Virtual hanami – cherry blossom season indoors

sakura season online

One of my favorite travel memories would have to be being in Tokyo during sakura season. Though several other Asian countries boast their very own cherry blossoms (even Thailand!), there’s nothing quite like experiencing it in Japan. 

But ‘cuz COVID-19 is the worst thing to hit our radars in 2020, travel plans have been put to a rude halt with people being urged to stay indoors for the sake of, well, humanity. 

Luckily, technology in 2020 isn’t too shabby. From letting us take virtual tours of the Louvre to playing online board games with buddies, we can now enjoy sakura season right from our bedrooms. 

Over 50 videos of different cherry blossom parks

With cherry blossom viewings getting cancelled all across Japan due to the pandemic, the Virtual Hanami movement is helping us live vicariously through 360-degree and VR videos.

virtual sakura
Image credit: Weather News Japan

Weather News Japan’s Sakura Project has compiled over 50 videos for us to enjoy – including top 10 favourites including hotspots like Tokyo’s Ueno Park and Osaka Castle Park that’s brimming with cherry, peach, and plum blossoms.

Other categories include Nighttime cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Kyoto’s sakura spots, giant sakura trees, and other regions like Hokkaido and Tohoku.

All videos are 360-degrees, meaning you can “move around” to take in the scenery – even if the video is paused. And if you’re lucky enough to own a pair of VR goggles, it’s time to put them on and fully immerse yourself.

While it’s impossible to pick the our favourites, here are some cosy videos to watch while snuggled up at home:

Hirosaki Park, Aomori (Early Morning) 

【お花見VR】360度動画でエア花見!「東北北部・北海道編 弘前公園(青森県)」 Sakura VR
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【お花見VR】360度動画でエア花見!「東北北部・北海道編 弘前公園(青森県)」 Sakura VR

Aomori’s Hirosaki Park isn’t just known for its gorgeous cherry blossom display. When here, visitors often flock to its river to witness the “sakura carpet”, where blossom petals fall onto the water, painting the river a fantastical cotton candy pink.

aomori Hirosaki Park sakura carpet
Image credit: Japan Web Magazine

Kenroku-en, Kanazawa (Night)

【お花見VR】360度動画でエア花見!「東北南部・北陸編 兼六園〜夜〜(石川県)」 Sakura VR
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【お花見VR】360度動画でエア花見!「東北南部・北陸編 兼六園〜夜〜(石川県)」 Sakura VR

This giant park is located in Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture in central Japan. It’s considered one of the “Three Great Gardens of Japan”, so you can bet you’ll be getting some pretty good views here.

Kenroku-en, Kanazawa
Image credit: Nippon

If you want to see this in the day, you can view the video here.

Funagawa River, Toyama (Day)

【お花見VR】360度動画でエア花見!「東北南部・北陸編 舟川べり(富山県)」 Sakura VR
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【お花見VR】360度動画でエア花見!「東北南部・北陸編 舟川べり(富山県)」 Sakura VR

This one’s special. It’s got calming Ghibli tunes playing in the background – so get comfy.

Stay calm and stay safe indoors

stay indoors

As tempting as it may be to get some time outside, the best thing to do amid the pandemic is to stay inside to keep yourselves and others safe. 

And with nonstop news about COVID-19 on the interwebs, we hope these beautiful cherry blossoms can let us forget about the virus just for a little bit. 🌸

Other things to do at home during self-quarantine:

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