Few natural sights are as breathtaking and romantic as cherry trees blooming in spring, with the delicate pink flowers a symbol of fresh beginnings and ephemeral beauty. While cherry blossoms have a special place in Japanese culture and the country remains one of the best places to enjoy hanami (flower viewing), here are nine other destinations around the world where you can also take in the colours of spring. Time your visit right as the flowers are in bloom for mere weeks.
1. Paris, France – late February to March
The City of Light morphs into the City of Blossoms every spring, as the rows of cherry trees at the Parc du Champ de Mars blush pink. The flowers can also be found around the French capital’s parks and neighbourhoods.
2. Alishan, Taiwan – early March
Great for hikes, tea and hot springs, the mountainous township of Alishan in Taiwan is also a great place to view beautiful cherry blossoms every spring. The Jushan hiking trail is lined on both sides with flowering Yoshino cherry trees, while the upscale hotel Alishan House in the Alishan National Scenic Area is another popular location.
3. Shanghai, China – mid-March to mid-April
Cosmopolitan and cool, Shanghai gives in to the wonders of spring each year. If you don’t mind being shoulder to shoulder with other daytrippers, Gucun Forest Park offers some of the best views, but those who prefer to admire the scenery in peace should head to Lu Xun Park or Tongji University instead.