Home » Cherry blossom in Japan 2019 – Difference between types of cherry blossom

Cherry blossom in Japan 2019 – Difference between types of cherry blossom

by jemi

There are more than 100 kinds of cherry blossom in Japan, including over-2000-year-old cherry tree roots (often called fairy cherries). People often find it difficult to distinguish between types of cherry blossoms. Hence, they divide cherry blossoms by groups based on signs such as the number of petals, the time of blooming, the color, the fresh leaves, the form of  tree in order to make it easy to differentiate.

Credit to Mr. Takeuchi Yasuto – Thank you so much for such a great picture!

Before you start

Japan cherry blossoms can be wild cherry blossoms in the forests meanwhile the large majority of them are planted for decoration in the gardens and parks. Especially, tourists can almost see cherry blossoms throughout Japan.

Since the blooming time of cherry blossoms is quite different, it is difficult to answer the question “What is the best time to see Cherry Blossoms in Japan?” The relative answer maybe around the end of March and early April.

Nevertheless, some flowers such as Kawazu Zakura bloom early (in Okinawa, Southern Japan – bloom around mid-February) meanwhile some other cherry blossoms bloom later. Moreover, along with the Northern warm weather (Hokkaido region), there are flowers blooming later that they are brilliant till May.

#1 The number of petals

Most types of the wild cherry blossoms (and many types of planted cherry trees) bloom in 5 petals. Several other types bloom in 10 petals, 20 petals or even more. Cherry blossoms with more than 5 petals are called Yaezakura.

1. 5 petals (such as Somei Yoshino)

More than 100 kinds of cherry blossoms can be found in Japan, including wild cherry varieties and this Yoshino cherry blossom is said to be the most popular. This flower is the result of a mixture of Edohigan Zakura and Oshimazakura. The petals are pale pink, you will sometimes mistakenly think they are white.

Each flower when blooming will have 5 petals. The oldest cherry tree Somei Yoshino is grown in Hirosaki Park, Aomori Prefecture in 1882 still looks beautiful until today.

2. About 20 petals (such as Ichiyo)

Normally, there are about 20-30 petals with lovely pink color. You can admire this gorgeous flower and its impressive beauty in many parks and gardens throughout Japan.

3. About 100 petals (such as Kikuzakura)

Being called as hundred petals cherry blossom, Kikuzakura is one of the late blooming sakura in Japan. For this type, flowers and leaves often appear at the same time. Kikuzakura’s leaves are bigger than all other cherry blossoms that mentioned above.

#2 The color of cherry blossoms

Most wings of cherry blossoms are white or light pink but some of the kinds have dark pink, yellow or green color. Even, there are some kinds of cherry blossoms which change color during the hatching process. For instance, a newly blooming cherry blossom is white then turns light pink after a few days.

1.White cherry blossom (such as Shogetsu)

The pure beauty of white cherry blossoms in the clear sun of the blue sky will surely make you want to shop for a camera to save that moment.

2. Pink cherry blossom (such as Kanzan)

There are several levels of pink colors of cherry blossom in Japan, from light pink to dark pink but the most popular type is light pink such as Kanzan.

3. Yellow cherry blossom

Less common is yellow cherry blossoms, you will only be able to find this flower in certain locations in Japan. Discover with us the yellow cherry blossom viewing locations here!

#3 The fresh leaves

In the case of early blooming cherry blossoms, the fresh leaves will not appear until the flowers have fully bloomed. Therefore, this makes the cherry trees look attractive and full of flowers. Besides, if flowers bloom late, the leaves will appear before the blooming time which giving the cherry trees a more homogeneous look.

Moreover, the color of leaves is also different among types. Mostly, they are green, copper brown, or intermediate colors between those two colors

#4 The form of tree

Because the cherry trees have different growth environments, they have many different shapes and forms such as triangular, columnar, V-shape, weeping, flat-topped, etc. Weeping cherry trees are known as shidarezakura.

#5 The blooming time

Most of the cherry blossoms bloom in spring. For example, the Yaezakura with more than 5 petals is the latest blooming type with a hatching period lasting from two to four weeks, compared with  5-wing cherry blossoms. Some especially bloom in late autumn and during the winter months.

Types of cherry blossoms listed by blooming time

1.    Kanzakura

The average blooming time in Tokyo: late February – mid March

Kanzakura is one of the earliest blooming cherry blossoms. It is only encountered in relatively small numbers in some city parks, which surprise and delight tourists with their early blooming schedule.

2.    Kawazu Zakura

The average blooming time: mid March

Named after the town of Kawazu on the Izu Peninsula where this cherry tree was first cultivated, Kawazu Zakura is one of the earliest blooming cherry blossoms. Most of them bloom during the cherry blossoms festival Kawazu held in late February and early March every year. This flower is less popular in the other parts of Japan.

3.    Kanhi Zakura

The average blooming time: mid to late March

Kanhi Zakura is a dark pink, bell-shaped cherry blossom originating from Taiwan and Okinawa where it blooms early in January and February. In Tokyo, it is not usually in bloom until mid March, but still among the earliest blooming cherry blossoms.

4.    Ichiyou Zakura


The average blooming time: the end of April

An Ichiyou has about 20 light pink petals and its fresh leaves are green. This flower is among the most common and late blooming cherry blossoms, which can be seen in parks and garden in Japan.

5.    Ukon


The average blooming time: mid April

The Ukon has about 10 to 20 petals per blossoms and coppery leaves. Its flower characteristic is light yellow that makes it easily recognized.

6.    Kanzan

The average blooming time: mid to late April

Among many types of yaezakura, Kanzan is one of the most common. One Kanza blooming consists of 30 to 50 petals. The leaves are bronze brown.

7.    Fugenzo


The average blooming time: mid to late April

Fugenzo is one of the late-blooming yaezakura with 30 to 40 petals per blossom. When blooming, this cherry blossom is white to light pink and then it turns into a darker pink after a few days. Its fresh leaves are coppery brown.

8.    Shogetsu


The average blooming time: mid to late April

Shogetsu is a kind of late-blooming yaezakura flower with quite big white blossom. One Shogetsu has about 20-30 petals. The leaves are green.

9.    Kikuzakura


The average blooming time: late April,  early May

Kikuzakura has around 100 petals. It is also known as one of the latest blooming trees. Actually, by the time the blossoms are in bloom, the fresh leaves have already grown completely and are somewhat hiding the blossoms.

10.    Jugatsuzakura


The average blooming time: October to January and spring

Jugatsuzakura, literarily called “ October Cherry”, is a kind of flowers blooming in autumn and winter. Although the flowers are small and sparse, they make tourists surprise by the combination of fall colors or snow.
There are many other cherry blossoms throughout Japan. You can see cherry blossoms in Japan not only in spring but also in late autumn or even in winter (Jugatsuzakura).

Hopefully, this article will partly help you know more about cherry blossoms, which is a symbol of “the Rising Sun country”.

Check out other festivals and interesting activities in April in Thailand: SONGKRAN 2019 – DOS AND DON’TS DURING SONGKRAN PARTIES

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