Photo: Stephane Bidouze/Shutterstock

This Private Helicopter Tour Is the Most Luxurious Way to Enjoy Japan's Cherry Blossom Season

Japan Luxe Travel
by Katie Scott Aiton Mar 4, 2024

Mount Yoshino in the Nara Prefecture is one of Japan’s most popular spots for cherry blossom (sakura) viewing. There’s a wide range of varieties and approximately 30,000 cherry trees and according to Japan Travel, they were planted over 1300 years ago. In spring, the area gets extremely busy with people traveling to see the light pink to white flowers with a backdrop of the region’s stunning natural landscape peppered with historic temples, hillside towns, and must-visit cities. This other-worldly natural phenomenon is so famous that people plan bucket-list vacations to Japan during the season in order to see the trees in full glory. But if you don’t like the idea of walking through crowds of people on cramped paths, you might want to consider a more luxurious way to enjoy the sakura and book a helicopter flight with AIROS Skyview. Matador Network reached out to AIROS Skyview to chat about the various routes they offer and how you can tailor-make your own cherry blossom voyage to take in the collage of colors from the sky.

When do Yoshino cherry trees blossom?

The best time to see the cherry blossoms at Mount Yoshino is typically early to mid-April, with the exact timing depending on the weather conditions each year. The mountain slope is divided into four planted areas. Shimo Senbon (the base of the mountain), Naka Senbon (the middle), Kami Senbon (the upper section), and Oku Senbon (the inner trees and the summit). Due to the elevation, the lower section blooms first. If you want to experience the full bloom, leave it later in the month or even May. Check regional weather, as annual temperature and rainfall fluctuate and this will affect the timing of the bloom.

AIROS Skyview helicoper experiences

The first thing to note is that AIROS Skyview can be flexible and design a trip with your needs in mind. Everything from private car transfers to the airport, fresh bouquets of flowers, and help planning celebrations such as birthdays or proposals can be added onto the basic package. Experiencing the bloom from above, AIROS Skyview says, will give you a much better understanding of how the trees are not only an important part of the landscape but also integral to Japanese culture.

The most popular routes listed below are some of the pilots favorites and show-case the sakura in full glory.

AIROS Skyview flight over Osaka and Mount Yoshino

Sunset over cherry trees forest in blossom at Yoshino, Nara province, Japan

Photo: Stephane Bidouze/Shutterstock

This experience departs from Yao Airport in Japan’s third-largest city, Osaka. Known for its amazing street food, Osaka is a great base for exploring Japan’s Kansai region. This 50-minute flight takes up to three passengers over Mount Yoshino, the city, and Mount Ikoma (home to the Buddhist temple, Hozanji Temple).

  • Flight time: 50 minutes
  • Cost: $1,130

AIROS Skyview flight over Nara and Mount Yoshino

Yoshinoyama, Nara, Japan view of town and cherry trees during the spring season

Photo: ESB Professional/Shutterstock

If you’d prefer a more in-depth tour, opt for the 80-minute flight. This will take you over historical sights such as Hase-ji Temple, Heijo-kyo, Mimuro-san, Asago-Sonji-ji Temple, and Koriyama Castle Ruins surrounded by cherry trees. The more luxurious route allows you to enjoy the best blooms in the region of Nara and Yoshino. It’s worth noting that you can open the windows during the flight. Which must be a pretty magical experience as you fly over tree tops of blossom.

  • Flight time: 80 minutes
  • Cost: $1,860

AIROS Skyview also run flight experiences over Kyoto and Tokyo.

Trips are weather dependent. Flights will depart if the pilot approves conditions are sustainable. Refunds and rescheduling are available if you are not able to fly on your chosen date.

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