2018 GaijinPot Cherry Blossom Contest Winners

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On May 25, 2018
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Photo by Find 47

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

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhJii9whcKR

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

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhTuS-WgFZc

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

#gaijinpotsakura#tokyo#kudanshita

A post shared by iramos0228@gmail.com (@innieramos28) on


📸@chikfeir📍Shiroishi, Miyagi

Shiroishi riverside is one of the best sakura spot I have been. A must see if you are in Miyagi Prefecture during spring. #shiroishi #shibata #miyagi #tohoku #japan #travel #wanderlust #passionpassport #fujifilm #fujifilmxt20 #japantravel #explorejapan #japan_of_insta #wu_japan #lovers_nippon #tokyocameraclub #japan_daytime_view #instagramjapan #igersjp #gaijinpotsakura #beautifuldestinations #cntraveler #starttheadventure #instatravel #sakura #gaijinpottravel #daily_photo_jpn #beautifuldestinations #spring

A post shared by Jayson (@chikfeir) on


📸@kitsunestudios.jp📍Sakuragichō Station

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhEaFQeAN_i


📸@zyk_o📍Hakodate, Hokkaido

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bh34sPWH21v


🎥@oonamcgee📍Hirosaki Park

https://www.instagram.com/p/BiOv6tiAWvp


📸@shehryar.moon📍Kikuchi, Kumamoto

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhgcK3YnmZY


🎥@kaddu_007📍Kawagoe, Saitama

The #cherryblossoms & the #warmth of spring though keeps appearing every year … it always feel fresh , a hope & lot of positivity! A gentle breeze makes the petals dance and one is transported to another world! #nevertireofthisview #gaijinpotsakura #sakura #japaninspring #throwback #サクラ #桜 #川越 #さいたま#kawagoe #ig_sakura #cherryblossom #savvysakura2018 #ig_myshot #eye4photography #loveflowers #flowerstagram #instaflowers #flowers_nirvana #flowers_mania__ #flowers_earth #springflowers #soakingupthesun #soakinthemoment #timestandstill

A post shared by Srividya Kadambi (@kaddu_007) on


📸@iaantoniox📍Hitachi, Ibaraki

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhC3uiegO8m


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

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhEwFEpBUBg


📸@anongnart m.📍Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo


📸@amaurybargain📍Shiroishi, Miyagi

This sky and this light inspire me, like a drawing by Caspar David Friedrich… . . . #miyagi #sendai #sakura #river #spring #cherryblossom #japan #darksky #nippon #travel #instatravel #visitjapan #japantrip #japanigram #japantravel #lovers_nippon #ig_japan #bestjapanpics #discoverjapan #traveljapan #travelphoto #sharetravelpics #beautifuldestinations #gaijinpotsakura #wanderlust #passionpassport #daily_photo_jpn #japan_of_insta #instagood #japan_daytime_view

A post shared by Amaury Bargain (@amaurybargain) on


📸@Ruby Ru📍Fujisawa, Kanagawa


📸@callmequeenbi📍Kumagaya, Saitama

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bg5HiaKji1-


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!

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