Best time to travel to Belgium

Cherry Blossoms in Hasselt in Belgium

Over two hundred cherry trees bloom in Europe's largest Japanese garden

Best time: early April

Cherry Blossoms in Hasselt
Cherry Blossoms in Hasselt
Cherry Blossoms in Hasselt
Cherry Blossoms in Hasselt

For a few days in April, cherries burst into blossoms. In Belgium, the best spot to observe the sea of pink and white and to smell the sweet scent is in Hasselt, a city in the province of Limburg, around an hour drive east of Brussels. Approximately 225 cherry trees are in bloom in the Japanese Garden of Hasselt, the largest garden of this kind in Europe.

The garden was built in 1992 in the style of the 17th-century traditional gardens that exist in Japan. It was built to symbolise the friendship and connection between Hasselt and Itami, its sister town in Japan.

The garden is 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres). The main path itself is 1.2 km (0.75 mi) long and average visiting time is around 30 minutes to an hour. You may take your time and organise a small picnic there. It is better to schedule your visit for a weekday as it tends to get overcrowded on weekends.

The Cherry Blossom Festival takes place on the first Sunday of April. It is worth visiting if you are interested not only in contemplating nature but also in activities related to Japanese culture. The festival opening is always accompanied by theatre and taiko drum performances, stalls with traditional Japanese food, tea ceremonies, etc.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit the Cherry Blossom Garden in Hasselt, Belgium?

The peak time to visit the Cherry Blossom Garden in Hasselt is early April, when around 225 cherry trees are in bloom, coinciding with the Cherry Blossom Festival which takes place on the first Sunday of the month. During this festival, visitors can experience traditional Japanese cultural activities, theatre and taiko drum performances, tea ceremonies and sample authentic Japanese cuisine. Show more

Where is the Japanese Garden located in Hasselt, Belgium?

Situated in Hasselt, a city in the province of Limburg, the Japanese Garden of Hasselt holds the distinction of being the largest garden of its kind in Europe. It takes about an hour's drive east of Brussels to reach Hasselt. Visitors can take any bus line that stops at Kapermolen, a sports complex located next to the garden area, from the Hasselt train station to reach their destination. Show more

What is the history behind the creation of the Japanese Garden in Hasselt?

Symbolizing the friendship between Hasselt and its sister town in Japan, Itami, the Japanese Garden was opened in 1992. Designed in the 17th-century style of traditional Japanese gardens, it occupies an area of 2.5 hectares and comprises over 225 cherry trees and a range of traditional Japanese buildings spread throughout the garden. A reminder of the strong cultural bond between the two countries, it is a popular destination among visitors to Hasselt. Show more

What other activities can be enjoyed in the Cherry Blossom Festival besides observing the cherry blossoms?

Beyond the spectacular sight of thousands of cherry blossoms dotting the garden in vibrant hues, visitors to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Hasselt are treated to traditional Japanese cultural activities, theatre and taiko drum performances, and tea ceremonies. They can also indulge in authentic Japanese cuisine and bring back souvenirs to cherish the memories of their visit. Show more

How long does it take to explore the Cherry Blossom Garden in Hasselt, Belgium?

At 2.5 hectares, the Cherry Blossom Garden in Hasselt has plenty to offer visitors. With the main path extending for about 1.2 km, visitors require around 30 minutes to an hour to explore the garden to their satisfaction. Its tranquil setting beckons visitors to slow down and savor the beauty of the garden, and those looking to avoid large crowds are advised to plan their visit on a weekday when it is less crowded. Show more

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Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva