Visitors to Tokyo between March and April are in for a treat: blooming cherry blossom trees decorate nearly every green space in the city, creating a beautiful, pink foreground to impressive skyline. The fresh spring air mixes with the sight of the pink petals dotting sidewalks, rivers, and lawns in a picture-perfect opening to the new season. There are literally hundreds of places to enjoy the short-lived cherry blossom season in Tokyo, but here are a few of the very best spots.
A large, famous park that stretches between the Tokyo neighborhoods Shinjuku and Shibuya, Shinjuku Gyoen boasts more than 1,000 cherry trees of over a dozen varieties. The garden mixes traditional English and Japanese landscapes. The cherry trees encompass a large pond. During the cherry blossom season, locals arrive at the park early to stake out the best picnic spots under the trees. This tradition, called “hanami” usually involves simple foods and sake. Many of the cherry trees at Shinjuku Gyoen bloom early and late, allowing for an extended viewing season.
The most famous hanami spot in Tokyo, Ueno Park attracts a younger crowd looking forward to day drinking under the trees. There are over 1,000 cherry trees in the park along the main street and around Shinobazu Pond. The cherry trees here usually bloom a few days ahead of those in other areas in the city. This spot is typically very crowded.
Chidorigafuchi is a moat on the northwest side of Tokyo’s Imperial Palace. Locals will often say that it is their favorite spot for viewing the cherry blossoms in full blooms. The trees reflect in the water of the moat, creating a beautiful and unique viewing experience. The moat is lined with trees, and visitors can walk around the pathways on either side. The moat is often less-crowded than other popular cherry blossom viewing sites. On the down side, there are not very many places to have a picnic here.
Sumida and Yoyogi Parks
Any of Tokyo’s numerous parks will provide excellent vantage points from which to view cherry blossoms. At Sumida Park, located in the Asakusa district, the bright blossoms stand in stark contract to the imposing Tokyo Sky Tree in the background. The contract of the natural setting and urban skyline is memorable. In the evening, the cherry blossom trees are lit up; it’s a great spot for a scenic evening stroll.
Yoyogi Park attracts artists and trendy young people. Because of this, it has a different atmosphere than other attractive hanami destinations in Tokyo. During the cherry blossom season, you never know what you will see here. There are over 600 cherry blossom trees in the Park and many wonderful spots to picnic. Yoyogi Park is closed at night.