Cherry blossom season: The Japan Weather Association's annual cherry blossom forecast prompts a rush of domestic and international bookings as travelers race to experience the country's famed sakura blooms. Click on for suggestions on where to experience cherry blossom season.
Nara: A scene straight out of a fairytale. The ancient capital of Nara's "Deer Park," right in the center of the city, offers excellent hanami -- flower viewing -- opportunities.
Meguro River, Tokyo: The cherry trees that hang over the Meguro River in Tokyo's Nakameguro district add to the area's beauty. During cherry blossom season vendors set up stalls selling food, beer and pink Champagne.
Hakodate, Hokkaido: Goryokaku Tower, in Hakodate in southern Hokkaido, overlooks Fort Goryokaku. This huge star-shaped citadel built in 1855 has more than a thousand cherry trees.
Ueno Park, Tokyo: One of Tokyo's most famous hanami spots, Ueno Park is filled with thousands of cherry trees. As a result it gets huge numbers of visitors so space underneath the pale pink Yoshino cherry trees can be tough to come by if you don't arrive early enough.
Mt. Fuji: The mountain is surrounded by five lakes -- Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Yamanaka, Lake Sai, Lake Motosu and Lake Shoji -- all of which provide the perfect foreground to appreciate the region's cherry blossoms.
Gion, Kyoto: One of the top spots in Kyoto to view cherry blossoms can be found in Gion district. Trees gently curve towards the Shirakawa waterway as their blossoms fall and get carried gently downstream.
Niseko, Hokkaido: Fancy a round of golf under the cherry blossoms? One of the two courses at Niseko Village was designed by Arnold Palmer and has rows of sakura trees along fairways and at the clubhouse entrance.
Kanazawa, Ishikawa: This beautifully preserved historic city on the coast near the Japanese Alps is famed for its Kenrokuen gardens, considered one of the top three in the country.