Spring is a magical season in Japan. After months of hibernating, different flowers bloom left and right adding colors to what’s already a colorful nation. Cherry Blossom or Sakura is among the country’s most famous attractions during this time of the year. Visitors from all over the world come just to see them in full bloom.
Cherry blossoms and Japan have an almost automatic link with each other. Come springtime, different festivities and displays are being held in different cities to celebrate the beauty of the sakura.
A popular tradition in Japan is the Hanami or Cherry blossom viewing. People usually hold picnic parties under the cherry trees with friends, families and colleagues. For most Japanese, Hanami is a time to relax, enjoy and simply appreciate the allure of these pinkish white blossoms.
Cherry trees grow on almost every corner of the street in Japan – in schools, shrines, temples, malls, you name it. But in the city, Hanamis are usually held in parks.
From the moment when the cherry blossoms start to bloom up to the point when there are still a few hanging around in the branches (usually a two to three-week period), public parks receive an influx of visitors.
Central Tokyo is a business hub in Japan. Despite being highly urbanized, cherry blossoms are never taken for granted on this modern city. It has numerous Hanami spots that showcases a sea of sakura that would put anyone in awe, even locals. And this week we are featuring a list of some of the best places in Tokyo for cherry blossom viewing.
How to get around Tokyo’s Cherry Blossom Spots
If you have a very limited time in Tokyo and you want to make the most out of your stay. I would suggest to get a Tokyo Metro 24 hour pass.For 600 Yen, you have an unlimited train rides to all of Tokyo Metro’s train lines for 24 hours. It goes to almost all of the popular sights of Central Tokyo (except Odaiba).
You can buy this ticket on Tokyo Metro stations. Check their website here for more details.
Nearby stations : Ueno (Hibiya and Ginza Lines)
Admision : Free
Ueno Park is one of the popular parks in Central Tokyo. It was once part of the wealthiest temple during the Edo Period, the Kaneji Temple. During late March to early April, it is a hot spot for cherry blossom viewing with over a thousand trees within. Ueno park is one of the most crowded parks during Hanami season.
Many foods stalls can be found throughout the vicinity and it’s a good chance to try some local street foods.
Meguro River Park
Nearby Stations : Naka-Meguro (Hibiya Line)
Admission : Free
The Meguro River Park has one of best night views for Hanami. Alongside the river are around 800 trees that forms a tunnel of cherry blossoms. During the Nakameguro Sakura Festival, the cherry trees are illuminated creating an enchanting night scene for everyone.
The place also get very crowded, especially at night. The riverside streets are quite narrow so make sure to bring a lot of patience. Finding a spot to lay your picnic mat is very difficult. People usually just stand beside the river holding their drinks. But all the countless sumimasens (excuse me) is all worth it after seeing Meguro River’s stunning view.
Nearby Station : Asakusa (Ginza Line)
Admisson : Free
Alongside the Sumida River is a long stretch of Cherry blossoms lined up on both sides creating a spectacular cityscape. Unlike in Nakameguro, Sumida park is a lot more spacious and open so it has plenty of room for a big crowd of sakura spectators.
Food stalls can also be found along the riverside. If you’re lucky, you might stumble upon some street performers doing traditional Japanese dance.
From Sumida Park, the towering Tokyo Skytree is clearly visible. Riding a boat (Seabus) is also another good way to appreciate Sumida Park’s cherry blossoms.
Imperial Palace Gardens
Admission : Free
Nearby Stations : Kudanshita (Tozai, Hanzomon Line), Takebashi (Tozai Line), Otemachi (Marunouchi Line, Tozai Line, Chiyoda, Hanzomon Lines), Sakuradamon (Yurakucho Line), Nijubashimae (Chiyoda Line)
The Imperial Palace is where the Emperor of Japan resides. Surrounded by moats and stone walls, it is one of the impressive sights at the heart of Tokyo.
There are numerous parks and gardens that circles the palace, Kokyo Gaien, Kokyo Higashi Gyoen , Kitanomaru-koen and Chidorifaguchi are just a few. The palace attracts many visitors all year round, but during springtime, the cherry blossoms gets all the spotlight.
There are boat rentals if you wish to paddle along the Imperial Palace’s moats. And when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, light are installed creating a beautiful night illumination.
Nearby Stations : Yoyogi-koen (Chiyoda Line), Meiji-jingumae (Harajuku) (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin Lines)
Admission : Free
Yoyogi Park is one of the largest Parks in Central Tokyo. With a vast grass area, it is one of the better places to have a picnic during cherry blossom season. Just bring your own mat and find that perfect spot.
Yoyogi park is also an ideal place for outdoor activities. You can rent a bike to tour around the area.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Nearby Stations : Shinjuku-gyoenmae (Marunouchi Line), Shinjuku-sanchome (Marunouchi, Fukutoshin Lines)
Admission : 200 Yen
Without a doubt, Shinjuku Gyoen is among the best places to view cherry blossoms in Tokyo. Completed in 1906, it features three distinct types of gardens : English, French and Japanese.
During spring, of course, the local-styled garden is the star of the show. More than a thousand cherry trees of at most 65 varieties blooms with all pride.
The Shinjuku Gyoen also attracts a lot of visitors in Tokyo, but the crowd here is moderate compared most other public parks.
The tranquil scenery, carefully architect landscaped, and the overall ambiance make the Shinjuku Gyoen a paradise within the busy city and definitely a must-visit place in Tokyo.
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