Sakura is a flower that has been loved in Japan for a long time. Cherry blossoms are famous worldwide, but in fact, there are many types of cherry blossoms. We have gathered a list of different types of Sakura that you can find in Japan. All types are unique and beautiful in their own way, so the next time you go cherry blossom viewing, take a good look and try to figure out the type! Also, feel free to let us know which one is your favourite.

One of the best ways to explore Tokyo is to visit the local areas and immerse yourself in the local culture. If you want to explore local areas, we have created scavenger hunt adventures personalised to your interests, filled with fun facts, clues and puzzles. If you’re curious, you can check out the games here!

Check out the Flip Japan Games here!

Find out more about types of cherry blossoms and spring in Japan here: What to do in Spring, Where to go in spring, Wisteria in Japan, Spring date ideas, What to eat in spring, Where to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo and Cherry blossom festivals.

How many types of cherry blossoms are there? 

Types of cherry blossom Many types

In the Land of the Rising Sun, the diversity of cherry blossoms is truly astounding. With over 100 species flourishing across the country, rooted in the 10 primary varieties such as Yamazakura, Oyamazakura, and Kasumi Sakura, Japan offers a mesmerizing array of floral wonders. Each species carries its own unique charm, from the elegant simplicity of Edohigan to the vibrant allure of Choujizakura.

But the fascination doesn’t end there. With over 200 horticultural varieties cultivated from these foundational types of cherry blossom, the possibilities are endless. These cultivated varieties showcase an astonishing diversity of shapes, sizes, and colors, ensuring there’s something to delight every visitor. From the classic elegance of single-flowered blooms to the extravagant beauty of double-flowered varieties and the graceful elegance of weeping cherry blossoms, Japan’s floral landscape is a true feast for the senses.

Whether you’re strolling through a serene garden, picnicking beneath a canopy of blossoms, or simply marveling at nature’s artistry, Japan’s types of cherry blossom promise an unforgettable experience. So, immerse yourself in the splendor of these magnificent blooms and discover the boundless wonders of Japan’s floral heritage.

Main types of cherry blossoms

A multitude of cherry blossom varieties exists, ranging from grand specimens often found adorning parks and lining roadside trees to more modest cultivars typically sized for private gardens. Now, let’s delve into the main types of cherry blossoms commonly seen throughout Japan.

1. Yoshino Cherry Tree

Types of cherry blossom Yoshino cherry tree

When to see Yoshino Cherry Tree: March-April.

The Yoshino cherry tree stands as the quintessential symbol of Japan’s cherry blossom season, cherished for its unique beauty and cultural significance. This iconic tree traces its roots back to the end of the Edo period and the dawn of the Meiji era when it was meticulously cultivated by horticulturists in Somei Village. Through careful hybridization of the Oshima cherry and Edohigan varieties, the Yoshino cherry emerged, boasting delicate blossoms adorned with five petals. Initially tinged with a subtle pale red hue, these blossoms gradually transform into a pristine white spectacle as they reach full bloom.

What sets Yoshino cherry trees apart is their tendency to bloom synchronously, a trait inherited through cloning and grafting techniques employed in their propagation. This synchronized blooming phenomenon not only blankets Japan in a breathtaking floral display but also serves as the foundation for predicting the eagerly anticipated “cherry blossom front,” guiding enthusiasts and travelers alike to the best viewing spots across the country.

2. Edo Higan Cherry Tree

Types of cherry blossom Edo Higan cherry tree

When to see Edo Higan Cherry Tree: Late March (about 10 days earlier than others).

The Edo Higan cherry tree, commonly found gracing the mountains of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, boasts a majestic stature ranging from 15 to 25 meters, adorned with distinctive oval leaves. Its blossoms, characterized by single, five-petaled flowers, transition gracefully from light red to a pristine white hue. Renowned for its robustness and prolific flowering, the Edo Higan serves as the progenitor of numerous cherry blossom varieties and holds special significance as the sole parent of Yoshino cherry trees.

Among Japan’s natural wonders are ancient cherry trees like the Yamataka Jindai Zakura in Takekawa-mura, standing as one of the country’s three major blossoming trees, with an astonishing age surpassing 2,000 years. Similarly, the Usuzumi tree in Motosu City boasts a venerable age of over 1,500 years, while the Miharu Takizakura in Miharu-cho boasts a millennium of existence. Designated as national natural monuments, these timeless marvels attract countless visitors from around the globe, offering a glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural and natural heritage.

3. Mamezakura 

Types of cherry blossom Mamezakura 

When to see Mamezakura Cherry Tree: Late March to early April (Tokyo).

Mamezakura, a native cherry blossom species, thrives in the picturesque vicinity of Mt. Fuji, showcasing its delicate blooms in abundance. Despite its diminutive stature, Mamezakura stands out as one of the smallest cherry blossom trees, both in height and flower size. Even when rooted in rocky terrain, these resilient trees will burst into bloom, with some reaching mere meters in height.

The petite flowers, with diameters as small as one to two centimeters, boast five delicate petals that unfurl in shades ranging from pristine white to soft pink, cascading gracefully downward. As a beloved emblem of Japan’s natural beauty, Mamezakura adds a charming touch to the landscape surrounding the iconic Mt. Fuji, captivating visitors with its understated elegance.

4. Yamazakura Wild Cherry Tree

Types of cherry blossom Yamazakura

When to see Yamazakura Cherry Tree: Mid-March to late March (Kagoshima), late March (Tsushima), early-mid-April (Kyoto, Tokyo), late April (Matsushima).

Yamazakura, the ubiquitous cherry tree of Japan, holds a special place in the nation’s cultural tapestry, inspiring songs and haiku poems for centuries. Thriving across mountainous landscapes, particularly in the Kanto, central, and southern regions, Yamazakura is renowned for its distinctive traits. Notably, its leaves unfurl simultaneously with the blossoms, creating a harmonious spectacle of nature’s renewal.

With delicate pink blooms adorned by five petals, Yamazakura showcases a stunning array of colors, with variations ranging from pure white to rich dark hues, sometimes even appearing solely at the tips of the flowers. The leaves exhibit an impressive spectrum, ranging from vibrant magenta to earthy brown, while the bark boasts a dark brown to greyish-brown hue. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, Yamazakura serves practical purposes too, valued for its durable wood, which is highly versatile and easily processed.

5. Oyama Cherry Tree

Types of cherry blossom Oyama
Credit: Huber

When to see Oyama Cherry Tree: Mid-April to early May (Nikko) Mid-April (Tokyo).

Oyamazakura (big Yamazakura), aptly named for its larger flowers and leaves compared to the Yamazakura, also goes by the moniker “Ezoyamazakura” due to its resilience to cold climates, thriving amidst the mountains of Hokkaido. These exquisite blossoms boast diameters ranging from three to five centimeters, with minimal peduncles and a striking dark pink hue, setting them apart from the iconic Yoshino cherry trees. Towering at heights of seven to 15 meters, and occasionally reaching up to 20 meters, Oyamazakura graces the landscape with its majestic presence.

Come summer, the tree yields small, black-purple fruits, attracting a myriad of birds eager to feast upon them. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, Oyamazakura plays a vital role in Hokkaido’s ecosystem, offering sustenance to local wildlife while captivating visitors with its natural beauty.

6. Kanhi-zakura

Types of cherry blossom Kanhi-zakura

When to see Kanhi-zakura: Late January to late February (Okinawa), mid-March (Tokyo).

Kanhi-zakura, a beloved cherry blossom variety often gracing the landscapes of Okinawa, plays a significant role as one of the parental trees of Kawazu-zakura, famed for its early blooming season. Sporting petals typically adorned in shades of magenta, though occasionally appearing in white or softer hues, these blossoms create a breathtaking display. Following the peak bloom, the flowers gracefully cascade like bells before shedding their delicate petals.

Despite its petite flower size, Kanhi-zakura trees reach heights ranging from three to eight meters. While sensitive to cold climates, this cherry blossom variety thrives in warmer environments, showcasing impressive heat resistance. Known by various names such as “Hikanzakura,” “Ganjitsuzakura” (New Year’s Day Sakura), and “Satsuma Hizakura” (Satsuma Scarlet Sakura) in southern Kyushu, Kanhi-zakura adds a vibrant splash of color to Japan’s southern regions, captivating locals and visitors alike with its stunning blooms.

7. Oshima Cherry Blossom (Oshima Sakura)

Types of cherry blossom Oshima

When to see Oshima cherry blossom: Late March (Izu Peninsula, Minamiizu), Early April (Tokyo).

Oshima sakura, a cherished cherry blossom variety frequently spotted across the Seven Islands of Izu and the Izu Peninsula, holds a special status with a strain in the northeastern part of Izu Oshima designated as a natural monument. These blossoms exhibit remarkable diversity, with variations dependent on tree characteristics including shape, flower color, and fruit taste. The most prevalent variant typically boasts five petals, predominantly white with a delicate scent. Known for their robustness and rapid growth, Oshima sakura trees bloom synchronously with the emergence of leaves, creating a captivating spectacle. Leaves range from five to 10 cm in length, featuring a distinctive sharp tip.

Notably, Oshima sakura serves as a parent to numerous horticultural varieties and is renowned as one of the progenitors of both the Yoshino cherry tree and the Kawazu cherry tree.

8. Kawazu Zakura 

Types of cherry blossom Kawazu Zakura 

When to see Kawazuzakura: Early to mid-March (Izu Peninsula).

The Kawazuzakura, renowned for its vibrant pink or pale crimson flowers, boasts a diameter of approximately three centimeters. Clustering in groups of four to five blossoms, these flowers create a captivating spectacle against the backdrop of shiny, purple-brown bark. Originating as a natural hybrid of Prunus campanulata and Prunus speciosa, the Kawazuzakura earned its name from its transplantation to Kawazu Town. This charming town has become a hotspot for tourists, drawn by the allure of the Kawazuzakura’s early blooming season. Unlike other cherry blossoms, the flowering period of the Kawazuzakura extends for a month, offering an extended opportunity for visitors to revel in its beauty.

There you have it. The eight types of sakura trees you simply can not miss on your trip to Japan.

Ancient cherry blossoms hold a revered status as sacred trees in Japan, with their blooming season believed to foreshadow the fortunes of the coming year. For generations, people have gathered to observe these blossoms during hanami, seeking to bestow blessings upon their harvest for the spring season. The tradition of admiring cherry blossoms has been cherished by Japanese citizens for centuries, evolving into a beloved activity enjoyed by people from around the globe in recent years.

If you find yourself in Japan during cherry blossom season, we wholeheartedly encourage you to seek out locations where these blooms paint picturesque landscapes. Whether strolling through a serene garden or picnicking beneath a canopy of blossoms, immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of this natural spectacle. Just remember to observe Japanese etiquette while enjoying the cherry blossoms, respecting the tranquility of these sacred trees and the traditions that surround them. So, as you plan your visit to Japan, be sure to include a memorable cherry blossom experience in your itinerary, a cherished tradition that embodies the spirit of springtime in Japan.