Cherry blossom season is considered by many to be the best time of year to visit Japan. They begin to bloom on the south west tip of Japan and continue east and north, gradually traversing the country. Determining when the cherry blossoms will bloom is an annual pastime in Japan, but it is highly dependent on geographical location. In general, the milder the climate, the earlier the sakura will appear. On Japan’s southern islands of Okinawa, the cherry blossoms can open as early as January, while on the northern island of Hokkaido, they can bloom as late as May. Though it varies from year to year and depends on environmental factors, in most of the major cities, including Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, the cherry blossoms typically bloom in late March and early April. Cherry blossom season is the ideal time for a Japan eco-vacation, as you will find the cities and parks filled with people enjoying picnics and participating in "hanami" parties, or cherry blossom viewing.