2018 GaijinPot Cherry Blossom Contest Winners

Did you enter our 2018 GaijinPot Cherry Blossom Contest? The winners are in!

By 4 min read

This year, GaijinPot had its first sakura (cherry blossom) photo contest — calling for images and videos from users that capture the spirit of the cherry blossom season in Japan.

With more than 3,300 photos and videos combined shared on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with our contest tag of #GaijinPotSakura, we had fun looking through each post to decide the winners. A big thank you to each and every participant for sharing shots from all over Japan!

Listed below are the first- and second-prize winners, plus other selected top shots from the 2018 GaijinPot Cherry Blossom Contest. All photos were considered for not only quality of composition but also for creativity, originality and storytelling. Here they are!

1st prize

Our first-prize winner submitted several breath-taking shots from beautiful temple scenes to castles to waterways, but this shot of everyday life blending with the exquisite sakura scenery effortlessly reels us in and really stuck with us.

Here’s what the photographer and first-place winner Sarah Demery had to say about the inspiration behind her winning shot:

“My inspiration was just a spur of the moment decision to pull over while driving to Tarui to see the hundreds of koinobori flying over the river (and also to eat at its delicious bakery) when I happened to glance down a side road and see this incredible sakura tunnel!

“It was early on a Monday morning so there was hardly anyone around but just as I was about to leave these two boys began riding up the road on their way to school and were framed perfectly by the archway of the trees. People go searching for beautiful sakura tunnels all over Japan and by pure luck (and thanks to my penchant for delicious baked goods) I happened to stumble upon a gorgeous one so close to home in Gifu Prefecture!”

Prize: ¥30,000 in hotel vouchers in Japan

📸@Sardemery  📍Tarui, Gifu

2nd prize

Our second-prize winner produced a creative sakura loop video you could watch for hours! An absolutely dazzling night shot capturing (again and again!) a moment defining the sakura-in-the-dark experince. Here’s the inspiration behind the prize-winning video from videographer Fabien Velilla:

“Mishima Taisha during the cherry blossoms is beautiful, [however the] downside — the main way is crowded. But if you make a step aside, you can experience an even more magical moment… if you look carefully, you will see the fallen sakura dancing on the water.” 

Prize: Sakura gift basket with sakura-themed food and more!

🎥@mazfunkyto 📍Mishima Taisha, Shizuoka

Top shots of 2018

Here are the other highlights of this year’s top cherry blossom shots. Please note that because of the high volume of photos entered in the contest, we wanted to give recognition to even more sakura goodness. For the complete list of highlights, also check out the mid-way contest feature of 20 more of our favorites by theme that should be counted as GaijinPot sakura top shots, too.

📸@nnieramos28  📍Chidoriga-Fuchi, Tokyo

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by (@innieramos28) on

📸@chikfeir📍Shiroishi, Miyagi

📸📍Sakuragichō Station

📸@zyk_o📍Hakodate, Hokkaido

🎥@oonamcgee📍Hirosaki Park

View this post on Instagram

I’ve seen flurries of falling sakura petals many times before but never have they been as glorious as this! At Hirosaki Park they were constant, and when the wind picked up it was like being in a snowstorm, with petals coming at you with such force you had to close your eyes to avoid being hit by them! Seriously one of the most stunning things I’ve ever experienced 💕💕💕 . . . . . . . #japan #sakura #cherryblossom #flowers #flowerstagram #petals #slomo #hirosaki #travel #travelgram #videos #pink #nature #naturelovers #wanderlust #traveling #japantrip #lovejapan #gaijinpotsakura #aomori #natureporn #naturephotography #spring #amazingaomori #instatravel #visitjapanjp #visitjapanau

A post shared by Oona McGee 🇯🇵🇦🇺🇮🇪 In Japan (@oonamcgee) on

📸@shehryar.moon📍Kikuchi, Kumamoto

🎥@kaddu_007📍Kawagoe, Saitama

📸@iaantoniox📍Hitachi, Ibaraki

📸@nuex_san📍Omori Furusato-no-Hamabe Park, Tokyo

View this post on Instagram

Lets just say #花見 is for everybody. #savvysakura2018 #gaijinpotsakura (Hi, it’s Arya the 🐢 again! Last weekend my mom and dad took me for my first #cherryblossom viewing and it was great! At first I was a little scared, because it was my first time in a big wide park, but when I got used to it, it was so fun! I ran through the park as fast as I could, and I met dogs and kids who saw a turtle like me for the first time! One of them even gave my mom some dandelions, too! Mom looked pretty happy about it 🌷In the end, I was really tired when I got back in my big terrarium, but it was a beautiful first day of spring for me ❤️) #カメ #亀 #桜 #turtle

A post shared by Irina ∥ イリナ (@iridonguri) on

📸@anongnart m.📍Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo

📸@amaurybargain📍Shiroishi, Miyagi

📸@Ruby Ru📍Fujisawa, Kanagawa

📸@callmequeenbi📍Kumagaya, Saitama

For even more cherry blossom top shots, check out our previous article here:

20 Images that Prove Cherry Blossoms in Japan Make Life Worth Living

Again, thank you to everyone who participated and see you next year!



20 Images that Prove Cherry Blossoms in Japan Make Life Worth Living

Sakura & animal selfies and scenery straight out of a storybook... Here are just a few of our favorite posts so far from the ongoing 2018 GaijinPot Cherry Blossom Contest.

By 3 min read


A Guide to Cherry Blossom Viewing at Hanamiyama Park

The story behind one of Japan's favorite cherry blossom spots and the best way to see it for yourself.

By 4 min read


Cruise Through Tokyo on a Traditional Dining Boat

Tokyo’s waterways offer stunning views of the city in the summer and the boats that ply them offer dining courses for all occasions — from fireworks to ninjas to wedding receptions.

By 5 min read