Given their short lifespan, cherry blossoms are a symbol of the fleeting nature of life. In fact, sakuras have been worshiped in Japan for centuries. But thanks to Instagram, cherry blossoms in Switzerland have experienced a renaissance as of late.
When nature awakens after a long and cold winter, fruit trees show themselves in full splendor here in Switzerland. After plum and prune trees go into full bloom, cherry trees follow suit with their delicate white or soft pink petals. Spring is the time of year when fog gives way to blue skies and sunsets.
What are the meanings of sakura and hanami?
Just like the Swiss, the Japanese treasure springtime as well. And just like clockwork, cherry trees go into bloom on their islands. Starting in Okinawa and moving to the northern island of Hokkaido, the cherry blossom season lasts only a few weeks.
A symbol of beauty, the delicate cherry blossoms are literally “cherished” by the Japanese. This is evident from the fact that sakura season is a hot topic on Japanese news broadcasts where they forecast the dates and locations. During a few weeks, the Japanese will declare the hanami festival season, a time for friends to meet underneath a sky of pink to eat, laugh, and drink.
The Japanese character for sakura is 桜.
When is the cherry blossom season in Switzerland?
The start of the cherry blossom season in Switzerland depends on the location, temperature, amount of rainfall, and wind. Most of Switzerland can expect cherry blossoms at the end of March or the beginning of April.
However, the warmer climate in the south of Switzerland naturally speeds up the blooming of cherry trees. In places like Ascona or Lausanne, sakura cherry blossom season begins roughly at the end of March.
Cherry blossoms are extremely short-lived, with petals staying for only 10 to 14 days. Everyone’s goal is to view sakura at the peak, but some years we are happy to catch them at all before they are gone...
Where to find cherry blossoms in Switzerland?
You might get lucky and find a single cherry tree in full bloom at a cemetery or in someone’s yard. But for guaranteed spotting, we have put together a definitive guide of streets and parks for viewing cherry blossoms in Switzerland:
- Ascona: Viale Monte Verità
- Aubonne: Arboretum Park
- Bern: Rosengarten (pink blossoms), Moserstrasse BKW building, Schänzlistrasse Salem-Spital
- Frick Valley: Cherry Blossom Trail
- Geneva: Jardin des Alpes, Parc de l’Ariana
- Lausanne: Avenue de l'Elysée 18 (behind the former Musée de l'Elysée), Av. du Tribunal-Fédéral 4 (opposite the Mon-Repos swimming pool), EPFL Campus (north east corner of the BM building)
- Nyon: Route de Crassier
- Winterthur: Eulachpark (coming from Hegifeld), Hörnlistrasse, Bezirksgebäude (along the train tracks behind the building)
Zürich spots for cherry blossoms:
- Kreis 2: Seestrasse between Bahnhof Enge and Museum Rietberg (white blossoms), Rieterpark, Belvoirpark
- Kreis 3: Bertastrasse (pink blossoms), Gertrudstrasse, Zentralstrasse, Zurlindenstrasse (white blossoms)
- Kreis 4: Stauffacher
- Kreis 5: Gasometerstrasse
- Kreis 6: Schindlergut
- Kreis 10: Rotbuchstrasse/Bachofnerstrasse
Advice on photographing cherry blossoms
As photogenic as they are, there are endless ways of capturing cherry blossoms. There is no right or wrong way, but close-ups of individual blossoms are definitely the most popular. If you can get near the blossoms, use a camera with a macro lens. Otherwise, a zoom lens will allow you to pick the nicest bouquet anywhere on the tree. Pick a dark background to make the blossoms stand out.
In order to show the entirety of a location with its blooming trees, shoot wide. Place yourself in the middle of a tree-lined street or path, hold up your smartphone at eye level, and select a wide (or ultra-wide) lens. Wide-angle lenses also work for capturing individual trees.
Don’t forget to look down: colorful petals on the ground or in a pond make for nice compositions as well.
And finally, our secret gadget for gaining a new perspective on cherry blossoms is the Insta360 ONE X2. This innovative 360-degree camera can be used with a long selfie stick that is magically erased by the camera’s software. Whether you take photographs or create a video clip, the elevated viewpoint creates the illusion of drone footage. This camera setup allows you to “fly” through an alley of cherry trees like a bee…