Cherry Blossom: Where to see the bloom AND do your beauty haul shopping in Japan?

FOR many Asian skincare lovers, a trip to Japan isn’t just a holiday to Japan. A Japanese holiday would not be complete without a massive shopping haul of all of our favourite Japanese beauty items.

An added bonus is visiting during the cherry blossoms season, which famously begins in April and lasts for only about two weeks. It’s worth noting that in colder areas in northern Japan (Hokkaido and Tohoku region), the cherry blossoms season usually takes place later than the rest of the country.

Here are some places to view the beautiful blooming flowers. Read to the very end to find out where to go for your Japan beauty haul shopping!

Mount Yoshino, Nara Prefecture

With over 30,000 cherry trees in its vicinity, is it any wonder this is one of the most famous viewing spots in the country. The refreshing mountain air also encourages a huge crowd every year to this venue. For the best views, take an hour-long hike to the Hanayagura View Point. Be sure to explore centuries-old mountain temples and picnic at the Naka Senbon Park.

Best time to visit: April to early May

Himeji Castle, Himeji

This spectacular castle and its surrounding grounds have always been a crowd favourite. Come the sakura season, the beauty and appeal of the area is made even more enchanting by the sight of the blooming flowers. Photographs of the cherry blossoms against the white wooden walls of the castle will surely make all your social media friends green with envy.

Best time to visit: Early April

Maruyama Park, Kyoto

Famed for large weeping cherry trees, this public park is best visited in the evening during the sakura season. The lit up trees set the right mood for a nice stroll and people watching at the oldest park in Kyoto.

Best time to visit: Between late March and late April

Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo

If you are looking for something with a unique international flair while viewing the cherry blossoms, this stunning garden is the place to be. It combines elements of Japanese, English and French-style gardens. For those latecomers, the garden might also be your best bet at catching a glimpse of the bloom as many of the trees within the vicinity here are of the late blooming kinds.

Best time to visit: Early April

Kinosaki Onsen, Hyogo Prefecture

Imagine walking by a pristine stream as the gentle petals of sakura trees cascade down over your path. This romantic setting presided over the Kinosaki Onsen town which is home to the Otani River. In the evening, the trees are lit up, creating a sensuous pink glow throughout the area.

Best time to visit: Between late March and early April

Bonus: Where to shop for Japanese beauty products

Some top places to check out are Japanese drugstores such as Matsumoto Kiyoshi, Tsuruha and Sugi Drug Store. 

You might get lucky at convenience stores like 7-Eleven too, which carries its own beauty brands. Alternatively, head to discount stores like Don Quixote. Of course, let’s not forget departmental stores such as Takashimaya and Matsuya too!

If all else fails, there’s always your trusted online beauty retailers!