Travel

Cherry Blossom Forecast (2019) – Sakura Bloom Dates, Last-Minute Flight Prices & More

cherry blossom sakura

Everyone loves Japan – and even more so during cherry blossom season. From soonest to latest, here is the 2019 sakura bloom date forecast.

 

Japan cherry blossom forecast 2019

City 2019 cherry blossom bloom dates
Kumamoto 26 Mar to 3 April 2019
Fukuoka 27 Mar to 4 April 2019
Tokyo 29 Mar to 6 April 2019
Matsuyama 30 Mar to 7 April 2019
Hiroshima 30 Mar to 7 April 2019
Nagoya 30 Mar to 7 April 2019
Osaka 31 Mar to 8 April 2019
Kyoto 31 Mar to 8 April 2019
Kanazawa 5 to 13 April 2019
Fukushima 10 to 18 April 2019
Sendai 14 to 22 April 2019
Hakodate 2 to 9 May 2019
Sapporo 5 to 12 May 2019

The above-listed are the “best viewing dates”, and you’ll notice that the window to catch these blossoms at their best is only about 8 to 9 days. The flowers’ actual opening dates (when they first start to bloom) is about a week before, so the full blooming season is actually about 2 weeks.

The sakura trees also bloom upwards from the southern cities, which is why Kumamoto will turn pink by March while the northernmost Sapporo will only begin blooming in May.

 

How much are flights to Japan during cherry blossom season?

You’re probably thinking – it’s way too late to plan a hanami holiday, right? Wrong! If you’re not fussy about the airline and are willing to make 1 to 2 stops on your flight there, tickets to Japan are actually still quite affordable.

City Cheapest direct flight Cheapest flight (1 to 2 stops)
Osaka $721 via Scoot $481 via Jetstar (1 stop in Hong Kong)
Kyoto $721 via Scoot $780 via All Nippon Airways

(airport transfer NRT to HND)

Tokyo $782 via Delta Air Lines   $490 via Scoot (1 stop in Bangkok)
Hiroshima $953 via SilkAir $696 via China Airlines (1 stop in Taiwan)
Fukuoka $1,852 via Singapore Airlines $562 via Philippine Airlines (1 stop at Manila)
Nagoya $3,402 via Singapore Airlines $574 via Philippine Airlines & ANA (1 stop in Manila)
Sapporo $553 via Thai AirAsia (1 stop in Bangkok)
Kanazawa $556 via China Eastern (1 stop in Shanghai)
Matsuyama $563 via China Eastern (overnight stop in Shanghai)
Hakodate $828 via EVA Air and All Nippon Airways (overnight stop in Taiwan)
Fukushima $863 via All Nippon Airways (2 stops in Tokyo and Osaka)
Sendai $873 via All Nippon Airways (2 stops in Tokyo and Osaka)
Kumamoto $1,222 via Japan Airlines (1 stop at HND)

For direct flights, you’re limited to the more mainstream cities of Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Fukuoka and Nagoya.

Tickets are in the $700 to $800 range for budget carriers, which is really expensive. If you had booked (say, 6 months) earlier, you could be flying SQ for the same price.

Osaka seems the cheapest city to fly to, especially if you don’t mind a stopover in Hong Kong ($481, JetStar). Or else, if you want to head to the Tokyo like everybody else, consider flying Scoot with a stopover in Bangkok ($490).

I wanted very much to say that the more indie cities are cheaper, but they are actually more expensive. Flying directly to Nagoya via Singapore Airlines will set you back over $3k, which is nuts.

You’re better off zipping to Tokyo or Osaka, and then taking a bullet train over.

 

How much do flights to Japan usually cost?

It would seem that the air fares to Tokyo don’t actually fluctuate as much as you might think.

According to KAYAK, direct flights are typically priced between $618 to $763. So if you’re thinking of booking a holiday to Tokyo, don’t worry too much.

If you’re eyeing the Kansai region, however, that’s a different story. Airfares to Osaka can go under $550 during low months (May to July), and can hit as high as $726 in December.

March and April are next most expensive months, averaging $629 per ticket.

It’s even more drastic for Hiroshima: tickets usually hover around $500 to $600+, but reach up to $900+ during spring.

 

What about hotel prices in Japan?

There are many accommodation options in Japan – from cheap dormitories and capsule hotels to fancy ryokans with hot springs.

Accommodation Price per night
Dormitory $20 to $30
Capsule hotel $40 to $60
Budget hotel (3-star & below) $100 to $200+
Fancy hotel (4-star & up) $250 to $300+
Ryokan $250 & up

During peak periods – which include the cherry blossom season – prices typically go up by $30 to $50 per night, but can sometimes even double.

For instance, at E Hotel Higashi Shinjuku, the room rate is $206 per night for the peak cherry blossom season now (29 Mar to 5 Apr) but $120 in July (12 to 19 Jul).

 

Considering the price hike for air fares to during sakura season, would you still travel to Japan to go cherry blossom-spotting? Tell us in the comments below. 

 

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