How to enjoy the cherry blossom season virtually

It’s the middle of spring in many continents around the world, meaning everyone’s favourite cherry blossom trees are in peak season. However, with lockdown restrictions in place to prevent the global spread of COVID-19, travelling to see them in person is no longer an option. So, to make sure you don’t completely miss out on sakura (cherry blossoms) this season, here’s how you can experience them virtually.

Google Earth’s ‘Cherry Blossoms Around the World’ guide allows you to virtually tick off multiple destinations at once. The tour – which is part of the Google Local Guides collection – takes you to 10 of the best cities for cherry blossom viewing (or ‘hanami’), as recommended by locals and visitors. 

The first stop, unsurprisingly, is Japan, where you can virtually walk your way down the Meguro River Cherry Blossoms Promenade in Tokyo, followed by the Miharu Takizakura tree in Miharu. According to Google Earth’s tour notes that appear beside the map, this is where you’ll find a 1,000 years old weeping cherry blossom tree that is one of the most treasured attractions in Japan.

Miharu Takizakura. Image: Fukushima Travel

Alternatively you can enjoy Tokyo’s Meguro River Cherry Blossoms Promenade in the video below:

Next on the virtual tour is Square Jean XXIII in Paris, France, to stop by the park behind the Notre Dame Cathedral — one of the most popular spots to see cherry blossoms in the city.

Check out the video below to see how the beautiful cherry blossoms bloom in the French city.

Following that, you can see the cherry blossoms in the Praça do Japão in Brazil, Kungsträdgården in Stockholm, Sweden; and Garganta de Las Nogaledas in Cáceres, Spain, where two million cherry trees come to life every April. 

The video below shows the amazing array of cherry blossoms that bloomed in Kungsträdgården in Stockholm this season.

Then venture to Gyeonghwayeog in Jinhae, South Korea, (also known as Cherry Blossom Road). Typically, during spring the discontinued railway station found here is transformed for the Jinhae Gunhangje Festival – South Korea’s biggest spring festival where you can travel through an 800-meter-long sakura tunnel and admire the truly unforgettable scenery.

Learn a little bit more about the Jinhae Gunhangje Festival in the video below:

Other destinations include, Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, British Columbia; the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew in London, England; before finishing off at the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C.

Another way to see the best of the cherry blossoms virtually is by following the hashtag #virtualhanami on social media. Many people are using this hashtag to share their favourite cherry blossom photos and keep the hanami tradition alive in these uncertain times. 

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