In part two of this series, we asked the renowned landscape photographer Toshitaka Morita to share more of his knowledge about the various shades of cherry blossoms and ways to fully appreciate their splendor.
Click here for part 1
“To begin with, it’s important to note that the color of cherry blossoms doesn’t vary significantly across regions, provided they are of the same variety.
The most iconic of all cherry trees, the Somei Yoshino, starts as a pink bud, gradually whitens during the early bloom phase, and finally settles into a beautiful pale pink color at full bloom. After reaching its peak, the pink hue becomes even more vibrant. At the end of its blooming cycle, the flurry of petals falling in the wind and laid across the ground are strikingly pink.
You can truly appreciate the color shift of cherry blossoms depending on the timing of your viewing. Whether you stumble upon them while commuting, shopping, or in your neighborhood, you can witness the different stages of their bloom. This allows you to discover the subtle differences in color and enjoy the spring in a whole new way.”
Enjoy each stage of the blooming cycle
Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture
Illuminated cherry blossoms and water mirror over a moat
Photo taken: April 24
Hirosaki Castle with cherry blossoms and floral rafts
Photo taken: May 5th
The first shot captures the breathtaking sight of cherry trees in full bloom during a tranquil evening over a moat. It is a calm, windless evening, and the mirrored image of the light pink petals on the water’s surface creates an enchanting scene, almost like a magical cherry blossom mirror.
The second shot, taken shortly after the full bloom, is a captivating sight of cherry blossom petals falling gracefully. The petals transition from a light pink shade to a deeper, more vivid hue when they begin to fall, forming a stunning pink blanket on the surface of the moat. The floating petals come together to create what some describe as a floral raft, which fills the view with a dreamy pink hue.
1 Shimoshirogane-cho, Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture
★Best time to visit: Late April to early May
Look out for changes in colors throughout the day
According to Morita, the best way to appreciate the colors of cherry blossoms is by observing their transformation at different times of the day.
“Some days I can spend an entire day capturing pictures of cherry blossoms. Even if I take the same shot from the same angle, the images are remarkably different if it is at a different time of day. Out of all the breathtaking views, the morning cherry blossoms are exceptionally picturesque, making it worthwhile to wake up early to witness their beauty.”
Matsushima, Miyagi District, Miyagi Prefecture
Cherry blossoms and sunrise from Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park
Photo taken: April 20
At around 5:00 in the morning, the sun begins to ascend, and the sky takes on a purple hue. As the sun continues to rise, the colors of the petals shift from reddish-orange to yellow.
According to Morita, the best time to capture the cherry blossoms is during the early hours of the morning, when the sun’s rays directly hit the petals. The gradual transition of the colors is a breathtaking sight that never fails to leave one in awe, no matter how many times they see it.
Inuta, Matsushima, Miyagi District, Miyagi Prefecture
★Best time to visit: Mid to late April
Photography pro-tips from a master!
Of course, the best way to appreciate the beauty of cherry blossoms is to see them in person. However, you probably will also want to take the opportunity to capture the stunning scenery to share your excitement with others on social media, even if it’s with your smartphone. We consulted with Morita, who shared some pro-tips on how to capture the breathtaking colors of cherry blossoms in your photographs.
“To capture the full impact of the cherry blossoms’ colors, it’s best to take pictures against a backdrop of a blue sky. Thankfully, with today’s advanced smartphones, the camera automatically sets the settings when you point the lens, so it’s relatively easy to take a beautiful shot.
But even on rainy or cloudy days, you can capture the beauty of cherry blossoms in a different emotional way. The key is to fully embrace nature, and with just a click of the shutter, the many sides of cherry blossoms will reveal themselves. I highly recommend that everyone try taking pictures of cherry blossoms.”
Although the cherry blossom viewing season may have ended for this year, make sure to keep in mind these various ways to enjoy cherry blossom viewing for your next trip so that you can fully experience all the vibrant colors!