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spring flowers

Spring Flowers in February and May? The Ultimate Guide!

James Lau

James Lau

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One of many spring flowers in Okinawa.

Welcome to a beautiful flower show that is unlike any other! In this ultimate guide, we’re looking into the extraordinary bloom of spring flowers in Okinawa as early as February and Hokkaido’s later bloom in May! These flowers show up before and after the rest of Japan, making them special and unique!

As winter goes away, Japan transforms into a beautiful range of colors and a one-of-a-kind floral show! Forget what you know about when the cherry blossoms are going to bloom! Two Japanese prefectures, Okinawa and Hokkaido, use their yearly temperatures to create unique springtime flower shows!

Okinawa

Okinawa Prefecture in the south of Japan has over 160 islands. Located in the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, these islands extend over 1,000 kilometers. With a population of approximately 1.4 million, Naha is the capital, having once been the capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Moreover, the unique dialect makes it different from standard Japanese, and the prefecture is home to eleven cities, eleven towns, and nineteen villages.

A beach in Okinawa.
Okinawa is Japan’s tropical paradise. Image via Shutterstock

Okinawa offers many destinations all around Naha, all of them easy to travel to by airplane, car, bus, and boat! The region enjoys a warm climate, with temperatures around 29 degrees Celsius in July and 17 degrees Celsius in January. While a short rainy season happens from May to June, typhoons are often seen in August and September. Winter cools down the islands, but Okinawa slowly warms up from March!

What cherry blossoms grow in Okinawa?

Okinawa has some of the earliest cherry blossoms in Japan. The region has unique cherry tree varieties that aren’t seen in the rest of Japan. It’s famous for the hikanzakura, or the Ryukyu kanhizakura. Known for its bell-shaped flowers, the hikanzakura blossoms are dark pink, unlike the pale pink and almost white Yoshino cherry petals on the mainland. Hikanzakura flowers fall as a whole to the ground, creating a carpet of pink under the trees.

Spring flowers in Okinawa.
Okinawa cherry blossoms bloom in February. Image via Shutterstock

The island has many scenic locations, such as Yogi Park and Nakijin Castle Site in Nago City, offering beautiful views of blossoms against nature and historical ruins. Nakijin Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for its stone walls covered in pink blossoms. For a 360-degree cherry blossom experience, driving up Mt. Yae will show you a landscape with over 7,000 cherry trees!

Are you looking for amazing snacks while enjoying cherry blossoms from Hokkaido to Okinawa? Check out Sakuraco! Sakuraco delivers traditional Japanese snacks, teas, and sweets from local Japanese makers directly to your door so you can enjoy the latest delicacies directly from Japan!

Hokkaido

Hokkaido, Japan’s most northern island, is known for its stunning wilderness, snow, seafood, and indigenous culture. Just a short flight from Tokyo, it is a great place to visit for all seasons! Winter transforms Hokkaido into a skiing and snowboarding paradise with excellent powder snow and famous resorts like Niseko, Rusutsu, and Furano. Sapporo is famous for its beer, ramen, and Snow Festival, while Hakodate has traditional charm and scenic night views.

A shrine entrance with purple spring flowers in Hokkaido.
Hokkaido in Japan’s northernmost prefecture. Image via Shutterstock

Unlike Japan’s humid summers, Hokkaido has a cooler summer, bringing people who love the outdoors to enjoy activities like hiking, cycling, and camping. The region’s wild beauty features natural hot springs and volcanic lakes. Immerse yourself in Ainu culture at Lake Akan and see wild brown bears, foxes, and deer on the Shiretoko Peninsula. 

Which cherry blossoms grow in Hokkaido?

In Hokkaido, cherry blossoms bloom later than in mainland Japan, typically from late April to early May.  Hokkaido has many cherry tree varieties, including the Somei Yoshino, Ezoyamazakura, and Chishimazakura, the latest bloom in the country. The bright colors of the Ezoyamazakura and the region’s harsh winter conditions create a unique view different from the lighter pink blossoms commonly associated with sakura.

Cherry blossoms in Hokkaido.
Cherry blossoms bloom in Hokkaido in May. Image via Shutterstock

Visitors to Hokkaido can enjoy the colors and unique varieties of cherry trees, with peak viewing varied across the region. In Hakodate and Matsumae, late April is best, while around Sapporo, the season is from early to mid-May. In eastern Hokkaido, mid-May is the best time! These later blooms are a part of Hokkaido’s charm, allowing visitors to enjoy cherry blossoms longer! Notable cherry blossom spots include the Goryokaku Fort in Hakodate and Matsumae Castle.

What other spring flowers grow in these two prefectures?

In Hokkaido, various flowers appear from late April to early May. Skunk cabbage grows at Lake Abashiri and Onuma Quasi-National Park. The Asian Fawn Lily is at Otokoyama Nature Park and Urausu Shrine. Additionally, the Narcissus blooms in Tamagawa Park, with around 30 species and 300,000 flowers in full bloom. Colorful tulips can be found in large fields like Cape Saraki Tulip Garden, Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park, and Ueno Farm, offering a beautiful sight.

Okinawa’s warm climate brings many seasonal flowers. With its bright blooms, Bougainvillea is displayed during the Southeast Botanical Gardens annual fair. The year-round bloomer hibiscus symbolizes the island and is used in various products. Ochroleuca Iris is unique to Ogimi Village and blooms in April. Azaleas line the sandy streets in March, and the Okinawa Flower Carnival features an early Azalea festival showcasing local varieties. 

What makes these two places unique from the rest of Japan during the spring?

Okinawa and Hokkaido stand out from the rest of Japan during spring because their flowers bloom before and after the rest of Japan. In Okinawa, the subtropical climate allows for the earliest cherry blossoms in the country, with the hikanzakura’s dark pink bell-shaped flowers blooming from mid-January to mid-February. Overall, the island’s unique cherry tree varieties, warm weather, and cultural richness create a charming experience for visitors!

Spring flowers in Okinawa.,
Which cherry blossoms would like to see? Image via Shutterstock

Hokkaido has a later cherry blossom season, from late April to early May. The region’s cherry blossoms, like Somei Yoshino, Ezoyamazakura, and Chishimazakura, show beautiful colors in the winter. Hokkaido’s famous locations, like Goryokaku Fort and Matsumae Castle, offer a unique scene for cherry blossom viewing. Spring flowers, including skunk cabbage, Asian Fawn Lily, narcissus, tulips, and more, also add to Hokkaido’s distinct charm during spring.

Okinawa and Hokkaido stand out during spring in Japan with their unique blooms! Okinawa boasts the earliest cherry blossoms, while Hokkaido’s later cherry blossom season, from late April to early May, shows flowers influenced by winter. Both regions offer distinct and beautiful springtime displays, making them different from the rest of Japan. Why not take a trip and see which side of Japan you prefer the most? Have you ever been to Okinawa? How about Hokkaido? Did you see their cherry blossoms in bloom? Let us know in the comments below!

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