April is spring in the northern hemisphere, and a magical month for flowers in so many parts of the world. Here are three places to go for an overwhelmingly beautiful splash of colour, courtesy of Mother Nature. Remember to pack your antihistamines!
Think of cherry blossoms and it’s highly likely that Japan will be the first place that pops into your head. For a brief but very beautiful time in April, parts in almost every region of the country are blanketed in the prettiest pink imaginable.
But if you thought Japan was the only place to see cherry blossoms, you’d be wrong. From China and Taiwan to South Korea, there are many other destinations that celebrate sakura – and not just in Asia.
In 1912 Tokyo gifted the city of Washington DC with some of the famous trees and the US capital has been a prettier place ever since. These days, the best place to view the trees at their height of loveliness is at the famous Tidal Basin, where the blossom-ladened boughs frame imposing edifices such as the Jefferson Memorial to stunning effect (be aware: it’s against the law to pick them).
This year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 20 to April 15, with events including a Blossom Kite Festival, ‘Petalpalooza’ and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on April 14, which runs for 10 blocks along iconic Constitution Avenue.
And don’t worry if you can’t make it to DC for the upcoming season: the National Park Service has kindly set up a Bloom Cam!
Read more: 6 of the best flower shows in the world
Another incredible natural display you can see in April is the sea of blue that blooms at this public park, located in the city of Hitachinaka in the Ibaraki Prefecture, less than two hours from Tokyo.
The ’baby blue eyes’ are in fact nemophila flowers, and the park is magically transformed when more than 4.5 million of them emerge, along with around one million daffodils and 170 varieties of tulips.
There’s always something blooming in this sprawling park that incorporates forests, sand dunes, grasslands and springs. To get around the 350 hectares (200 of which are open to the public), you can hire a bike and take a gentle ride, or hop on and off the Seaside Train at your own pace.
While seeing any spectacular floral display is likely to give you cause to pause, none will be as moving or play with your emotions as much as the sight of an endless blanket of poppies. You can see them in various places around France, Italy, Spain, the UK and even Russia. And with the 100-year anniversary of World War I being commemorated in 2018, standing in a field full of this symbol of Remembrance will be more poignant than ever.