for that matter – without talking about seafood. During the spring season in Japan, clams are in season and taste delicious. You can also find young sardines at this point in the year.
Ume, the plum fruit that comes from the trees with beautiful plum blossom, is a crucial Japanese spring food. Not only does ume turn into umeboshi, the sour pickled plum that makes a great snack whilst drinking, but it also makes umeshu, the sweet plum wine, which makes a tasty alcoholic drink!
As well as an array of Japanese spring food, there are so many Japanese spring snacks. One of these Japanese spring food snacks is the traditional Sakura mochi – a pink rice cake filled with anko, the red bean paste, and wrapped in a cherry blossom leaf.
Other snacks include ichigo daifuku – the rice cake with anko and a strawberry in between, and hanami dango. Please check out our post on sakura snacks and spring-themed food in Japan to see more Japanese spring food.
Golden Week (and Other Festivals)
Most people eagerly anticipate the arrival of Golden Week in Japan. Golden Week is a series of national holidays, making it one of the longest and most important holiday periods for people in Japan.
For those who may wonder, “How long is Golden Week?” , Golden Week begins on April 29th, with Showa Day. Next, Constitution Memorial Day is celebrated on May 3rd, followed up by Midori no hi (Green Day) on May 4th to celebrate nature, the environment, and plants. Finally, on May 5th comes Children’s Day, Kodomo no hi, celebrating young men. Children’s Day is the festival where carp streamers and banners are hung outside to give young boys and men strength.
Golden Week is a time when a lot of people go to visit relatives or go on family holidays to popular holiday destinations such as Okinawa. This means that traveling during Golden Week can be quite expensive since it is probably quite busy. However, this does depend on the destination! Some people find that Golden Week is a great time to visit large cities such as Tokyo since a lot of the residents leave to get out of the city for a week.
Other festivals to check out during the spring season in Japan include Hinamatsuri (Doll’s Festival) on March 3rd.
It can be hard to figure out spring fashion in Japan. Dressing during spring means dressing for unpredictable weather; there are very cold wintery days but they can easily change into warm sunny days, and there are usually a few rainy days scattered around during the spring months.
Spring fashion in Japan is usually very practical, so this means a lot of layering. Having thin clothing that you can add on and take off means that you can stay warm enough whilst still being able to move around freely and comfortably, rather than with bulky coats. Light trench coats are a staple of spring fashion in Japan.
Spring fashion in Japan always incorporates pastel colors. You can expect to see a lot of pistachio greens, baby pinks, light blues, and pale yellows, amongst more classic beige, off-white, and black tones. The pastels look great when you are celebrating hanami!
As the weather gets warmer you start to see more floaty spring dresses and flowy skirts and more t-shirts and lightweight trousers.
The weather forecast tends to be pretty predictable, so you’ll normally know if it’s going to rain. If it is, take an umbrella outside with you!
Hopefully, this guide helps you prepare for spring in Japan. It is one of the most precious times of the year in the country so we hope you can enjoy it!