The Ultimate Guide To Cherry Blossoms in China: Viewing the Chinese cherry blossom tree is quite the sight. After the cold snowy winter, the Chinese cherry blossom season springs about a change in thinking for many.
Cherry blossoms in China represent new love, new endeavors, and a chance to appreciate the beauty around you. Visiting China in this time frame is a fabulous opportunity to not only explore the hidden mysteries of this ancient culture and land, but also a chance to view the cherry blossom tree which is only in bloom for a short while.
Read on an we’ll share with you the ultimate guide on where to see cherry blossoms in China.
Quick Information | Chinese Cherry Blossom
- Currency: China uses rmb
- Electricity: China most commonly uses the two prong plug (non diagonal).
- Language: Many, but predominantly Mandarin on the mainland. Many may not speak English (or atleast feel confident to speak English). Write down addresses / names of sites in mandarin characters (not Pinyin) – ask hotel to write or screenshot from internet.
- Visa: Yes, you’ll need to apply in advance for most trips.
- Safety: China is quite safe for tourists.
- Seasons: You’ll find Cherry Blossoms in spring, March to May – see below for best time in this period.
- Transport: Taxis, buses (although mind the language barrier)
- Recommended gear: Camera (mirrorless, basic SLR, or full frame SLR), 35mm lense or wide angle, travel insurance, comfortable shoes, translator app and WeChat (helps with translation, payment).
- Rough budget
- Accommodation: USD 6+ a night depending on budget (guesthouses are often cheap but check to see if they accept foreigners (aka non-chinese). Hostels aren’t so common. I use Agoda or Ctrip for China, with Ctrip having the most hotels as China’s major one-stop booking site.
- Food: $2+
- Transport: Taxis are cheap, buses are even cheaper. Book trains on Ctrip, China’s major booking site.
- Activities: $-$$. I book my day tours and activities with Get Your Guide, or through my hotel / guesthouse on arrival. For Cherry blossom in China, most parks are quite cheap though (a few dollars entry).
- What to pack (coming soon)
When To See Cherry Blossoms in China | Cherry Blossom Time China
Generally speaking the best time to see cherry blossoms in China is from late March to late April. At this time of year the transition between winter and spring has begun with the temperature starting to rise enough for the cherry blossom buds to slowly blossom.
That gives you a time frame of around 1 month period to see this beautiful tree. There are quite a lot of factors which determine the speed of blooming like the warmth of the coming spring and the winds, altitude (higher, later in the year), and the strain of the cherry blossom, those dates are an estimate and can change slightly every year, though generally speaking that time period is your best bet when planning ahead.
– Plum, Peach, and Cherry Blossoms –
How To Tell The Difference
Plum, peach and cherry blossoms all look very similar, and it can be a little difficult knowing how to tell the difference between them. Knowing how to tell the difference is important, as all three plants tend to bloom around the same time as each other, with there being some cross over in germinating patterns. Plum trees tend to come first around mid-February , with that being followed by peach blossoms in mid-March, and finally the Chinese cherry blossom trees begin to blossom around late-March.
Due to the cross over and similar blooming times, this can make it a little difficult to know what exactly you’re looking at. Here are a few quick tips to help you out:
3 Tips For Telling The Difference
- The Shape – Plum blossoms are round, peach are more petal shaped, while cherry blossoms are petal shaped, but often have a small cleft on the end of each petal.
- The Stem – Plum blossoms traditionally have no stem and grow out of the branch. Peach blossoms have small stems, with roughly two to three flowers in each bunch. While cherry blossoms usually have long stems, and have multiple flowers all branching from the same point.
- The Colour – This point is more about being able to rule one of the types out of contention, rather than pin pointing what variety it is. Plum, peach, and cherry blossoms all come in the light pink colour which is synonymous with the cherry blossom. So in that regard it’s difficult to tell from colour alone. However plum blossoms are traditionally the one of the three which bloom in an almost crimson purple.
Where To See Cherry Blossoms in China
The two most common cities for people to visit within China are Beijing and Shanghai. Luckily if you only have a short amount of time in China, and don’t have the luxury of exploring multiple cities, you can still see cherry blossoms providing you arrive at the right time of year – late March to late April. There are quite a few places to see cherry blossoms within each city of Beijing and Shanghai, so if one spot we recommend happens to be a little more busier than you had expected, you can always move onto another.
Additionally while Beijing and Shanghai are the two mot popular cities to visit, there are plenty of other cities to see cherry blossoms in China. Seeing the Chinese cherry blossom tree in major cities will probably be most likely for first time visitors to China though, due to accessibility. We list those a little further down the page.
List of Cities to see the Chinese Cherry Blossom
1 – Cherry Blossoms in Beijing
2 – Cherry Blossoms in Shanghai
3 – Cherry Blossoms in Wuxi
4 – Cherry Blossoms in Hangzhou
5 – Cherry Blossoms in Guangzhou
6 – Cherry Blossoms in Kunming
7 – Cherry Blossoms in Chongqing
8 – Cherry Blossoms in Dalian
9 – Cherry Blossoms in Wuhan
10 – Cherry Blossoms in Qingdao
11 – Cherry Blossoms in Xi’an
Cherry Blossoms in Beijing
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1. Cherry Blossoms at the Summer Palace
When it comes to the notion of mixing an iconic Chinese structure with the beauty of the cherry blossom tree, than the Summer Palace is perhaps the best place to do so in Beijing. The Summer Palace is normally a popular tourist spot through out the year, but the added dimension of the cherry blossoms really do bring out the best of the palace and the surrounding area. If you do happen to be in Beijing during cherry blossom season, we highly recommend checking this place out.
2. Cherry Blossoms at the Yuyuantan Cherry Blossoms Festival
Located in Yuyuantan Park the park truly encompasses the romantic notion of the Chinese cherry blossom tree with an annual cherry blossom festival. At this time of year Yuyuantan Park comes alive from it’s hibernation from the winter with vibrant shades of pink and white. It’s a great place to take a leisurely stroll around the lake with that someone special. There is an admission of 10 RMB.
It should also be mentioned that it’s possible to ride a dragon boat along the lake, and past the Summer Palace, however this will depend more on luck on whether you’ll be able to do it during peak cherry blossom season. Most dragon boats become fully operational around late April when the flowers are starting to wilt away.
3. Cherry Blossoms at Yuandadu Park
Placed in the north of Beijing, Yuandadu is the largest park in all of Beijing. Spanning over 9 kilometers, the garden is a romantics dream. With the Xiao Yue River running through the park, walking along side the river is great place to spot and appreciate some cherry blossoms.
4. Cherry Blossoms at Beijing Botanical Gardens
A great place to spend the day. The Beijing Botanical Gardens not has a large amount of Chinese cherry blossom trees for you to appreciate, but it has a whole host of other flowers, trees, and plants. Interestingly the gardens are home to plum blossoms as well. Since there is a cross over in time between cherry and plum blossoms, and with both flowers looking very similar, it can be difficult to tell which one you are looking at. Regardless, both are very beautiful and is worth a look.
Chinese Cherry Blossom in Shanghai
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1. Cherry Blossoms at Gucan Forest Park/Cherry Blossoms Festival
One of the things which make Gucan Park a little more unique from the other locations is that it offers BBQ areas. Relaxing with friends or with that someone special eating food, and surrounded by beautiful cherry blossoms is the ideal situation for some, and very romantic. The BBQ costs around 90 RMB for six people, while it’s 180 RMB for 15 people. When hiring the BBQ area the price does include charcoal. You can bring your own food along, though if you don’t want the hassle of carrying food it can be bought for 12 – 15 RMB for meat and fish for two skewers, while it’s 3 – 6 RMB for vegetable skewers.
If the BBQ areas don’t tickle your fancy, besides from the cherry blossoms, there are canals which stretch across the park, walkways, a relaxing lake, and plenty of trees to wander through and explore. A great way to spend the day.
Address: 2000号 共青森林公园, 近嫩江路
2. Cherry Blossoms at Shanghai Botanical Gardens
A great place to visit to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of Shanghai. During the peak garden season of when the cherry blossoms begin to bloom the garden can be a little busy, but in all honestly every garden which houses a large number of cherry blossoms will be busy to some extent.
The garden also contains bonsai trees which as a little known fact originated in China, small ponds with fish, and there’s even a train to take you around the park for 10 RMB. General admission is 40 RMB, though it can be slightly higher during cherry blossom season.
3. Cherry Blossoms at Tongji University
The trees through out Tongji University always look great through out the year. In summer the trees are a lush dark green, while in autumn they begin to develop a nice warming golden hue. However as good as the trees and the campus look in the other seasons, arguably it’s during cherry blossom season when the pinkish and white hues from the cherry blossoms really bring the best out of the trees in the campus. Admission is free, so you don’t need to worry about breaking the bank and can spend that little extra on lunch.
4. Cherry Blossoms at Shanghai Haiwan National Park
The Haiwan National Park’s celebrations for cherry blossoms are massive. When it comes to seeing cherry blossoms in China this is a great place to come since the festivities around this joyous plant are huge. With food stalls, bands, and a general good vibe, this is a fantastic place to view cherry blossoms either for the first time or the 100th time. The cost of admission is normally around 50 RMB, but for the festival it’s around 80 RMB. A little pricey compared to other options on the list, but well worth it.
Address: 随塘河路1677号, 近新城路.
5. Cherry Blossoms at Xinzhuang Park
Xinzhuang Park was recently renovated and is in the heart of the city, so access to this small and quint spot is relatively quite easy. Shanghai since it’s a large city there always seems to be a small park around every block. Xinzhuang Park makes a mention as it contains over 1,000 types of trees with many of them being plum blossom trees, so when it comes to late March and April this becomes a secret garden with beauty bursting from every corner of the park.
6. Cherry Blossoms at Zhongshan Park
A great free option to view cherry blossoms in Shanghai. The park is quite large with path ways that run the entire park. It’s also a great spot for a picnic to relax and let the day pass you by. During cherry blossom season when the vibrant colours of the flowers show, Zhongshan Park is a great place to spend the afternoon.
7. Cherry Blossoms at Lu Xun Park
Lu Xun Park is one of the oldest parks in all of Shanghai is quite popular with the locals. This means if you’re a budding photographer you wants to try and capture some street photography style photos of locals doing their thing, than Lu Xun Park is a great option. You’ll find locals practicing tai chi, dancing, playing mahjong, and simply relaxing in the picturesque gardens. When the cherry blossoms come into bloom it just gives you all the more reason to visit the park to capture some iconic shots with the contrast.
8. Cherry Blossoms at Century Park
The great thing about Century Park are the unique photo opportunities that are available at this location. The park has over 3,000 cherry blossom trees which paint the entire surrounding area in a blanket of pink and white, with this offering some great photo opportunities. If you can find the right spot, you’ll be to capture an interesting photo with the contrast of the beauty of the cherry blossom and the tech savvy Shanghai.
9. Cherry Blossoms at Fuxing Park
This monster of a park was once the largest park in all of Shanghai at 1o hectares. Placed near the French concession, Fuxing Park is another option available to you for you to be able to see the cherry blossom tree in China. The park is also well known for having a plethora of activities having, along with a few tasty food stalls around.
Address: 上海市黄浦区福兴中路516号 or 复兴公园。重庆南路, 近复兴中路.
10. Cherry Blossoms at Chenshan Botanical Gardens
The perfect place to visit if you’re wanting to escape the concrete jungle which is Shanghai. Located on the outskirts of Shanghai, a visit to the Chenshan Botanical Gardens almost feels like a day trip in itself due to the sheer size of the park. If you wanted to make sure that you’d be able leave China having seen cherry blossoms, than visiting the Chenshan Botanical Gardens won’t leave you disappointed. It is also home to one of the largest green houses in all of Asia.
Chinese Cherry Blossom Trees in Wuxi
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1. Cherry Blossoms at Tortoise Head Garden (Yuantouzhu Park)
The whitish and dark pink species of cherry blossom both cover the park of Tortoise Head Garden, which creates some amazing photographic opportunities. Wuxi is rather famous within China for it’s parks and flowers, with the Tortoise Head Garden also being a popular area for both local and foreign tourist.
2. Cherry Blossoms at Li Garden
Li Gardens is one of the major scenic spots within China. The Li Lake which is the main attraction of the gardens, is the third largest lake fresh water lake in all of China. The gardens uses traditional Chinese elements, to create a tranquil and relaxing feel to the gardens. Additionally the the Li Gardens also have two separate dedicated section to both cherry blossoms and plum blossoms. Both these sections come alive with colour when it’s time for the plants to germinate to create an awe inspiring display of pinks, whites, and purples.
3. Cherry Blossoms at Xihui Park
Xuhui Garden is a pretty park with a range of different Chinese flowering trees around, not just cherry blossoms. This is a good flower park for families with lots to see, including the Chinese cherry blossom tree. The cherry blossom flower can be seen all around the park.
Address: 锡惠公园 (name), 无锡市滨湖区汇和路2号
4. Cherry Blossoms at Grand Buddha at Lingshan Park
While not a primary destination for cherry blossoms, they are present at the major tourist attraction as you make your way around the park. The Grand Buddha is an attraction in itself and worth seeing if you are visiting Wuxi during Chinese cherry tree season.
Address: 灵山大佛 (name / place)
Where to See Cherry Blossoms in Hangzhou
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1. Cherry Blossoms at Hangzhou Botanical Garden
Quite large and spacious, and often described as being tranquil. Though having said that, Chinese parks are quite busy during flower season, so when you visit, it may not be as tranquil and the rest of the year. Regardless, the Hangzhou Botanical Garden is often cited as being the best place to see cherry blossoms in all of Hangzhou.
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Cherry blossoms in Guangzhou
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1. Cherry blossoms at Sunflower Garden
China is home to some interesting attractions, with the Sunflower Garden in Guangzhou being no different. The Sunflower Garden truly lives up to its name with over 200,000 sunflowers blooming at any one time, while in total the park actually has closer to 1,000,000 sunflowers. On top of the monstrous amount of sunflowers, the park is also home to 6,000 cherry blossom trees of the pink and white variety.
Chinese Cherry blossoms in Kunming
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1. Cherry blossoms at Yuan Tong Temple
The province of Yunnan is more commonly known for the picturesque multi coloured rice fields and the awe-inspiring mountains due to it’s proximity to Tibet. Kunming is the largest city and most accessible city within the province of Yunnan, and for this reason most people use it as a hub before moving on wards to view the wonders of Yunnan.
However don’t move on too quickly, as there are some sites to see, but more importantly there are cherry blossoms trees in Kunming. If you happen to come to Kunming around late March to April, you’ll be able to see quite a large number of cherry blossoms trees if you visit the Yuan Tong Temple.
Seeing Cherry blossoms in Dalian
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1. Cherry blossoms at Longwangtan Cherry Blossom Park
One of two famous cherry blossom parks in all of China. If you wanted to experience the cherry blossom tree in all it’s glory, this would be the place to come. The park has around 2,000 Japanese cherry blossom trees which were planted during the Japanese occupation of the area.
The Longwangtan Cherry Blossom Park is quite large in size, and will take an entire day to explore the park. Best to bring some food, a picnic and a blanket to relax for a memorable lunch. Due to the climate in the area, the cherry blossom plant only blooms for 15 – 18 days of the year in Dalian, so you better be quick to enjoy the array of wonderful colours on offer.
Finding Cherry blossoms in Wuhan
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1. Cherry blossoms at East Lake Cherry Blossom Park
This is second site of the two famous sites to see cherry blossoms in China. The reputation of the East Lake Park and it’s cherry blossoms is quite synonymous, with it gaining an international attention. The park is considered one of three of the world’s cherry blossom capitals, the others are – Hirosaki, Japan; and Washington, in the United States.
The East Lake Park is also home to plum and peach blossoms, which are equally as spectacular as the cherry blossom variety. On top of that there are over 200 bird varieties, while the park also has the largest lake in a capital city within China.
2. Cherry blossoms at Wuhan University
There seems to be a very common theme within China, and that is that most universities seem to have small amount of the Chinese cherry blossom tree. Wuhan University keeps with the trend, and offers it’s students, and the public some amazing cherry blossoms trees for people to appreciate. Wuhan University grows over 5,000 cherry plants, so you’re bound to see a cherry blossom or two.
Cherry blossoms in Chongqing
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1. Cherry blossoms at Nanshan Botanical Garden
Chongqing is in the middle of China, and is often used as a major transport hub. If you have a few hours to kill between flights and have the time, we’d suggest to check out the Nanshan Botanical Gardens if you happen to be in Chongqing during cherry blossom season. The park boasts numerous Chinese flowering trees, as well as plants from all around the world. Though it is a little pricey for what is there, around 80 RMB.
If you’re moving elsewhere in China and have the opportunity to see cherry blossoms in Beijing or Shanghai, i’d suggest doing that, and holding off from seeing them here. If this is your only chance, chance to see this iconic flower, than do so. The Chinese cherry blossom tree is beautiful, even in small numbers.
Seeing Cherry blossoms in Qingdao
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1. Cherry blossoms at Qingdao Zhongshan Park
During late March to April this park is alive with energy. The park has several roads and areas dedicated to not only the cherry blossom, but also the peach and plum blossoms. Due to the variety of flowers, these all combine to create a plethora of colour and different shades which range from pink, purple to white. Truly fantastic to behold.
2. Cherry blossoms at Ba Da Guan
This one is more of a hidden secret. Ba Da Guan is quite an interesting place in China, as it is one of only a limited number of locations which has quite a large influence of German architecture. The town has a large number of small quint little houses painted in bright colours, so it’s worth a trip on it’s own right, even without the cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms in the area can be found along Juyongguan Road .
Where to See Cherry blossoms in Xi’an
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1. Cherry blossoms at Qinglong Temple
This spot has been highly recommended to us, as we’re told it is the spot to see cherry blossoms in Xi’an. There are over 100 types of cherry blossom varieties, with the Qinglong Temple being the home to both the pink and the white species. Price for admission into the temple is 16 RMB. The small costs of the entrance more than makes up for the unique photo opportunities to be had with the cherry blossoms in the foreground and the temple in the background which is quite a popular shot.
Address: 1号 铁炉庙一村
2. Cherry blossoms at Jiaotong University
Since the cherry blossoms are on the university campus, this means that there is no admission fee, which is always a bonus. When the cherry blossoms are in bloom, the entire campus comes alive in colour and smell. The fragrance and aroma of the plants give the campus a refreshing new lease of life.
3. Cherry blossoms at Xi’an Botanical Gardens
Another fantastic location within Xi’an to see cherry blossoms. Xi’an botanical gardens not only is the home to a large number of cherry blossoms, but is a great place to see other beautiful flowers, trees, and unique water features. A good spot for photographers.
Booking Resources for The Ultimate Guide To Cherry Blossoms in China
- Hotels: CTrip or Hotels Combined
- Trains: Ctrip
- Travel Insurance: World Nomads
- Day Tours & Experiences: Get Your Guide
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