Chasing Blooms in Asia: Why are Cherry Blossoms significant?
As winter gives way to spring, most travelers look forward to witnessing the ephemeral beauty of the cherry blossoms. Lucky for us, we don’t need to travel far as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, countries best known for these pink blooms in spring, are just a few hours away from the Philippines by plane. Typically in full bloom around March to April, the flowers draw crowds from all over the world, however, aside from its beauty, what else do these pink flowers have and why is it worth dedicating an adventure?
IMAGE from Klook
While there are many varieties of cherry trees, it is best known as the tree that produces the cherry fruit or the cherry blossom. For over a century, the Japanese cultivated wild cherry trees not just for food, but also for aesthetics because of its breathtaking beauty. This paved the way to not only becoming the country’s national flower but as a symbol of harmony among Asian countries. Today, people from across Asia celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival in one way or another, depending on how their cultures were exposed to the iconic blossom.
When people think of Cherry Blossoms, Japan is the first thing that comes to mind. More popularly known as Sakura, the cherry blossoms not only signify the beginning of spring but also symbolizes the time for renewal. Due to the blossoms’ lifespan of roughly two weeks, the fast turnover rate is seen as the cycle of life and death.
Fujiyoshida, Japan Beautiful view of mountain Fuji and Chureito pagoda at sunset, japan in the spring with cherry blossoms
In Japan, the tradition of viewing and appreciating cherry blossoms is called Hanami, which literally means flower viewing. It has become a vital part of Japanese culture that Hanami has become the climax of celebrating the spring season. People far and wide flock where the flowers bloom to eat, drink, sing songs, and bond with loved ones while celebrating and embodying the essence of Hanami.
To appreciate the one-of-a-kind beauty of the cherry blossoms, popular attractions to take note of are a tour of Mt. Fuji with its picturesque 8 Ponds of Oshino Hakkai, and an experience around Gunma where one will witness the majestic Fukiware-no-taki Waterfalls.
The country expects to see its first cherry blossoms by March 29 in Tokyo and the latest bloom by May 2 in Sapporo. Three months to catch Japan in its signature sakura hue!
In South Korea, the cherry blossom was seen as a marker of Japanese culture but later evolved to symbolize purity and beauty. The pink petals are also often used in pop culture, particularly in Korean dramas where it represents true love.
Gyeongbokgung palace with cherry blossom tree in spring time in Seoul City of Korea, South Korea.
Unsurprisingly, cherry blossoms have found their way into one of South Korea’s best-known industries – skincare and beauty. Korean brand innisfree has an entire line of Jeju Cherry Blossom-infused products.
South Korea does not fall behind in terms of celebrations when it comes to the cherry blossom season. In the capital city of Seoul, one of the best areas to view the beautiful blooms is Yeouido Park where the cherry blossoms are seen against a backdrop of the calming Han River. Nearby is Yeouido Dock where Klook offers the Seoul Eland Hangang River Cruise, a scenic experience great for a relaxed bonding experience with friends and family around Seoul.
Outside of Seoul, cherry blossoms fans can also take a day trip to Gyeongju, a city in a coastal province just two hours away from Seoul via KTX. Gyeongju is also well known for holding an annual “cherry blossom marathon” where participants get to run through five kilometers along the lush rows of cherry trees. Travelers visiting Gyeongju for the cherry blossoms also get to experience the history and culture of South Korea, with five districts designated by UNESCO, including Seokguram and Bulguksa Temple as World Heritage Sites.
Seeing its first bloom on March 22 in Jeonju, admirers can expect to witness the pink season until April 5! Enough time to see the blossoming cherry trees in South Korea.
Just like South Korea, Taiwan has a shared history with Japan. Recognizing the beauty of the cherry blossoms, Taiwan started to plant these trees in various locales with the Beitou District even becoming a tourist favorite.
Interesting fact: while Taiwan isn’t as well associated with cherry blossoms as Japan, Taiwan turns pink much earlier than the latter. The cherry blossoms bloom in January and last for a good four months, giving both locals and tourists until April to appreciate the season.
The beautiflu sakura garden with nice sky in Taipei, Taiwan
A popular attraction in Taiwan during the cherry blossom season is a Glamping Experience in Hsinchu. Located in a campsite surrounded by mountains, tourists get to experience nature, away from the typical cityscape.
Having the earliest blooming sakuras in Southeast Asia, the blossoms have already unveiled themselves during the later part of January in Taipei and Nantou. Blooming across the entire country, the season will last until April 2023.
With a deeper understanding of what these elegant flowers mean to each country, don’t miss out on experiencing it firsthand. From sightseeing, indulging in different cultures, interacting with the locals, and joining in on the festivities, there is still so much more to do! Filipinos specifically, get to enjoy visa-free trips to Taiwan until July 31, 2023, making visiting cherry blossoms so much easier to plan for.
Explore what you can do Under the Pink Sky in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan with Klook this spring and score different deals and promos from February 15 until March 31!
For more information and to book your spring adventures, check out Klook’s website and download its app via the Apple Store or Google Play.