BARCELONA, Spain, March 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The breathtaking, iconic cherry blossom has inspired art and literature for centuries. It is always a spectacular event but the 2019 cherry blossom will be extra-special. It will be the final bloom of the Heisei era and a cause for nationwide celebrations.
Sara Marco, Managing Director of JRailPass.com, official vendor of the Japan Rail Pass, said: "This year we've already sold record numbers of JR Passes so it's going to be a busy year for tourism in Japan. It's the end of an era and this has clearly captured the imagination of thousands of people who want to be there for this unique moment".
She said visitors should book accommodation and start planning their trips as soon as possible because it is such a popular time. Tourists are entitled to purchase a JR Pass, which offers unlimited travel on the Japan Railways (JR) trains at a discounted price, as long as they enter with a Tourist Visa.
Tourism in Japan has been booming in recent years. Last year the number of visitors rose by 6% compared to the previous years and Japan was named Travel and Leisure's "Destination of the Year" for 2018. According to the US Department of State, it is also one of the safest countries to visit, especially for solo travelers.
The cherry blossom season is coming early
The cherry blossom season (or "sakura") is coming early this year. It will start in the southernmost parts of Japan around March 16 and then sweep through the country northwards, transforming the landscapes into vibrant shades of red, pink, and white.
This winter has been hotter than average which means the cherry blossoms are expected to bloom earlier than normal. The timing of the cherry blossom varies from year to year which is why locals and tourists pay close attention to the Japan cherry blossom forecast.
The forecast predicts the cherry blossom season will approximately start in Tokyo on March 20, in Kyoto on March 23, and in Osaka on March 25. Visitors planning to travel to Japan should keep an eye on the forecast and be aware the flowers normally take around a week to reach full bloom.
Family fun on the shinkansen bullet trains
With a Japan Rail Pass, travelers can enjoy unlimited access to Shinkansen (bullet trains) at a low cost. If you want to see the cherry blossom in multiple locations, the bullet trains run at a maximum speed of 320km/h which means you can quickly cover large distances.
Traveling by train in Japan is not just about getting to your location, it is also about how you get there. Special Hello Kitty-themed Shinkansen trains are currently running until June 30. The cute, decorated trains have been a huge hit with families and fans of the globally-loved character. There are also special Hello Kitty Haruka trains which run from Kansai Airport to downtown Osaka and Kyoto.
"Since the release of the Hello Kitty Shinkansen in June 2019, we have many families asking about it and traveling with us," said Sara Marco.
The Hello Kitty trains are not the first themed trains to operate on Japan Rail lines. The Pokemon train has been running since 2017 in the Tokohu Region, and Anpanman and Kumamon-themed trains have also been huge successes.
Families visiting Japan over the cherry blossom season can visit the Moomin Valley (in Hanno, Saitama Prefecture) which is based on the popular books and opens on March 16. The Snoopy Museum Tokyo is moving to Machida and is scheduled to open later on in the year.
The summer and autumn months are also set to be very busy periods with the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (July and August) and the Rugby World Cup (September to November). New N700S Shinkansen trains will be launched especially for the Olympics and Takanawa Gateway Station will open on Tokyo's JR Yamanote Line.
For more information, please visit: https://www.jrailpass.com
Contact name: Sara Marco
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