The cherry blossom scenery of Japan. Images of Japan’s flowering landscape captured by photographer Takashi Yamaguchi.

Blossoms by the Sea

Location: Lake Mikatago, Wakasa, Fukui Prefecture. Photographed from the Rainbow Line Scenic Drive (first 10 days in April).

Wakasa Bay opens out to the left of the photo, with Tsuruga Peninsula visible in the distance. Just on the other of this hill, to the right and out of view, is the tranquil Lake Mikatago. Because of the moderating effect of the warm Tsushima Current, wild cherry trees flower early here in the snowy Hokuriku Wakasa area. The best time to view the blossoms is during the first ten days in April.

Blossoms in the Mountains

Location: Sōja City, Okayama Prefecture (first 10 days in April)

Cherry blossoms colour the hillsides around the Gōkei Valley area with clouds of pink. Nowadays we’re accustomed to seeing cultivated flowering cherries such as Somei Yoshino in parks, but in the past, these wild cherry trees, with their calm grace, were what people looked forward to each spring. The leaves of the wild cherry trees appear at the same time as the blossoms. These same hillsides are renowned also for their fiery colours in autumn.

Blossoms in the Ancient Capital

Location: Mount Wakakusa, Nara City, Nara Prefecture

A commanding view of the Hall of the Great Buddha at Tōdai-ji Temple, beyond the flowering cherries shimmering in the spring haze in the ancient capital, Nara. Taken from the grassy slopes on the lower part of Mount Wakakusa, where the hills rise up like a wall behind the city. This hazy scene heralds the arrival of spring in the ancient capital.

Blossoms Around Castles

Location: Hirosaki Castle, Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture (last 10 days in April)

The beauty and enchantment of evening cherry blossoms tranquilly reflected in the moat around Hirosaki Castle. While there are any number of famous scenes featuring cherry blossoms and castles in Japan, few could object to putting Hirosaki Castle right at the top of that list.